Category Archives: Mediterranean food

Green Olive will open in the spring

MamaDeaux is out. Green Olive is on its way in.

Sam Eddine has a big space attached to his Marco’s Cantina at 6600 W. Central, and he’s trying to find the right fit for it.

He opened a new version of his one-time restaurant MamaDeaux Seafood House — a Cajun restaurant — in the spot back in 2011. But he closed it a couple of months ago, he said, because the food costs were too high and Wichitans weren’t embracing the concept.

Now, there’s a new sign on the building that reads “Green Olive.” Eddine says that he plans to turn the space into a new fast-concept Mediterranean restaurant that will specialize in Mediterranean pizzas cooked in a brick oven, falafel, schwarma and more. The restaurant will have its own entrance but also will be accessible from Marco’s.

Though Green Olive is months from opening, Eddine had to put the sign up, he said with a laugh, because he had nowhere to store it.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

Mediterranean festival to become more festival-ish

Kafta will be added to the menu at Saturday’s Mediterranean Festival at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church.

The annual Mediterranean Festival at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church — a celebration of Mediterranean food — will be a little different than it’s been in the past.

For one, the festival — which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday  at the church, 344 S. Martinson – will be put on for just one day rather than two. The Orthodox Easter, which was last weekend, conflicted with the preparation schedule, necessitating the change this year.

Also, organizers this year are trying to make the festival a little bit more festival-ish. In the past, attendees ordered food, ate food and left. This year, the event will feature an outdoor tent, where people can dine al fresco, listen to Arabic music and watch Arabic dancing. They also can watch and sniff as church members grill kafta and chicken kebabs. (Kafta - lean ground beef, mixed with onion and spices, then grilled and served in a pita with a garlicky minty sauce – has been added to the menu this year. Stuffed grape leaves have been taken off.)

“When people hear the words, ‘Mediterranean Festival,’ they expect dancing and music and fun, not just walking through a buffet line and getting food,” said Alison Pike, one of the orgnaizers. “We are trying to make it feel more like a true festival.”

Attendees can order items such as kibbe, baklawa and meat pies a la carte in advance by calling ll 316-264-1576. They also can show up and dine in, either indoors or outdoors, or carry out. The festival also features a “market,” which will be expanded this year, that sells items such as pita bread, salad dressing and more.

India Emporium grocery also serves lunch

Some things you just don’t know unless you go inside.

A few weeks ago, my friend Kim was shopping for spices at India Emporium, the international grocery at 3743 N. Rock Road, when she noticed that they serve lunch. As luck would have it, she was hungry. So she got some to go and said it was great.

Owner Zaheer Nazir said that he opened his restaurant-within-a-store, called The Pita Deli, several months ago. He serves Mediterranean items such as falafel, hummus, gyro, schwarma and more from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. (The India Emporium sells Middle Eastern ingredients too, Nazir told me.)

He has seating for about 15 people in the back of the store, where the deli is set up. For more information, call 316-315-0370.

Free hummus on ‘Hummus Mondays’

You thought it was just Monday? No, my food friends. It’s HUMMMUS MONDAY.

N&J Mediterranean Cuisine, the excellent Mediterranean restaurant at 5600 E. Lincoln, has started a new special, the details of which are posted on the door of the restaurant. Customers can get a free individual serving of hummus with any food purchase from the menu on Mondays. The offer is good for dine in or carry out.

I’ve always loved this restaurant’s hummus, which tastes extra good scooped up with the fried pita chips it serves in plenitude.

Other great dishes to eat along with your hummus at N&J: the gyro platter, falafel sandwich and chicken hummus schwarma. Yum.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 316-681-3975.

Just opened: Olives & Pitas

For a long time, Syed Jillani has talked about putting in a new restaurant in the space at 756 N. Tyler adjacent to his fabulous Indian place, Kababs. It formerly held Red Mesa (may it and its amazing salsa and cilantro pesto enchiladas rest in peace) and anyone who visited Kebabs and needed to use the restroom traipsed through it on the way.

Last week, he opened Olives & Pitas in the space. (As my friend, Katie, said, “Now we finally know what the … meant after Kababs. Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa)

It’s a Mediterranean restaurant that features various chef stations where customers can choose toppings for their shwarma or flatbread pizzas. The menu, which also includes items such as sandwiches, salads and hummus, can be seen here.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-351-7709.

Holy land Mediterranean Grill is closed

I’ve been hearing rumors about trouble at Holy land Mediterranean Grill, the Mediterranean restaurant that opened in August at 217 E. Douglas, and apparently, they’re true.

