Monthly Archives: February 2013

It’s chat day

We’ll be talking about Wichita’s new Greek restaurant, how you can drink martinis for charity, and all sorts of other delicious topics. One slight change: You’ll need to login via Facebook, Twitter or (???) Myspace to participate. It’s easy. Just follow the instructions.

Chat starts promptly at 1:30 p.m. Be there.

New Greek restaurant opens today

Wichitans often ask me why our town doesn’t have a Greek restaurant. But they won’t be asking me any more.

Kosta The Greek is a new Greek restaurant opening today in the spot at 2308 S. Meridian formerly occupied by Habanero. It’s owned by Kosta Kiosses, a transplant from Greece. Kiosses and his wife, Maria, have been selling spinach pies and other Greek treats at the Old Town Farmer’s Market for the past couple of summers, and they’ve earned quite a following.

“People kept telling him, ‘If you’d open a brick and mortar place, we’d visit you,’” said his friend Eva Kardaras, who is in town from Chicago for three weeks helping her friends open the restaurant.

Kosta Kiosses

The menu features fast Greek food made with fresh ingredients. It includes dishes such as gyro sandwiches, Greek salad, souvlaki with homemade tzatziki sauce, spanakopita (spinach and feta wrapped in fillo), baklava and more. There are also several burgers on the menu, including a feta burger topped with tzatziki sauce and feta cheese on a pretzel bun. The restaurant also will offer daily specials such as Greek lasagna.

Greek food is similar to Lebanese food that is served all around Wichita, Kardaras said, but the recipes and flavors are different.

The dining room is warm and inviting with lots of booths and little chalkboards on the walls that translate English words into Greek.

Wichita hasn’t had a Greek place in years. The last one I recall was Lakis Restaurant at 3219 S. Oliver. It closed in the late 1990s.

The hours for Kosta the Greek will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, call 316-260-3230.

Help yourself, others at food fundraisers

My dining story this week is about alllllll the cool food fundraisers coming up between now and June. A couple are new, including Tallgrass Film Festival’s “Shaken Not Stirred” martini event. (I’m a judge, and I can’t wait.)

A couple are old favorites that I have to miss this year. I’m not sure what I’ll do without the meatloaf feast I usually partake in as a judge for next weekened’s Loaf Off. But I’m about to find out.

Read my story and start making your “Eat For A Cause” plans.

New chefs Cooking at Bonnie’s Place

Bonnie Aieschliman regularly schedules local chefs to lead classes at her Cooking at Bonnie’s Place at 9747 E. 21st St., and she’s had several loyal teachers over the years, from Bocconcini’s Nathan Toubia to Carrabba’s Joe Parten.

Now, Bonnie has persuaded a new batch of chefs to come share their skills.

YaYa’s chef O.J. Moore will lead a cooking class at Cooking at Bonnie’s Place on Thursday.

The first class will be led on Thursday night by O.J. Moore, who took over last summer as executive chef at YaYa’s Euro Bistro, 8115 E. 21st St. N. 

He will be demonstrating how to make several of the dishes he’s recently added to the YaYa’s menu, including a pan-seared diver scallop with saffron orzo and lemon beurre blanc as will as a brined Yoder pork chop over spatzle.

Then, regular guest teacher Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder from Bella Vita Bistro at 120 N. West St. will do an Italian menu featuring seafood crepes at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

And at 6:30 p.m. on  March 12, Pietro DeFazio, owner of DeFazio’s at 2706 N. Amidon, will show how to make dishes such as potato gnocchi and beef braciole.

Each of the classes cost $50 a person and includes food.

Visit Bonnie’s website or call 316-425-5224 to make a reservation.

Old Chicago restaurants in Wichita being remodeled, rebranded

Old Chicago restaurants across the country are getting a makeover, and Wichita’s three locations are next.

Remodeling already has started at the local Old Chicago restaurants — which are at 300 N. Mead in Old Town, at 7700 E. Kellogg,  and at 2240 N. Tyler — and will be done in a couple of weeks.

When complete, each of the three restaurants will have a new, modern look and outdoor signage. The restaurants even will have new names — sort of. Instead of Old Chicago Pasta & Pizza the restaurants now will be known as Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom.

It’ll be high-tech, with digital screens showing when various beers were tapped and who in the restaurant is checked in on FourSquare.

The “rebranding” is intended to freshen up the look and approach of the restaurant chain, which started in 1976 and now has 96 locations in 22 states. Everything from the utensils to the plating of the food to the vintage decor on the walls, says “modern brewery” rather than “classic sports bar.”

The new Tavern thin crust pizza at Old Chicago

So far, the chain has launched the new look in three of its restaurants: two in Colorado and one in Minnesota. Topeka and Kansas City stores also are getting the new look.

