Monthly Archives: May 2013

Riverfest food court smoke-free — and other changes

The food court is back on Century II drive.

The Wichita River Festival opens a week from today, and there are some headlines from the food court I thought I should share.

For one, the food court is moving back “where God intended it,” joked the festival director, Mary Beth Jarvis. After two years of setting up in experimental spots, the main food court will return to Century II Drive.

This is a headline, in my opinion.  This year, for the first time, all food court areas will be smok-free. The Cox Kids Corner also will be a smoke-free area.

Also, NuWay — which left the festival in 2009 — is back this year, and the festival has also attracted another local restaurant. Larry Bud’s will serve bacon-wrapped chicken tenders, hot links and more.

You can read a story outlining all the food court changes in the May 31 Go!, which will be dedicated to tall things River Festival.

Oeno gets Cajun on Saturday night

Oeno, the wine bar at 330 N. Mead, will put on its annual Cajun buffet, featuring music by the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band, on Saturday night.

The buffet will feature gumbo, a crawfish boil with corn and potatoes, red beans and rice, dirty rice and more and will cost $20 a person, which includes the cover to see the band. Those not taking part in the buffet will pay $5.

The buffet starts at 7 p.m., and the band will play from 8 to 11 p.m. For more information, call 316-440-5000.

College Hill Creamery opening soon in Clifton Square

College Hill Creamery will open next month at 3700 E Douglas, in the spot in Clifton Square that formerly housed Mend Physio Therapy.

College Hill Creamery will open soon in this spot in Clifton Square.

The ice cream shop will serve 24 flavors of ice cream and is owned by College Hill resident Caleb Shannon. He has a different day job and his hired a manager to run the day-to-day of the business, which will specialize in hand-dipped cones fitted with giant malt balls in the bottom to prevent leaks.

The shop will open at noon on June 1.

Shannon got the idea to open the shop when he noticed that College Hill was lacking in ice cream options.

“My niece and nephew were in town about six months ago, and we couldn’t find anything in that area other than chain places,” he said. “We decided that College Hill is that that kind of neighborhood, with the parks and a pool, that would really be able to use more of a local ice cream store.”

Single scoop cones will be about $2.50 The store also will make ice cream sandwiches to order.

It’ll be open from noon to 8 p.m. daily.

Three restaurants that should open in June

Freebirds World Burrito is opening at Central and Hillside next month.

As May comes to a close, it’s time to prepare your appetite for June.

And lucky for restaurant fans, several new places will be opening up next month.

Among them:

Wasabi west, 2402 N. Maize Road: It takes time grow the perfect Wasabi. The first one, at 942 E. Douglas, was initially planned for a January of 2010 but opened in June The latest one, which is nearly finished at New Market Square near Logan’s Roadhouse, originally was to open in December of last year, but now it’s looking like early June, a manager said. There’s also a Wasabi at 3242 N. Rock Road.

Freebirds World Burrito, 410 N. Hillside: The first Freebirds World Burritos, a franchise of a chain based in Texas and California, is almost finished at Central and Hillside, a few doors down from Great Wall. It’s a Chipotle-like place that allows people to build their own burritos, tacos and more with lots of organic ingredients. The restaurant’s website now says the restaurant will open on June 20.

Twelve Restaurant & Bar, 12111 W Maple St.: The former Shorty Small’s space is getting a makeover and will soon be home to Twelve Restaurant & Bar, which will specialize in American fare such as steaks, seafood and chops. Owner Bryce Kuhn says he hopes to be open by June 23.

Wichita’s 10 best restaurant patios

Happy people dining outdoors at Newport Grill

I don’t know if you all caught the Perfect Summer section in Sunday’s paper. It was a fat, 72-pager, and it was filled with lots of good restaurant news.

One story I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss was one I wrote about my favorite outdoor dining spots in Wichita.

Wichita restaurants have lots of nice patios, and the tiny window when you can properly enjoy them — after it warms up but before the flies and sweaty temperatures arrive — is closing quickly.

Check out my list, and see if your favorite patio made it. You also can read stories I wrote about the best beer and wine for summer, ideas for throwing outdoor summer foodie parties, and a list of places you can take summer cooking classes.

And if you want to get up close and personal with the Cake Face folks, you can read about their idea of a perfect picnic.

Wichita Ribfest: Report and results

The Wichita Ribfest has yet to get through a Saturday night.

The 2-year-old  event, which was staged over the weekend in a parking lot at 777 E. Waterman, had its final night cut short for the second year in a row because of threatening weather.

About 7 p.m., officials at Intrust Bank Arena, consulting with local weather people, made the call to close the festival at 9 p.m. It was scheduled to close at 11 p.m. after sets by two Mexican bands. Instead, the opening act didn’t play at all, and Kazzadorez performed a shortened set.

Although it didn’t rain after all, there was lightning about 10 p.m., and the festival would have had to have closed early either way. The festival needed about an hour to get the stage torn down and the equipment secured.

In the end, said Christine Pileckas, the arena’s director of sales and marketing, about 10,000 people attended the festival — the same number as last year. The arena has been aiming for about 15,000.

