Author Archives: Denise Neil

Second Wings & Things opens on Saturday

2mwl1.SlMa.80I reported back in May that a second location of Wings & Things, the restaurant owned by football star and Wichita native Kamerion Wimbley and his aunt Valerie Mitchell, would open this summer, and the day arrives on Saturday. The new restaurant is at 331 W. 31st St. S. and just like the original at 2800 E. Central, it specializes in wings with several sauce choices, catfish, burgers and more. It also will have the same hours as the original Wings & Things, which opened a year ago: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m.t o 8 p.m. Sundays.

To celebrate the grand opening of the new store and the original store’s first birthday, both restaurants will offer specials daily from Saturday through July 20. Customers can get 75-cent wings, $5 cheeseburger and fries baskets and $5 one-piece catfish baskets. For more information, visit www.wingsandthings.com.

Endless appetizers, bottomless fries and other very filling promotions

UntitledIt’s the age-old question: How many loaded potato skins CAN you eat?

If you have $10 and a flexible attitude about calories, you can find out.

TGI Fridays, which has a Wichita restaurant at 2441 N. Maize Road, is offering “endless appetizers” until Aug. 24. Customers pay $10 and can get all the refills they can stomach of garlic and basil bruschetta, Mozzarella sticks, boneless buffalo wings, Tuscan spinach dip, crispy green bean fries and pan-seared pot stickers. (Be warned: If you start with potato skins you must stick with potato skins. No traveling through the menu allowed.)

I do love boneless wings, but all-you-can-eat deals and buffets are something I generally try to avoid. I always have a nagging feeling that I should eat more because, you know, I CAN. But if I do, I’m sorry for hours, maybe days. Bottomless steak fries at Red Robin? Unlimited soup, salad and bread sticks at Olive Garden? Sounds delicious. But really, I shouldn’t.

If only Red Lobster would revive its all-you-can-eat crab legs promotion, I’d make an exception. But I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.

New Italian restaurant Albero Cafe about ready to go

IMG_0473I’ve been getting a frenzy of e-mails from College Hill-ians noticing that the new Albero Cafe, which is going into the former Bocconcini building at 4811 E. Central, is about to open.

This morning I stopped by and talked to Hassan Ballout, who said opening day for his Italian restaurant is still almost two weeks away. He hopes to have the restaurant ready to go the week of July 21.

Ballout, who worked for 10 years at nearby Bella Luna Cafe, has remodeled the space, adding new flooring, new tables and chairs and a fresh coat of paint. It looks and smells brand new, and it’s bright and open.

He also has his menu ready to go. It features 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.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

I’ll let you know when Ballout settles on a firm opening date.

Red Beans closing Thursday, auctioning off decor next week

logoAs word has leaked out that Red Beans Bayou Grill at 7447 W. 21st St. will close at the end of business on Thursday, people have been swarming in for a last taste of jambalaya, etouffee and pork loin Thibideaux, said owner Bill Rowe.

Rowe, who has owned the restaurant since he bought it from founder Richard Waite in 2008, said that the Cajun/American restaurant is “just doing okay.” But his Blue Moon Caterers is doing more than okay.

“My catering company is just exploding,” he said. “I’ve more than tripled my sales since 2000, and it deserves all the attention I can give it.”

The Red Beans building lease was up, Rowe said, so rather than renew, he decided now was a good time to close the restaurant and focus on Blue Moon.

Richard Waite  (left) and Rick Jeffrey, just as they were about to open Red Beans in 1998.

Richard Waite (left) and Rick Jeffrey, just as they were about to open Red Beans in 1998.

Waite and some partners opened Red Beans in 1998. Rowe previously had owned  Willie C’s Cafe & Bar.

Next week, Rowe said, he will be auctioning off the wild Cajun decor that hangs in the dining room as well as the kitchen equipment.

The decor auction starts at 9 a.m. Monday at the restaurant and will include all the colorful items on the walls, including stuffed fish, animals and a stuffed boar’s head. Rowe says he also has an extensive beer can collection that might be worth something.

The kitchen equipment auction is at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

For more information, call 316-721-4100.

Donuts a la mode? Donut Whole adds ice cream to offerings

A Donut Whole doughnut serve a la mode.

A Donut Whole doughnut serve a la mode.

The Donut Whole at 1720 E. Douglas is known for its colorful and crazy donuts, from maple bacon to fruity-pebble covered. Earlier this week, owners Michael Carmody and Angela Mallory added a new dimension to the 5-year-old business: ice cream.

Customers now can get the Donut Whole’s donuts topped or sandwiched with chocolate or vanilla ice cream made by Paleteria La Reyna, the Mexican ice cream shop and restaurant at 2925 Arkansas. The shop is serving donuts a la mode, doughnut sundaes doughnut ice cream sandwiches and ice cream mix-in treats.

The Donut Whole also can serve shakes mixed with any flavor of milk tea, smoothie and coffee syrup flavors it has on hand, offering possibilities such as a Thai tea milkshake, a coffee milkshake, a maple spice milkshake and more. For more information, call 316-262-3700.

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.