Several new menu  have already been added to coincide with the new look, including panini sandwiches, new calzones and salads and “Tavern” thin crust pizzas.

The Old Town location will be ready to go on March 11, followed by the west-side restaurant on March 12 and the east-side on March 13.

Free chili for first 100 at Red Robin today

Red Robin, the burger restaurant at 9990 E 13th St., is offering a free cup of chili to the first 100 guests who ask for it today. They open in less than an hour, so start shoveling and warming up the car.

The promotion is playing off the fact that Hell has frozen over today. Hell, Mich., that is. (Doesn’t Michigan freeze over every day of the winter?)

Red Robin’s hours today are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 316-425-6300.

Culinary students sweep Cocktails & Cookies

Tiffani Price, the coordinator of the Butler Community College Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, and Gregory Cole, an instructor

I was a judge at Friday night’s Cocktails & Cookies event, a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland that asked local chefs to turn Girl Scout cookies into something even more fabulous.

They did. It was hard to choose a winner from all the peanut buttery, coconut-y, chocolate-y, mint-y goodness on the tables at the Wichita Scottish Rite Center. Places such as Cero’s, Cocoa Dolce, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Doo Dah Diner made items ranging from cake pops to French macaroons to ice cream sandwiches. My co-judges Tanya Tandoc, Guy Bower and I were sugared to the point of delirium by the time we were finished sampling everything.

The amazing peanut buttery winner

The big winner of the evening was the brand new Butler Community College Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Students and staff from the program, which launched this fall, won not only the judges’ choice category but also the peoples’ choice.

They made a perfect layered dessert that utilized three Girl Scout cookie varieties: Thanks-A-Lots, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties.

Congrats to the winners. Also, a little bit of trivia: Gregory Cole, the enthusiastic instructor who accompanied the students to the competition, is the founder of Little Bits cookie company.

Schwarma truck to be called The Hopping Pita

Initially, they were going to call it Pita Hut.

Then, Melad Stephan, his son, Jordan, and chef Roni Attari thought better of it.

They’ve decided to call their Lebanese food truck, which should take to the streets soon, The Hopping Pita. 

That name beat out several other clever runners up, including my personal favorite — Eat a Pita.

The Hopping Pita’s launch has been slightly delayed by recent weather developments, but it’s close, Stephan said. He shared this photo of the finished, green product.

I’ll let you know when it’s ready to go.

Cake Face finds spot for new eatery

The Cake Face logo

Cake Face food truck owners Summer Schoenhals and her husband, Dave, called to let me know that they signed a lease on a building that will house their new, not-mobile restaurant –  Cake Face Bake Shop & Deli.

The spot is at 1100 E. Douglas, which is at the corner of Douglas and Wabash. The space previously held part of Kitchens Plus.

The duo hope to be open by May 1. They’re waiting on the previous tenants to remove their displays, then they’ll add a kitchen and do a little remodeling. The front half of the 1,478 square-foot-space will hold the restaurant, and Schoenhals will house her bakery business in the back half.

The restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch, including some of the more sought-after dishes from the food truck, which the couple hope to put in the hands of their oldest daughter once she graduates.

Among the items they’re planning: grits, “Wafflewiches” and several sandwiches and lunch specials, such as chicken and dumplings.

You know it’s nasty when restaurants close

No Tanya’s soup for you today

WHERE ARE WE SUPPOSED TO EAT?????

Oh yeah, we’re not supposed to drive.

It’s rare when a restaurant closes on a scheduled day to be open, but the fact that several around Wichita are closing or opening late today is a testament to how much white stuff we have on the ground.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen — one of the city’s top purveyors of cold-weather food — announced yesterday via Facebook  that it would shut down for the day. Doo Dah Diner at 206 E. Kellogg announced the same thing this morning. I also saw that Chick-fil-A west has decided to delay opening until 10:30 a.m., which means no chicken biscuits for you.  Chick-fil-A west later decided to close for the whole day.

Also, Chef Jason Febres at Taste & See at 3825 E Harry St. just announced on Facebook that he’ll be closed for lunch today but hopes to reopen for dinner.

The Anchor also decided to close for the day.

The moral of the story: If you’re out today, check with your favorite restaurant before sliding over.

UPDATE:

Newport Grill at 1900 N. Rock Road reports that the parking lots at Bradley Fair are cleared and that it will open for dinner at 5 p.m. tonight. And Linda Davis from Wichita’s two Jimmie’s Diners wrote to tell me that they’re open as usual.

Redrock Canyon at 1844 N. Rock Road also will be closed on Thursday, managers report.