Category Archives: Buffets

HomeTown Buffet on West Central is closed, could open elsewhere

The Hometown Buffet at 6820 W.  Central closed suddenly last week.

The Hometown Buffet at 6820 W. Central closed suddenly last week.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE

Overnight, I heard back from the marketing firm that represents HomeTown Buffet, who indicated that it’s possible that Hometown Buffet could eventually return to Wichita. (The restaurant closed suddenly a week ago.)

“The location was at the end of its lease and we could not come to terms with the landlord,” said a statement, signed “HomeTown Buffet management.” “We are currently exploring other possible locations to reopen new, renovated restaurants in the future.”

The statement also said that managers and crew who had at least 90 days on the job were given severance packages.

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(First posted Monday, June 16) Wichita’s HomeTown Buffet at 6820 W. Central closed suddenly last week. All the signs are stripped from the building, and on the door is a sign that reads “This location has permanently closed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we sincerely appreciate your patronage over the years.”

In 2012, Buffets Inc., which owns HomeTown Buffet, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed restaurants across the country, but at the time, Wichita’s was spared. The company changed its name to Ovation Brands last year.

It’s been a bad year for buffet restaurants in Wichita. In January, the last location of Furr’s also closed. Until late 2003, Wichita also had an east-side HomeTown Buffet at 6160 E. Central.

I have a call into the restaurant’s marketing manager and will update this post later if I get an explanation.

It’s time to start thinking Mother’s Day reservations

Mom Lory Wooley runs Bella Vita Bistro with her daughter, Crystal Prud Homme DeLodder, right, and her husband, chef Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder. The restaurant is among several planning special Mother’s Day meals.

Good job, Wichita. You’re already thinking about feeding mom, and Mother’s Day is more than a week away.

I’ve been getting pretty frequent e-mails for the past week or so from people asking me where they should take their mothers to eat on Mother’s Day, which this year is on Sunday, May 12. I always do a list, but this year, I decided to publish it a little early so people will have plenty of time to make plans.

I’ve heard from local restaurateurs that Mother’s Day is the biggest brunch day of the year, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the list is so long.

Several restaurants are offering fancy buffets with lots of breakfast items, prime rib and desserts. Others are putting out special menus or offering free drinks and desserts for moms.

Peruse the list and make your reservation before it’s too late.

Now open: Teppanyaki Grill & Sushi Buffet

Friday was the opening day for the giant new Teppanyaki Grill & Sushi Buffet, which is now operating inside a 12,000-square-foot space at 6710 W. Kellogg, right next door to Best Buy.

The restaurant, owned by  a company that runs super buffet restaurants in nearby states, can hold about 400 diners. It specializes in Asian and American cuisine, with lots of sushi and Japanese style teppanyaki dishes.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays an 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The lunch buffet price, which is $6.95, is offered until 3:30 Mondays through Saturdays. The dinner price, which is $9.45, is available from 3:30 to close Monday through Saturday and all day on Sunday.

For more information, call 316-942-7777.

Take mom out for Mother’s Day

Larkspur offers a brunch buffet only on Mother's Day each year.

I’ve rounded up my annual list of restaurants putting on special meals for moms on Sunday.

It has the usual list of hotel buffets and restaurants offering all manners of brunchy overindulgence.

I wrote the story when I was hungry, and I was most intrigued by the special Mother’s Day menus being offered at Bella Vita Bistro, which is offering dishes such as an andouille-stuffed pork loin and prosciutto and basil-wrapped chicken breast, and by the special brunch menu Sabor is serving up. Biscuits and chorizo gravy? Yes and yum.

Diners also will want to pay attention to the fact that Larkspur is offering a Mother’s Day buffet. This is the only time of year they join the holiday buffet foray.

Peruse my list and make your Mother’s Day reservations pronto.

Buffet out, themed plates in at Crown Uptown

The newly reopened Crown Uptown Dinner Theater now has a new way of serving dinner to its patrons. The buffet concept is kaput, and theater-goers are being served meals that correspond with the show’s theme at their tables.

So far, the change is working well, said Shannon Parsons, the theater’s bar manager. “People are getting their food a lot faster,” she said. “It seems to be much better.”

The buffet concept wasn’t working, she said, because the line to get through it was always so long. Often, lines would stretch all the way around the building, and by the time people made it through and back to their seats, their food was cold. The change was instituted along with the theater’s current production of “Steel Magnolias.”

New chef Brian Mangers, whose resume includes The Candle Club and Uptown Bistro, is serving a “Steel Magnolias”-esque meal that includes blackened catfish, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, red beans and rice, collard greens, gumbo and salad. Servers still plate the food at the buffet then deliver it hot to the tables.

The theater’s next show is “The Wizard of Oz,” and Mangers is busy dreaming up a No Place Like Home menu right now.

Restaurant closing: Souper Salad

A farewell note posted on the Souper Salad entrance.

