Monthly Archives: June 2014

I’m out…

mount_rushmore_national_memorial…until July 7.

Carry on until then, please.

Loft 150 reopens as The Loft with many upgrades

The Loft is remodeled and ready to go.

The Loft is remodeled and ready to go.

The major remodel of River City Brewing Co.’supstairs bar, Loft 150, is finally done, and it re-openened on Wednesday with a new look, a new name and several upgrades.

The space, which the restaurant’s owners added in 2001, will now be known just as The Loft. Owners closed it down in late April, and construction has been ongoing ever since.

The Loft now has a fixed-up upstairs deck with a view of Old Town, and it has and two new garage doors that allow easy access outdoors as well as a bar pass through.

The inside bar now has all wood floors, all 16 of the brewery’s beers on tap, and a new custom-made “tap tower.” Customers can order the full menu upstairs as well as downstairs. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights will resume at The Loft, too.

The Loft’s hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Wednesday and Thursday and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The upstairs patio is open for lunch at 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays only.

For more information, call  316-263-2739

Donavon’s Steamin Weenies upgrades location, adds bierocks, changes name

10415642_712221122157040_1871904390586660033_nIt’s been a busy couple of years for Donavon’s Steamin Weeniesthe hot dog restaurant that opened in the summer of 2012 in Haysville.

In addition to moving to a bigger location at 243 E. Grand, which is just down the street from the original location at 418 W. Grand, the restaurant has changed its name — and found a new top seller.

The restaurant, owned by California transplants Don and Yvonne Avis, now is called Donavon’s Steamin Weenies and Bierocks, and its three varieties of bierocks now make up about 60 to 70 percent of food sales, Yvonne said.

Until recently, Yvonne had never heard of a bierock, which is a regional specialty not known by Californians. Several people came in asking her for bierocks, and she’d serve them a beer brat, thinking they just had enunciation problems. When she realized what the customers actually were asking for, she researched them and added them to the menu.

Donavon’s has a traditional bierock made with ground beef, onion, cabbage and Colby cheese; a Philly bierock made with ground beef, onion, Italian seasoning, bell pepper and Mozzarella cheese; and a Southwestern bierock, made with shredded chicken, rice, black, beans, corn and Colby and Mozzarella cheeses.

The new building is bigger and has a drive-through, Yvonne said. And the restaurant still is serving its full menu of hot dogs, brats, Polish sausage and more.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, call 316-522-3647.

Women brew up some knowledge at Wichita beer club

The beauties and the beers that make up Wichita's Beauties and the Beers club

The beauties and the beers that make up Wichita’s Beauties and the Beers club

For this week’s Go! section, I’ve written a story about a local club I think I’d like to join.

It’s called Beauties and the Beers, and the group’s members have been meeting once a month since last August at River City Brewing Co., 150 N. Mosley.

The club is for women only and allows them to learn about and sample different varieties of beers. Club members report forming not only an appreciation for craft beers but also for forming close friendships.

The next meeting is July 17, and you have to have a ticket to go.

Read my story to find out how to get one.

Dempsey’s Burger Pub coming to Clifton Square

A burger from Dempsey's Burger Pub.

A burger from Dempsey’s Burger Pub.

The man who got his start in the restaurant business with one of my favorite college haunts is opening a burger place in Clifton Square.

Steven Gaudreau, a Wichita native, is opening Dempsey’s Burger Pub in the old John Browns Space in Clifton Square, 3700 E. Douglas. He’s started work on the remodel of the space but won’t know for several more weeks when he’ll be able to open.

Gaudreau got his start in 1991 with Quinton’s Bar & Deli, a delicious soup and sandwich place on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence. I ingested many calories there in the early 1990s.

He also owns a Quinton’s in Topeka, and there are Quinton’s franchises in Missouri and Iowa, too. He’s a  partner in Bison Witches Bar & Deli, too, which has locations in Norman, Okla., Lincoln, Neb., Tuscon and Tempe, Ariz.

Six years ago, he opened an Irish pub at 623 Vermont St. in Lawrence. Three years ago, he added gourmet burgers to the menu there. A year ago, he opened a Dempsey’s in Lincoln.

Wichita’s Dempsey’s will have all the menu items Lawrence’s does, but because he’ll have more space in Wichita, Gaudreau plans to expand the menu and add more heavy appetizers and sandwiches. The burgers are made with hormone-free beef and also offers Kobe burgers.

The dining room will take up both the upper level and lower level of the space, and Dempsey’s will serve alcohol as well.

It will not, however, have my beloved college staple: Wisconsin cheese soup in a bread bowl. (I plan to visit anyway.)

This is Clifton Square’s third attempt in recent years to get a restaurant in the space, which has been vacant since 2011. French restaurant Au Paris-Bruxelles was slated to open but never did. Mortimer’s Piano Bar was slated to go in before, that but also never happened.

Gaudreau grew up in Wichita, attending Blessed Sacrament and Kapaun Mt. Carmel high school. He remembers frequenting a candy store in Clifton Square as a child.

“This is a homecoming,” he said.

Stay tuned for more details.

