Siena Tuscan Steakhouse Chef Marshall Roth was in Towne East mall on Sunday when he saw something he thought he was hallucinating.
There, before him, was a Beard Papa’s — a cream puff chain Roth discovered when he was vacationing in Indonesia and later patronized when he was working as a chef in San Francisco.
“I was floored to see it,” he said with a laugh. “I thought, ‘Oh my god. Wichita has arrived. We are now truly an international food scene.’ ”
Beard Papa’s was founded in Osaka, Japan, in 1999 and is big all over the region.
So far, there are 35 stores in the United States, and all of them are on the West Coast.
But on Saturday, local businessman Jack Fukuda opened a franchise on the upper level of Towne East Square, just outside Dillard’s.
It’s the first Beard Papa’s in the Midwest, but Fukuda says more are coming.
Beard Papa’s allows people to customize their own cream puffs, which Roth describes as being “the size of your fist.”
The restaurant has cream puff shells ready. Then customers choose which flavor they want inside. Options include vanilla custard, green tea, caramel and more.
It also has other pastries and serves coffee, espresso, tea and frozen coffee drinks.
Roth said that when the Beard Papa’s in San Francisco opened, it took at least an hour to get in.
Beard Papa’s is open the same hours that Towne East is. For more information, visit Wichita’s Beard Papa’s Facebook page or call 316-613-2233.