Category Archives: Healthy restaurant food

The crepes remain at Lotus Leaf

I told you a few weeks ago about changes planned at Lotus Leaf,  the restaurant at  613 W. Douglas.

Owner Jacquelyn Keefer had just hired new chef Rebecca Gold and was rededicating herself to her original vision for the restaurant, which inlcuded the healthiest of health food dishes. She was considering eliminating crepes all together.

Keefer and Gold now have completed the new menu, and some crepes made the cut. There are also several tempting sounding vegetarian dishes, including a sweet potato crepe and a black bean and quinoa burger.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, 11 am. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 316-295-4133.

Marie’s moves to the domes

Marie's former space at Twin Lakes.

Marie’s Bakery & Cafe closed in December in its original spot at 2106 N. Amidon. But as of Monday, Marie Hunt’s “healthy” bakery has a new home.

It has reopened inside the Riordan Clinic at 3100 N. Hillside, which many people in Wichita know as “the domes.” The clinic closed its once-popular cafe last year. But its director found Hunt and decided that their healthy eating and cooking goals matched up perfectly.

Hunt now is serving breakfast and lunch items from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The cafe is open to the public and specializes in healthy wraps, sandwiches, salads, soups and vegetarian dishes. For more information, call the clinic at 316-682-3100.

Lotus Leaf losing crepes, adding chef

By March 20, Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie at  613 W. Douglas, will become just Lotus Leaf Cafe.

Owner Jacquelyn Keefer, who has been struggling for a while to find a way to make her restaurant fit her original vision, said she has hired a new chef — kitchen veteran Rebecca Gold — and will likely soon drop crepes from the restaurant’s menu and name.

When Lotus Leaf turned 1 in November, Keefer announced that she’d hired a new chef, Ya Ya’s and Uptown Bistro veteran Beau Franklin. But that partnership didn’t work out, Keefer said. She wanted to find a chef who would be on board with her vision of healthy food with natural ingredients, and she thinks she’s found it in Gold.

Rebecca Gold, back in her Uptown Bistro pastry chef days.

Gold, who has worked at Uptown Bistro, Cero’s and Chester’s Chophouse, starts on Monday.

“She has more of an idea of what I really wanted from the beginning,” Keefer said. “I’m tired of conforming to chefs’ ideas of what healthy options are.”

Keefer and Gold have agreed that crepes will no longer be a focus on the menu, though it’s possible that a crepe or two will be on the new menu that they’ll debut on March 20. It’ll feature more salads, more soups and more menu items made with ingredients such as quinoa and cous cous.

“I’m really looking forward to having a woman in the kitchen,” Keefer said.

Until then, the current menu will remain in place, she said, though Gold will likely add her own touches.

Wild Thyme Cafe & Bakery is closed

I received an e-mail today from a distraught fan of Wild Thyme Cafe & Bakery in Maize, which officially closed on Saturday.

Owner Jody Briceland opened the restaurant last November at 5855 N. Maize Road and served a menu that featured organic ingredients as well as dishes that were gluten-free, sugar-free, raw, vegan and vegetarian. Over the past year, she earned several loyal fans, including one of my daughter’s teachers who would rave about the restaurant to me whenever I’d listen. He stuck a menu in my hand just a couple of weeks ago.

But a number of factors conspired to lead to the restaurant’s closing, Briceland said, including the high cost of organic ingredients, the relative smallness of her space (it seated about 22 people), and the location, which didn’t turn out to be as good as she’d hoped. Taxes were killing her, she said, and if she didn’t close, she worried she would soon not be able to pay her 10 staff members.

“The business was growing, but not enough to offset it,” she said. “That was the hard part.”

Briceland will continue catering from the space and says she will honor all outstanding gift certificates, either with caterings, to-go meals, private dinners or even refunds. Her hope is that she can eventually reopen in a better location. Several people have recommended Delano.

“This has really been heartbreaking for me because this was my dream,” she said.

Those needing to resolve gift certificate issues should call 316-305-1396.

Lotus Leaf closes during improvements

Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie at 613 W. Douglas is closed until Wednesday as its owner Jacquelyn Keefer works on putting together a new kitchen that will allow her to get food out faster.

During its first months of business, the restaurant’s executive chef James Butler has been creating dishes on a regular four-burner kitchen stove. But when the restaurant reopens on Wednesday, it’ll have a six-burner gas range as well as other kitchen improvements.

For more information, call 316-295-4133.

Feed the kids without guilt

Red Robin is one of Wichita's most kid-friendly restaurants.

Parents magazine is out with the results of its 10 Best Restaurant Chains survey, and Wichita has all but three of them.

The survey was intended to gather a list of restaurants where families can get the most nutritious foods for the best price while having the least stressful experience — a trifecta that most parents would insist doesn’t exist.

Here’s the list, which will appear in the April issue, scheduled to hit newsstands on March 15.

1. Jason’s Deli: Wichita has two of these — one at 7447 W. 21st and 2000 N. Rock Road.
2.  Cosi: This sandwich and soup chain has its nearest location in Tulsa.
3. Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes: This chain specializes in soups and salads, too, and has a store in Overland Park.
4. Red Lobster: Wichita’s are at 555 S. West St. and 333 S. Towne East Mall Drive.
5. Chipotle: We have four– at 515 N. Hillside, 2241 N. Maize Road, 3015 N. Rock Road and 535 S. Rock Road.
6. Noodles & Company: The city’s first Noodles & Company opened late last year at 3300 N. Rock Road.
7. Red Robin: Kids love Wichita’s Red Robin, which is at 9990 E. 13th St.
8. Mimi’s Cafe: This chain offers healthy home cooking and has a restaurant by Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.
9. Panera Bread: Wichita has three existing Panera’s, and a fourth will open soon at Maple and Ridge.
10. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro: Wichita’s P.F. Chang’s is at 1401 N. Waterfront Parkway.

Making “good for you” taste good

A tarragon chicken crepe from Lotus Leaf. Yum.

There was a reason I asked you all yesterday to name your  favorite healthy-eating restaurants in Wichita: My story for this week’s Go! section is about local restaurants that make healthy food taste good. (No small feat for the Kansas palate.)

You can read the story online here right now, unless you really prefer the delayed gratification of a Friday morning newspaper read.

My story focuses on two new-to-the-scene restaurants: Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie in Delano and Wild Thyme Cafe and Bakery on north Maize Road.