Monthly Archives: March 2014

Douglas Avenue Chop Shop’s sample-palooza on Saturday

The Douglas Avenue Chop Shop staff.

The Douglas Avenue Chop Shop staff.

I love steak. I love sausage. I love chicken and pork and butter infused with beef fat. I’m not sure if I love rabbit, but I’ll be finding out soon.

My story for Go! this week is about Douglas Avenue Chop Shop, a new butcher shop that Anchor owner Schane Gross opened right next door to her bar, which is at 1109 E. Douglas.

I went to interview her and her staff earlier this week, and I’ve been hungry ever since.

The marbling speaks for itself.

The marbling speaks for itself.

I bought some of her Dale’s Pale Ale-infused sausage and grilled it up that night. So good.

And you oughta see the rib eyes for sale in the shop. Oh wait. You can see them. I’m going to post a picture right here.

The shop will celebrate its grand opening from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and will offer lots of samples of its meats and gourmet cheeses along with samples of beers that pair well.

I anticipate I’ll be spending a lot of time and money in this place when grilling season officially arrives.

Rita’s Italian Ice opens Monday with free ice for all

Just in time for the arrival of warmer weather, Wichita is getting a new frozen treat option: Italian ice.

Rita’s Italian Ice will open Monday at 2929 N. Rock Road, right next to Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and it’s inviting Wichita to enjoy a free regular-sized serving of Italian ice on both Monday and Tuesday. The shop will be open from noon to 10 p.m., which are its daily hours.

Mango is the most popular flavor at Rita's Italian Ice.

Mango is the most popular flavor at Rita’s Italian Ice.

Franchisee Jeff Miller, who along with his brother, Jay Miller, has all the Five Guys franchises in town, said that Italian ice is something most Wichitans probably aren’t familiar with.

“Italian ice is a new thing to the Midwest,” he said. “When people hear ice, everyone assumes it’s a Slushee or a Snow cone or shaved ice. But that doesn’t do justice to this product.”

Miller said Italian ice is so smooth, it has the texture of ice cream. The ice is infused with the flavors, and Rita’s has 65 different choices. They’ll have 12 available each day. He said his favorite is a dulce de leche that came out last year. The most popular is mango, and flavors such as banana, cheesecake, cherry and lime also will be available, as will be a few sugar-free options.

Rita’s also serves vanilla and chocolate frozen custard and other ice cream products. Miller said he’s hoping to eventually add Rita’s near all Wichita’s Five Guys.

For more information, call Rita’s at or check out the local Rita’s Facebook page.

Food truck turnover: Two trucks calling it quits

Happy trails, Schoenhals. We'll miss your Cake Faces.

Happy trails, Schoenhals. We’ll miss your Cake Faces.

Two food truckers have announced recently their plans to park.

One is Cake Face Bake Shop, whose very nice owners Summer and Dave Schoenhals, are moving to Oregon for a job opportunity. (They explained the circumstances on their Facebook wall.)

The couple is selling the truck, an 18 x 8 upgrade they bought in August. They’ve posted an ad offering the truck and all of its contents for sale on Craigslist. I’ll miss these two, who have been a happy and constant presence on Wichita’s food truck scene since the very beginning. I’ll also miss their delicious food.

Also, the food truckers who last summer bought the Schoenhals original rig also are closing up. Joseph and Cherre Nestelroad, who last fall opened a pizza food truck called The Rolling Dough, posted last week on the truck’s Facebook wall said that they have too much going on in their lives, especially with two small children, to keep the business going. The post indicated that the couple was open to considering giving it another go when their kids are older.

Restaurants are embracing March Madness

UntitledSeveral Wichita restaurants are suffering from March Madness and offering their customers special discounts during the NCAA tournament.

