Category Archives: Holes-in-the-wall

Question of the week: Best little-known gem

The dining room at the delicious but tiny Manna Wok.

This week’s reader question on my Dining with Denise newsletter comes from Frank, who wonders if I’ve ever tried Cafe Asia at 6546 E. Central. (I haven’t, but according to Frank, I need to change that.)

It got me thinking about all the little-known restaurants I’ve come to love, many based on reader recommendations. Manna Wok at 4865 E. Central comes to mind, as does Malaysia Cafe at 7777 E. 21st St. N.

My question of the week: What’s your favorite little-known restaurant in town? They’re not all Asian. I’ve heard from readers over the years about several teeny tiny Mexican places and underrated burger joints, too.

If you don’t mind your little-known place becoming a bit more well-known, would you mind nominating it in the comments section below?

Return of the Tropic’s sandwiches

tropicsLunch business got slow, so the Tropics Lounge at 2705 N. Broadway stopped serving its famous sandwiches.

But customers have been begging owner Stella Cruz to bring them back, and she’s finally relenting. On Friday, Cruz will re-institute service of the mile-high ham, the Reuben, the hogies and more.

Starting Friday, sandwiches will be available starting at 11 a.m. until the kitchen closes (around midnight) Mondays through Fridays. They’re available on Saturday’s starting at noon.

For more information, call 316-425-5553.

Teeny, tiny, tasty

manawokdiningroomWhy do I love teeny tiny restaurants that serve good food? Is it because they’re cute and tiny, like puppies? Or because the teeny tininess of them makes me feel like I’ve discovered a true hole-in-the-wall treasure?

Earlier this year, a friend introduced me to Manna Wok, a delicious little (emphasis on the little) Korean place at 4865 E. Harry. This place is tiny — so tiny it has room for only eight tables and only two people standing up at the same time. (I’m exaggerating on that last part, but it is a weeeee little place.)

The food, however, is big on flavor, especially the Korean dishes such as beef bul go kee, shown here. mannawokbeef

Manna Wok has been in business for 18 years, and the dining room is plastered with pictures of people enjoying meals there. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and offers lunch specials.

Today I met Cat Poland, the marketing and communications manager for Girl Scouts KS, for lunch at Manna Wok. I had the beef bul go kee, which is incredible. She had what looked like an equally incredible shrimp with ginger sauce. manawokphotos

(Cat and I, by the way, were meeting to talk about a very cool restaurant event she helps to organize called Cocktails & Cookies. It’s a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts, and I’m going to emcee the event at the Marriott on March 3).

Other teeny tiny restaurants I love: El Patio at 424 E. Central and Thai Five at 1523 S. Seneca.

Si Senor

sisenor.jpg 001I love it when readers alert me to delicious little hole-in-the-wall places I might not have otherwise known about.

This week, a reader sent me a raving e-mail about a new Mexican place called Si Senor. It’s in an old Sonic at 803 N. West Street and features a tiny menu of Mexican specialties and room for about 30 diners.

Did I want to try it? Si, Senor.

I stopped by over the lunch hour today and treated myself to a pulled pork torta and a beef taco. Both were delicious, especially the taco, which was served in a flour shell that was perfectly fried and not at all greasy.

Only problem: Ventilation is an issue in the tiny restaurant, so as I type this, I smell like fried citrus. Only because my boss made me put on some citrus perfume in an attempt to mask the oil smell radiating from my clothing and hair.

Si Senor is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Call 316-946-5597 for more information.