The restaurant shut down a few days ago.

Add it to the ever-growing list of short-lived restaurants in the space. I’ve wondered for years what plagues this building, which can’t seem to keep a tenant for more than a few months. I’m persuaded it’s a combination of the lack of parking and the one-way streets that line all sides of it, making it nearly impossible to double-back if you see a parking space on the other side of the street. In recent years, it’s also been the brief home of restaurants such as  DK Kitchen, Thai Kitchen, Bamboo House and Coli.

I reached someone at Athena Jewelry next door (owner Sophokles “Steve” Anthimedes also owns and leases the Holy land space) and was told there’s no new tenant lined up yet.

We’ll have to get our garlic baths elsewhere now.

Zaytun adds pizza and other Indo-Pak deliciousness

Zaytun, the fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant at 2020 N. Woodlwan, has recently updated its menu.

When he called to tell me he was going to open on Christmas Day, owner Syed Abbas also told me about the many additions to his lunch and dinner menu. You can view the menu here. The new items are in bold.

Abbas is particularly excited about the addition of some Mediterranean pizzas, which he cooks in a brick pizza oven left behind by the building’s previous tenant. They’re unlike a typical pizza, he said, and their descriptions support that claim. I’ll take the Spicy Seekh Kabab pizza, which is topped with cilantro chutney, green chili, onion and mozzarella cheese.

He’s also added a Tandoori chicken dish and several vegetarian selections, and Abbas enthusiastically recommended his new rib eye steak, which is charbroiled and served with charbroiled steak with rosemary garlic potato and pomegranate mushroom sauce.

One other change: Zaytun now allows lunch customers to order a la carte from the menu or choose the always-different Indo-Pak lunch buffet.

Zaytun is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays for lunch. Dinner is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Abbas also offers an elaborate Pakistani brunch from 11 to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Call 316-613-2474 for more information.

Winner, winner, Lebanese dinner

St. George's, home of this weekend's big Lebanese dinner.

Thanks to the 33 people who competed to win the tickets to this weekend’s St. George’s 78th Annual Lebanese Dinner and Food Sale. I drew a winner at random (using this cool find-a-winner-at-random website), and it was Victoria Nguyen, who was very excited and said she’s always wanted to attend the dinner.

I thought I’d use this opportunity to share with you a couple of the other pretty pictures I took when out interviewing the St. George folks earlier this week.

Volunteer Freeda David prepared a whole bunch of butter for clarifying. Being around all that butter made me a little dizzy with excitement.

I wish I could adequately describe how good this pool of clarifying butter smelled. Has anyone thought of filling a hot tub with this stuff?

Here’s a closeup of the delicious stuffed cabbage leaves that are included in the dinner. They’re filled with a magnificent mixture of meat and rice.

Very few foods make me happier than kibbe. I even like to say the name. Kibbe. Kibbe. Kibbe.

Would you just look at all those sweet baklawa layers?

You have my permission to download this and use it as your wallpaper.

Confession: Given the opportunity, I could eat all this baklawa by myself.

Question of the week: Who makes the best hummus?

All this Lebanese dinner talk has me craving kibbe and hummus and fattouch. In fact, I had to dash in to La Galette this afternoon to grab their fattouch, which is topped with the most amazing and fabulous pink-hued dressing.

But in Wichita — which is quite possibly the Lebanese cuisine capitol of THE COUNTRY — hummus is probably the star.

Local restaurants all do their hummus a little differently. Some is more creamy. Some is topped with pine nuts. Some is sprinkled with delightfully crunchy whole chickpeas.

In your opinion, which local restaurant serves the best hummus? And what do you like about it? Answer in the comments section below.

Win two tickets to St. George’s Lebanese dinner

I'm not sure how the St. George cooks are controlling themselves around these trays and trays and trays of baklawa.

For this Friday’s Go! section, I’m writing about the annual St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral’s Lebanese dinner, which happens Saturday and Sunday. This is the 78th year for the dinner, which offers hungry customers plates (or to-go boxes) of cabbage rolls, kibbe, a rice and green bean dish called ruz and yuknee, salad, pita bread and a serving of sweet, sticky backlawa (the Lebanese version of the Greek’s baklava.)

The organizers were kind enough to offer us two tickets to give away to readers. They’re worth $16 each.

Want them? Comment on this blog post and tell me what Mediterranean dish or local Mediterranean restaurant is your favorite. Tomorrow, I’ll draw randomly for a winner from the comments section. Make sure your  e-mail address is up-to-date on your registration because that’s how I’ll let you know you’ve won.