Still, she said, organizers are pleased with the Ribfest and said people responded positively to the extra participatory activities offered this year, including a car show and an interactive sports zone.

“I think over all it went really well,” Pileckas said. “We had two and three quarters of a day of fantastic weather. I would imagine we’ll be regrouping soon to pick the date for next year, and before we know it, we’ll be getting ready to put on the third Wichita Ribfest.”

Several people have asked me which ribbers won the Best in Show, determined by a panel of judges, and the People’s Choice award.

First place in Best in Show went to Chicago’s BBQ, and second place went to Howling Coyote.

The People’s Choice winner was Porky Chick’s.

Yet another food truck — this one with ‘cue

The food truck news. It never stops.

Now there’s news of a new barbecue food truck — Big Daddy’s Smoked Shack, owned by barbecue expert John Nielsen.

Back in 2009, Nielsen had a restaurant called  Big Daddy and Lil’ Mama’s Smoke Shack, which operated at 828 W. 11th in Riverside, the spot that now houses Squeezer’s Palace. That restaurant closed, but Nielsen has been dreaming about the food truck ever since.

Get your curly pig tail end over there.

Nielsen has converted a 24-foot RV into a mobile food truck, and he sets up from 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at a spot at 4800 W. Central. Soon, he’ll expand his Saturday hours to 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Next Friday, May 24, he’ll also be open for lunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1947 Founder’s Circle, near Via Christi on 21st Street just off K-96. He hopes to add more truck time as the business grows, and he’ll be updating followers as to his whereabouts on his Facebook page.

Big Daddy’s, which also caters, serves brisket, ribs, pulled pork, chicken, turkey and things such as smoked stuffed jalapenos and smoked mushrooms.

For more informaion, call 316-871-1438.

Hopperoni Express has hit the road

The new Hopperoni Express food trailer has a wood-fired oven inside to bake pizzas on the spot.

Wichita Brewing Company & Pizzeria’s food trailer – the Hopperoni Express — went out for some test runs earlier this week and will return to the streets on Saturday.

The trailer is fitted with a full-sized wood-fired pizza oven and will park at various places, seven days a week, serving 1o-inch pizzas.  For the first few weeks, the truck’s manager — former kitchen manager Stephen Zinda — plans to take the trailer out once a day, either at lunch or dinner time. The location will be posted on the Hopperoni Express Facebook page. Eventually, he plans to have it out for both lunch and dinner daily.

For now, the trailer is offering two of Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria’s best-known speciality pizzas: the Around the Horn, which is a supreme pizza, and the Gregorian Feast, topped with Italian sausage, roasted garlic, mushrooms, caramelized onions, mozzarella and red sauce. Patrons also can order single topping pizzas with items such as sausage, cheese, pepperoni or the restaurant’s signature hopperoni : pepeproni infused with hops.

The pizzas are $6 for a single topping or $8 for a specialty.

On Monday, the truck will be parked from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Brittany Center at 21st and Woodlawn. The following days’ schedules will be on the Facebook page soon.

Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria is at 8815 W 13th St. For more information about both businesses, call 316-440-2885.

Bid for foodie dream jobs at charity event

Among the jobs up for auction at Friday’s event: A chance to learn how to brew like a master from River City Brewing Co. brewmaster Dan Norton, left.

After editing a brief I’d written about the Children’s Champions charity event, which raises money by auctioning off “dream jobs,” my co-worker Julie was skeptical.

She grew up working in her parents’ Chinese/American restaurant and said she definitely would not classify it as a dream job.

But she and I agreed that the foodie jobs being auctioned on Friday — including a chocolate-making lesson and beer-brewing instruction — might be a lot more fun.

The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Botanica, 701 N. Amidon. Among the opportunities being auctioned are a chance to work a shift for the Flying Stove food truck and create a sandwich or burger for the menu; a chance to have a hands-on chocolate making experience with Cocoa Dolce’s Beth Tully; and the chance to go behind the scenes at River City Brewing Company and craft a beer with brewmaster Dan Norton.

The event will feature hors d’oeuvres provided by The Anchor, soup from Tanya’s Soup Kitchen and custard from Freddy’s Frozen Custard. Tickets are $75 at the event’s Facebook page.

Proceeds will go to help local children participating in Child Start’s head start programs.

Let me know if you win.

Food truckers rallying again on Sunday

The Flying Stove food truck

Wichita’s food truckers, headed up by the guys at the Flying Stovehave decided to start putting on monthly food truck rallies, usually on the last Sunday of the month.

This month, to avoid Memorial Day weekend, the truckers are gathering a Sunday early. The usual suspects, including the Flying Stove plus B.S. Sandwich Press, Cakeface, Espresso To Go Go, and R&J Concessions will gather from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at WaterWalk Pavilion. The rally is starting to attract festival-type concessionaires, too. This month, Bakerman Concessions, which specializes in cinnamon rolls, will join the crowd.

The gathering will also have live music, and representatives from the Kansas Humane Society will be there ready to perform on-site adoptions.

Expect the rally to grow in June. Two new trucks, The Hopping Pita and Let’m Eat Brats, have said they’d like to join in, too.