One is Carlos O’ Kelly’s, which once again is practically giving away its queso and margaritas on days that the Shockers play in the NCAA tournament. They call it “Queso Madness,” and it starts on Friday, the first day the Shockers play in St. Louis. Since the team will be one of 64 teams playing on Friday, all Carlos O’ Kelly’s locations will sell individual chili con queso dips for 64 cents and “Mug-o-ritas” for $1.64. Should the Shocker’s advance, the deal will be offered on Sunday again, only this time the queso will be 32 cents and the Mug-0-Ritas $1.32. The promotion continues and the food and drink gets cheaper as long as the Shockers keep advancing. The deals are good all day on the days the Shocker’s play but are good for dine-in customers only.

The Carlos O’ Kelly’s at 527 S. Ridge Circle also is putting on a fundraiser for a charity called Our Daily Bread. The restaurant will be putting on a big watch party featuring $3 jumbo margaritas, $3 big beers and $3 loaded nachos all day on the opening weekend of the tournament — from Thursday through Sunday. Customers can get $1 raffle tickets for a chance to win an autographed Shocker team basketball and will have other ways for people to donate to the charity.

Knolla’s Pizza also is offering a tournament special it calls “Pizza Madness” that’s good today through March 25. It offers $5 off a total order of $20 or more.

And Newport Grill at 1900 N. Rock Road is asking customers who visit the restaurant and have lunch or dinner before Thursday to fill out a tournament bracket in the restaurant. If they do, they’ll be entered into a drawing to win a dinner for two.

Know of any other tournament specials? Speak up.

Oskar Blues’ arrival a big deal for craft beer lovers

Oskar-Blues-Brewing-Logo2A popular craft beer from Colorado arrived in Wichita restaurants and liquor stores last week and is causing much excitement among local beer lovers said Jerrod Gearhart, who works for local liquor distributor House of Schwan.

Oskar Blues Brewery is based in Longmont, Colo., and also has a location in Brevard, N.C. It’s produces some of the country’s most popular craft beer and recently decided that Kansas would become the 34th state to be able to sell it.

Starting on March 10, liquor stores and restaurants statewide started introducing the beer with big release parties.

It’s now available at The Anchor, The Monarch and River City Brewing Company. Oskar Blues is the the first beer River City has ever tapped that it didn’t make itself. The restaurant also has it in cans and will continue to serve the beer until it runs out.

People also can buy Oskar Blues brews, which are served from stores in cans only — no bottles —  in liquor stores such as Goebel, Jacob, R&J and ABC.

Oskar Blues makes several different brews with fun names such as Mama’s Little Yellow Pils, Old Chub Scotch Ale and G’Knight Imperial Red IPA. Its Dale’s Pale Ale is the most common beer served in bars on tap.

The beer is being sold all over the state and is another sign that Kansas has made it as a beer state, Gearhart said.

“It shows that Kansas is really catching on to the craft beer scene,” he said.

Somebody pinch me: Crust & Crumb moving into Dillons

Crust & Crumb Co. breads are in the Dillons at 21st and Rock now and will be in others soon.

Crust & Crumb Co. breads are in the Dillons at 21st and Rock now and will be in others soon.

One of my biggest complaints about life in Wichita has always been the lack of fresh-baked crusty bread. That’s why I was excited last summer when I discovered Newton’s Crust & Crumb Co., owned by Sharon Entz. At the time, she was making fresh-baked baguette, sourdough and ciabatta all by herself in the cute little bakery she’d constructed in her garage, and she was supplying it to a farmer’s market, a couple of cafes and a few retail clients.

Much has changed since then. Not only is Entz in the process of building a big new bakery to house Crust & Crumb, which should open in early April in a 700-square-foot space at 507 N. Main St. in Newton, but she’s also slowly expanding her business. After our story came out last August, she said, Dillons representatives tracked her down at the Old Town Farmer’s Market, wanting to discuss selling her loaves in their stores. Just this week, she began selling her bread at the Dillon’s at 21st and Rock. Once her new bakery is complete, she said, she’ll begin putting bread in several more of the bigger Dillons Marketplace stores.

This summer, she plans to hire about six employees to help her with her expansion. She’ll be back at the Old Town Farmer’s Market, which is where I got her bread all last fall. But she’s also going to start a booth at Kansas Grown Farmers Market at the Sedgwick County Extension Center, 7001 W. 21st St. N.

