Monthly Archives: July 2014

QT Kitchens will be everywhere by year’s end

This afternoon, I stopped by the QT Kitchens tasting event at the QuikTrip at 37th St. N. and Rock that is about to open.

The kitchens offer toasted sandwiches, flatbread sandwiches, personal pizzas, soft pretzels with dipping sauce, breakfast sandwiches, fancy coffee drinks, smoothies, milkshakes, soft serve cones and Twisters, the QT take on the Dairy Queen Blizzard.

qt ktichen

The QT Kitchens tasting event included a life-sized milkshake.

The kitchens are being put into every QuikTrip in the Wichita area, one-by-one. So far, 20 stores have them up and running. The rest will be ready by the end of the year.

The convenience store chain introduced the kitchens, said Wichita division manager Terry Williams, because it wanted to provide good food for its customers. The company also is looking to fill a financial gap left by declining gasoline and cigarette sales, he said.

Samples of the QT Kitchens toasted sandwich with bacon and cheddar.

Samples of the QT Kitchens toasted sandwich with bacon and cheddar.

“This is a win for our customers and a win for us,” he said.

One interesting note: Customers order their QT Kitchen items at a touch screen, which then spits out a receipt. They take the receipt to the regular cash register, pay, then go retrieve their food when it’s ready.

During the tasting event, I sampled the much-discussed bacon shake, which was interesting for sure. It mixes soft serve with tiny bits of bacon and has lots of maple flavor. I’m not a big maple fan, but I asked a few colleagues to sample it, and they loved it.

If a Strawberry Shake offers to pose for a picture with you, never say no.

If a Strawberry Shake offers to pose for a picture with you, never say no.

I also tasted a pretzel with cheese, a slice of pepperoni pizza, a toasted sandwich with bacon and cheese, and a chicken bacon Ranch flatbread with nice, fresh slices of tomato and lettuce.

None of this is food you’d eat if you were watching your calories. It’s all buttery or sweet or melty. But it does taste good, and I could see it being popular with the crowd that already devours QT’s cold sandwiches and tube-shaped foods on the rollers. And the prices are in-line with other fast food places. My flatbread, for example, was $3.99, though the lettuce and tomato cost 69 cents extra.

Want to see a copy of the full menu? Keep reading. You also can find a list of stores where the QT Kitchens are already operating. If you don’t see your neighborhood store on the list, it’s not far behind.

Read More »

Restaurant review: Jacky Chan Sushi

jacky chan special rollI always get excited about a new sushi restaurant, and Jacky Chan Sushi is no exception.

Former Kwan Court and Sakura sushi maker Binh Tran opened it in April in the former Sit at Thai Express space at 4910 E. Central. It’s an amazingly small restaurant with an amazingly big menu.

Recently, I got a chance to take a tour of the menu and was impressed with what I found. Take a look at my review, which is scheduled to be printed in the Go! section in the morning. The beautiful sushi roll photos are worth the click on their own.

Derby gets its Picasso’s Pizzeria on Thursday

How soon is now?

How soon is now?

Kurt Schmidt will open his second Picasso’s Pizzeria at 620 N. Rock Road in Derby on Thursday.

The restaurant, which is in Bristol Square, will have the same big slices and sandwiches as the original, which opened at 621 W. Douglas in Delano in March 2012, but it will have slightly different hours. The Derby store will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 316-201-1743.

Churn & Burn will serve liquid nitrogen ice cream

Local businessman Christian Shomberg and his fiancee, Jamee Lowe, will open Churn & Burn, a new ice cream and coffee shop at 556 S. Oliver, on Tuesday.

Churn & Burn owners Jamee Lowe and Christian Shomberg.

Churn & Burn owners Jamee Lowe and Christian Shomberg.

The shop, which is filled with colorful relics and signs from the old Joyland, will specialize in ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, which results in a fast freeze and a dense, smoother product. Kansans who visit the Eisenhower Building at the Kansas State Fair each year might have tried liquid nitrogen ice cream before.

The shop will stock several pre-made specialty ice creams in flavors including avocado lime, Earl Grey Sriracha, strawberry balsamic, and popcorn.

Churn & Burn is decorated with several old signs from Joyland.

Churn & Burn is decorated with several old signs from Joyland.

Customers also can watch as their ice cream is made in front of them. They can have coffee and espresso drinks frozen into ice cream treats, or customers can choose made-to-order chocolate or vanilla ice cream with candies and nuts mixed in. The shop will also sell regular coffee drinks and is getting its beans from the local Reverie Coffee Roasters.

Hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 8 p.m. Sundays. On opening day, Tuesday, the store will open at 1 p.m. For more information, call 316-425-7766.