While out shopping this weekend, I noticed something somewhat tragic.

Souper Salad, which opened at at 8007 E. Kellogg in 1998, is closed.

I know I’m not supposed to like buffets, but occasionally, I do anyway. Souper Salad had one of those buffets. It was overflowing with every possible salad topping conceivable, and you could fool yourself into thinking that the pile of lettuce, ham, cheese and Ranch dressing you’d just concocted was somehow healthy. The soups were pretty good, too. I particularly liked the vegetable beef soup, and the Tuna Skroodle pasta salad was delish.

There was briefly a second Souper Salad in Wichita, operating on the west side at 4722 W. Kellogg, but it closed in 2005.

Back in the early 2000′s, Souper Salad was the one place my health-conscious friend Jaime would always agree to go. It was also a great place to go with small children, as I was reminded recently watching a 1-year-old shovel in a colorful array of veggies, meats and cheeses to her heart’s content.

Farewell, Souper Salad. I’ll miss you and your Skroodle.

(UPDATE: A reader pointed me to this news from September about Souper Salad’s parent company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.)

See you at the Red Stocking Breakfast on Wednesday?

A celebrity scene from last year's Red Stocking Breakfast

Wednesday is the day for the Red Stocking Breakfast, an event that has become as much a party of my personal Christmas tradition as blogging endlessly about the Chop Suey Palace.

This is probably my 10th year working as a server at the breakfast, which is staged from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Carlos O’ Kelly’s at 7703 E. Douglas. The breakfast raises money for the Kansas Children’s Service League and always draws a huge crowd. I’ve spent so many years on the line, I have the whole buffet memorized — fruit salad, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, eggs, spicy eggs, link sausages… the list goes on and on. I always leave high on Sterno and Christmas cheer.

Bonnie Bing and I will be on the 8 to 8:45 a.m. shift on Wednesday. Other servers on the list include KAKE’s Susan Peters, Mayor Carl Brewer, Spangles spokeswoman Rene Steven, KSN’s Stephanie Bergman and a whole mess of city council people, county commissioners and local businessfolk.

Tickets are $12 in advance at www.kcsl.org or $15 at the door. Read all the fine print here.

Here’s hoping I get cinnamon roll duty this year.

Ruben’s now offering a Mexican buffet

The dining room at Ruben's Mexican Grill

Several times a year, some hungry reader writes wanting to know who in town offers a Mexican buffet. I just discovered a new one.

A little more than a week ago, Ruben’s Mexican Grill at 520 W. Douglas started a three-day-a-week Mexican buffet. It’s offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. The price of the buffet is $7.99 a person.

The staff serves the food from metal trays set up on a table in the corner of the restaurant. The choices are different each day but often include items such as tamales and enchiladas.

Ruben’s is one of my regular lunch stops. It’s close to work, and its flour tacos, chips and salsa landed on my “approved” list years ago.

As for other Mexican buffes: Cortez Mexican Restaurant at 344 W. 29th St., also does a buffet on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There’s also a Mexican lunch buffet at La Tradicion Tortilleria, which is at 1701 N. Broadway. It’s served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Now open: Shoeless Joe’s Old Fashioned Burgers and Phillys

David Chaffin, who just opened Sholess Joe's Old Fashioned Burgers and Phillys.

Restaurateur David Chaffin, known for founding Player’s, opened Shoeless Joe’s Old Fashioned Burgers and Phillys on Tuesday at 2315 W 21st St. in the space that most recently held a Jimmy’s Egg.

I drove past the restaurant, and it looks sorta like a mini-Player’s, full of wood and sports memorabilia. The menu looks familiar, too. It’s full of old Player’s dishes and was created using the same font from the old Player’s menu.

The most popular menu item so far, Chaffin said, is the Philly cheese steak sandwich. He’s also serving salads, burgers, wings, nachos and more.

Food is served from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The bar stays open until people go home or 2 a.m., whichever comes first

Two more restaurants in the breakfast biz

Rain Cafe & Lounge recently started a Friday through Sunday brunch.

The more places cooking breakfast, the better. That’s how I see it.

Two more restaurants in the downtown vicinity share that outlook.

One is Rain Cafe & Lounge at 518 E. Douglas, which recently added brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Rain is serving a variety of breakfast combos, such as a two-egg breakfast with choice of meat and potato or a three-egg omelet with gyro meat and sides. Each combo is $5. Since Rain is a bar in its real life, it also is able to offer Bloody Marys, mimosas, red beers, etc.  For more information, call 316-261-9000.

Sometime before the end of the year, B&C Barbecue at 355 N. Washington will begin offering a breakfast buffet. Owner Carey Maurer says he’s close to getting it launched but isn’t sure when exactly it’ll all happen. When it does, he’ll have a buffet filled with eggs, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, sausage and more. It’ll cost around $7 a person, no tip required, and will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. I’ll update you when he gets things cooking.