Entz is still selling her loaves at downtown’s Cow & Sow Deli, 612 E. Douglas, and at Green Acres, 8141 E. 21st St. N. She also provides bread to restaurants such as Chester’s Chophouse and Public at the Brickaryd.

Wichita: It’s time to plan St. Pat’s day eating, drinking

Even as you read this, the Shamrock's Dave Stough is preparing to cook all sorts of Irish fare.

Even as you read this, the Shamrock’s Dave Stough is preparing to cook all sorts of Irish fare.

Wichita doesn’t have a particularly large Irish population, but it is home to a whole lot of people who like to eat corned beef and cabbage and drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.

The big green day is on Monday, so it’s time to start planning St. Patrick’s Day strategy.

Today’s Go! section has all sorts of information that can help you. I wrote a story about the popular annual corned beef and cabbage dinner that Dave Stough has served up for 11 years at the Shamrock, 1724 W. Douglas. He’ll be back at it on Monday, and he’ll also be serving Irish breakfast and Irish baked potato soup on Saturday in conjunction with the annual Historic Delano St. Patrick’s Day parade. (There’s also a separate breakfast associated with the Delano parade.)

We also have information on where the green beer will be flowing at local bars, information about the annual Blarney Breakfast benefiting Rainbows and news on another restaurant that will dole out corned beef on Monday.

Birds on the Roof Restaurant: New name, new chef, new approach

Among the pretty new dishes being served by chef James Risner at Birds on the Roof Restaurant: Eggs Benedict.

Among the pretty new dishes being served by chef James Risner at Birds on the Roof Restaurant: Eggs Benedict.

The owners of Birds on the Roof have found a new chef, and they’re also taking a new approach with their whimsically pretty restaurant, which opened in August at 550 N. Rock Road.

The new chef is James Risner, who most recently worked at Taste & See. He’s been revamping the restaurant’s menu, adding new breakfast, lunch and dinner items such as eggs Benedict with salmon, seafood crepes, omelettes,  filet mignon and more. (Chef Nathan Toubia, who had spent several months working at the restaurant, recently took a new job at the Wichita Country Club.)

Owners Jimmy Nguyen and his wife, Thao Luu, also changed the name from Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe to Birds on the Roof Restaurant and want to focus more on “romantic, French-style dinners.”

The owners also have lowered prices, they said, and retrained the staff. Anyone whose food takes longer than 20 minutes to arrive gets 50 percent off.

To celebrate its grand reopening this weekend, diners on Thursday and Friday evenings will get 50 percent off the dinner menu. (Reservations are required to get the deal.)

Saturday’s grand-reopening activities will include live music and giveaways.

For more information, call the restaurant at 316-558-8288 or 316-708-9799.

Downtown sports bar is out of business

photo (41)One of  Wichita’s best big screens for watching sporting events has gone dark.

It appears that Fat Tony’s, the sports bar that opened at 417 E. Douglas in spring of 2011  featuring a 26-foot-tall screen, is no longer in business. The restaurant’s Facebook page indicates it has closed as does a sign posted on the door, the giant dumpster sitting out front and the disconnected phone number.

Fat Tony’s, owned by Bryan Shapiro (who also had nightclub Doc Howard’s in Old Town), will be remembered for many things, not the least of which was its crazy food challenges. I’ll never forget watching local foodie Frank White come nearly die trying to complete the restaurant’s lethal hot wings challenge.

I’ll let you know if I hear anything from the owner.

There’s still time for Fat Tuesday fun

Some Cajun critters waiting to be devoured at Doo-Dah Diner.

Some Cajun critters waiting to be devoured at Doo-Dah Diner.

There’s still time to get to one of Wichita’s many fun Fat Tuesday events.

I checked out Doo-Dah’s Cajun buffet over lunch and am spending my dinner hour and beyond at Heroes with the Mudbugs.

And I know St. James has plenty of oysters and beers for slurping.

It’s for sure more fun than a typical Tuesday.