A few restaurants going on summer vacation

Felipe's at 21st and Woodlawn is about to go on summer vacation.

Felipe’s at 21st and Woodlawn is about to go on summer vacation.

The Fourth of July is near, and a few restaurants and food-related businesses are planning vacations. I’m telling you now so you don’t show up hungry pre- or post-fireworks.

Among them:

Molino’s at 1064 N. Waco, one of Wichita’s best Mexican restaurants, is closing down for a week so owner Mario Quiroz can take his family on a trip. The restaurant will be closed starting July 7 and will reopen on July 13.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen at 1725 E. Douglas will be closed on Friday, July 4, so the staff can “have fun and blow up things with friends and families.”

Felipe’s at 2241 N. Woodlawn will be closed July 1 through July 7 and will reopen with normal hours on July 8.

The Spice Merchant at 1308 E. Douglas will close on July 4 and July 5. It will re-open on July 7.

I’ll continue to update this list as I notice more closings. Let me know if you’re aware of one I don’t have.

Waffle Wagon serves caramelized Belgian waffles

A caramelized Belgian waffle from the Waffle Wagon, owned by Twin Sisters Concession.

A caramelized Belgian waffle from the Waffle Wagon, owned by Twin Sisters Concession.

When the Flying Stove’s Jeff Schauf told me a couple of months ago that a new vendor of caramelized Belgian waffles would be joining the Food Trucks at the Fountain rally, he got my attention.

Caramelized Belgian waffles? I had never heard of such an invention, but using my context clues, I deduced they would posses high levels of deliciousness.

It turns out the Waffle Wagon will be back at this month’s rally, scheduled for Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the WalterWalk fountains, 515 S. Main.

It’s operated out of a trailer owned by twin sisters Janice Craven and Janet Bruna, who about a year ago formed Twin Sisters Concession. Janet had seen caramelized waffles being prepared on television and was intrigued. She researched them and worked on a recipe, and the sisters decided to open a wagon to sell them. They’ve intentionally started out slow, Janice said, but in addition to the rally, they’ve also taken the truck to a couple of county fairs and an artisan fair in Kechi.

Caramelized Belgian waffles, also known as Liege waffles, are sweet and crispy and are more like a dessert than breakfast, Janice said. They’re so good on their own, they don’t even need any topping.

What’s the secret ingredient? Janice wouldn’t say, but most recipes call for Belgian Pearl Sugar, which are clumps of hard sugar that don’t dissolve during baking. They cause the outside to caramelize and crisp while the inside stays soft.

That is worth a rally, I’d say.

Extra large Food Trucks at the Fountain event happens Sunday

Let'm Eat Brats will join the group at this month's food truck rally.

Let’m Eat Brats will be among the food trucks at Sunday’s rally.

The last Sunday is upon us, which means the monthly meetup of local food trucks is, too.

This month’s Food Trucks at the Fountain will be a big one, said organizer Jeff Schauf of the Flying Stove. It’ll include perhaps the longest list of trucks ever at a meetup:  the Flying StoveB.S. Sandwich PressHopperoni ExpressLet’m Eat Brats, Brickhouse BBQ, Park-n-Pork BBQ and the Waffle Wagon all will be there.

As always, the trucks will serve at the WalterWalk fountains, 515 S. Main, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m, when a live band also will be performing live jazz. Those who want to participate in an outdoor yoga session put on by Firefly Yoga before they eat should meet at 10:30 a.m.

Anna Murdoc’s closed, but only until Monday

downloadAnna Murdoc’s Cafe, the coffee shop and restaurant at 209 E. William owned by Gerard Rodriguez and family, has been closed since last Wednesday, June 11.

But the shut-down is only temporary, Gerard said. The restaurant will reopen with its normal hours on Monday.

The restaurant needed a good scrubbing, said Rodriguez, who now also is running the Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria at 2411 N. Maize Road.  And there’s a lot going on at the moment with the family, which also includes R Coffeehouse owner Angelo Rodriguez, who just had a baby. R Coffeehouse is at 1144 N. Bitting in Riverside.

Gerard hinted that there’s a big concept change in the works for Anna Murdoc’s but he’s not ready to share details yet, he said. It’ll continue to exist as is for several months.

Stay tuned for updates.

Sweet Basil aims for early August reopening

Firefighters battle the April 2 fire at Sweet Basil.

Firefighters battle the April 2 fire at Sweet Basil.

It’s been a long three months for Charli Singh, whose Sweet Basil restaurant at 2424 N. Woodlawn has been closed since early April because of a kitchen fire that resulted in an estimated $400,000 damage.

But when the restaurant reopens, possibly in early August, customers won’t recognize it.

Singh is working with an architect to re-imagine the interior of the 23-year-old restaurant. He’s adding a bar on the south wall, which the restaurant never had before, and he’s also getting all new tables and chairs. The paint job will be different, too.

“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “I wish I didn’t have to do it, but it’s also exciting.”

Singh has been asking his customers for feedback on what he should change and keep the same on the Sweet Basil Facebook page, where he also posted a remodel blueprint.

Stay tuned for updates.