Cero’s celebrates move anniversary with ice cream social

Cero's mint chocolate chip ice cream

Cero’s mint chocolate chip ice cream

A year ago, local chocolatier Cero’s Candies moved from 1108 E. Douglas to its new location at 3429 E. Douglas. On Friday, it will celebrate the anniversary of the move with an event that will include discounted ice cream, live music, prizes and games for kids.

It’s from 6 to 8 p.m., and Cero’s will serve scoops of its store-made vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, coffee, cinnamon, banana and strawberry sorbet ice cream for $1.50 a scoop. The store also will serve lemonade and limeade.

Local musician Terry Harrison of the band Front Porch Blues will perform, and kids can participate in bean bag tosses and more. Admission is free.

For more information, call 316-264-5002.

Albero Cafe is open, and the food looks great

Albero Cafe opened on Wednesday in the former Bocconcini building at 4811 E. Central, and the food looks and sounds great.

The Italian chopped salad from Albero Cafe.

The Italian chopped salad from Albero Cafe.

It’s owned by Hassan Ballout, who worked for 10 years at nearby Bella Luna Cafe

The menu includes flatbreads, salads, panini sandwiches and pasta dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, Italian sausage penne and shrimp scampi.

Entrees included grilled grouper, grilled salmon, strip steak, chicken Parmesan and eggplant Parmesan.

The restaurant also will offer several Italian sodas and will have a liquor license.

The antipasto plate from Albero Cafe.

The antipasto plate from Albero Cafe.

Its hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call 316-260-9667.

I like the looks of this antipasti plate, left, and I love a salami-laden chopped salad.

Anyone tried it yet? Let us know what you thought.

Mexican restaurant El Tenampa is closed

The empty dining room at the former El Tenampa

The empty dining room at the former El Tenampa

For those who haven’t yet heard, it appears that El Tenampa — the authentic Mexican restaurant that opened in November in the old Burger Barn space at 3302 W. Central — is closed.

How do I know? The phone is disconnected, and the building is completely empty. It appears the restaurant has been closed since at least early July.

The restaurant was owned by Guillermo Botello and specialized in tacos, gorditas and tacos filled with authentic Mexican meats. I thought the food was good, especially the tacos, so I’m sorry to see it go.

Restaurants we’ve loved and lost

Why'd you have to close, Albert's? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????

Why’d you have to close, Albert’s? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????

Tis better to have eaten and lost than never to have eaten before.

Or is it?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked readers to tell me the names of the Wichita restaurants of the past that they miss most.

I got hundreds of responses, and nearly 200 restaurants were named.

I tallied up the top vote getters and listed them here. See if your favorites made the top 10.

Hint: Everyone wants Angelo’s back.

Luciano’s food truck hits Wichita streets

Luciano Motolla poses in front of his new mobile food trailer, called Strada.

Luciano Mottola poses in front of his new mobile food trailer, called Strada.

Fans of Luciano’s, the well-regarded Italian restaurant in Mulvane, know that if they want to enjoy owner Luciano Mottola’s homey pasta dishes, they’re going to drive.

But not any more.

Luciano and his wife, Nancy, have just launched a Luciano’s mobile food business that they’re calling Strada, which is the Italian word for “street.” It’ll be in the Brittany Center parking lot at 21st and Woodlawn from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today (Thursday).

The couple decided to start the food truck, Nancy said, after getting requests from Wichita fans.

“A lot of people wanted us to open a location in Wichita, but we felt that would take away from what we were doing here,” she said. “We felt like this would fill that need without taking anything away from Mulvane.”

The trailer will offer pasta dishes made popular in the Mulvane restaurant, and it will also serve salads using cone-shaped versions of its famous Parmesan salad bowl.

The dishes will be less expensive than they are in the restaurant and are intended to give people a “fast and friendly way” to have a taste of what they can get in Mulvane, Nancy said. Today’s menu includes a shrimp and mushroom penne with cream sauce.

The trailer will be out for lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The Mottolas are interested in getting involved in Food Trucks at the Fountain and also are open to serving at special events on weekends.

On Friday, the’ll be parked at Bing Brothers Liquor in Winfield from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Schedules can be found on the Luciano’s Facebook page and on its Twitter account.

For more information, call 316-777-0045.

It’s time again for Food Trucks at the Fountain

The last Sunday comes so quickly each month, but that’s a good thing. It means that another mega-gathering of Wichita’s food trucks is about to happen.

This month’s Food Trucks at the Fountain happens from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at 515 S. Main. It’ll include founders and organizers the Flying Stove plus B.S. Sandwich PressHopperoni ExpressLet’m Eat BratsBrickhouse BBQ and Park-n-Pork BBQ

Kona Ice will join the Food Trucks at the Fountain fun this time.

Kona Ice will join the Food Trucks at the Fountain fun this time.

Two new participants have signed up, too: the just opened Funky Monkey Munchies and Kona Ice, the snow cone truck that earns more Wichita fans by the day.

The event also will include a band performing live jazz.