Category Archives: Restaurant birthdays

Family-owned Taco Pronto turns 40

I love writing stories about restaurants celebrating big birthdays. I also love Taco Pronto — particularly its delicious taco burgers and out-of-this-world ice machine.

For this week’s Go! section, I’ve combined those two loves. Check out my story about Taco Pronto’s 40th. It also includes a video about the restaurant’s history and a story examining that ice machine awesomeness.

Taco Pronto, for the record, is a family-owned business with stores at Central and Ridge and 21st and Tyler.

Mooyah celebrating birthday with deals

Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of the opening of business for Mooyah, a burger restaurant at 352 S. West St., and it’s celebrating by offering food deals to customers.

All day on Tuesday, customers who buy one burger can get one free. Also, the first 111 customers in the door will each get a coupon for a free 12 oz. shake with purchase of burger and fries, valid on their next visit.

And those who visit the restaurant can enter a contest in which they write, in one sentence, the reason they are Mooyah’s No. 1 fan. The winner gets a $111 gift card.

For more information, contact Mooyah at 316-558-5600.

Connie’s Mexico Cafe turns 50

Three generations of the Connie’s crew, back in 1984

I love doing stories about restaurants celebrating big birthdays. They’re hard to keep alive, so I love seeing old photos of the early days and hearing all the good decisions made over the years to help the restaurant survive.

Usually, though, I’m writing about 20th and 30th birthdays. This week, I got to write about a 50th.

Connie’s Mexico Cafe turned 50 this month, and earlier this week, I sat down with the many, many women who have kept the family business thriving.

The restaurant truly has a colorful history, including three separate incidents of cars crashing through the front of the building after hours.

Check out my story, which will be printed in Friday’s paper. I have several great photos of founders Rafael and Connie Lopez back in the day, as well as a picture of the whole family when the Garcia girls were little.

Picasso’s: First birthday, new sign, free Chicken Poop

FINALLY! A sign. I’d say it was worth the wait.

Seems like just yesterday I was stalking the space at 621 W. Douglas, trying to get someone, ANYONE, to tell me about the pizza place that was under construction.

But that was an entire year ago, and now, I can’t imagine a life without Picasso’s Pizzeria in it.

The restaurant, which makes giant and fabulous slices with heavenly crust and magic sauce, turned 1 on March 5.

Picasso’s is celebrating now, with the addition of a new sign (previously, you had to rely on all five senses to locate the business along west Douglas). And on Monday, owner Kurt Schmidt — whose sister-in-law is Chicken Poop founder Jamie Tabor Schmidt — will distribute free tubes of Chicken Poop with each slice purchased, while supplies last.

Race you there.

For more information, call 3160-267-5423.

Margarita’s birthday present: A new patio

Margarita’s Cantina at 3109 E. Douglas turns 20 this month, and it’s treating itself to a new patio.

The restaurant first opened on July 23, 1992. Twenty years later, it’s known for its Saturday night parties featuring house band Lotus, its sour cream enchilada and its addicting chips and salsa.

Owner Don Overstake is waiting on approval from the city to put up an outdoor patio on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant that faces Douglas. He’s already ordered the wrought iron fencing, and his manager, Jen Mans, says the space will fit 10 to 15 tables. (Approval is taking a bit longer than normal because Margarita’s is in a historic building, she said.) Overstake hopes to have the patio ready by the end of July.

On the weekend of July 20th, the restaurant will celebrate with drink specials, giveaways and more.

For more information, call 316-682-2299.

Tanya’s planning a very puggy birthday

I can tell you one pug (Norton) who lives at my house who really wants to go to the Pug Brunch.

Can you believe it’s already been a year since Tanya’s Soup Kitchen reopened at 1725 E. Douglas?

This week, mistress of soup Tanya Tandoc will celebrate her restaurant’s first birthday (officially on Friday) with several days worth of activities, culminating in a PUG BRUNCH this Sunday.

The pug brunch, inspired by Tanya’s beloved pugs Olive and the late LuLu, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday on Tanya’s patio, which this week is being fitted with a new pergola. Humans pay $10 for food, which will include sandwiches, soups and a few breakfast items. Dog treats will be provided, too.

Pugs are particularly invited, but any friendly smaller-breed dog is welcome. Tanya’s husband, local musician Wayne Gottstine, will entertain on the patio outdoor and may be filming  a video of the event. Tanya is limiting the brunch to 40 pugs and 60 humans, so if you want to attend, make a reservation by calling 316-267-7687. (If the weather is iffy on Sunday morning, the Pug Brunch will be rescheduled for May.)

Other birthday activities Tanya has planned for the week: On Wednesday, she’ll start registering customers for two $100 gift cards she plans to give away during the brunch. On Friday evening, musicians Nikki Moddelmog and Curt Mitchell will perform and Tanya will be serving Indian food. On Saturday, she’ll offer birthday cake in the restaurant.

Slurpy Birthday to you, Tanya!

Old Mill Tasty Shop turns 80

Erna and Otto Oermke, Old Mill Tasty Shop's original owners.

I had fun this week writing my story about Old Mill Tasty Shop, a beloved  downtown restaurant that on Thursday will turn 80 years old.

Owner Mary Wright and her manager son Don sat down with me in one of the restaurant’s tiny but cozy booths to tell me everything they knew about the restaurant’s history and to show me a suitcase full of old black-and-white photos.

The restaurant is a true Wichita treasure. It was opened in 1932 by German immigrant Otto Woermke and his wife, Erna. The Wrights bought it after Otto died in 1981.

I particularly love the photo gallery of 31 pictures the Wrights and the Eagle photo staff helped me gather.

Happy Birthday, Old Mill. I and all your other green-chili, chicken-salad loving fans are glad you’ve made it this long.

Old Mill seeking Otto’s secret chili recipe

Wichita’s popular downtown restaurant Old Mill Tasty Shop at 604 E. Douglas is turning 80 on March 1. And there’s only one gift owner Mary Wright wants: Otto’s secret chili recipe.

Otto Wermke was the original owner of the restaurant, which has a soda fountain and a menu of diner favorites. He opened it on March 1, 1932. The Wrights bought the restaurant from Wermke’s sister in 1982.

Otto was famous for the chili he served at Old Mill, which he prepared in a copper pot heated on a candy cooker. Wright has been searching for the recipe in vain for years. She knows it’s out there somewhere. In fact, the late Esther Moses, who owned Sam Zelman’s Clothing Store next door, used to tease Wright that she had it, but she refused to give it up.

In honor of the restaurant’s birthday (which I’ll write about in next week’s Go! section), Wright is asking anyone who might have access to the recipe to share it. Wright said she used to eat it when she was little and remembers it having no beans and no tomatoes but a mix of fabulous spices and a whole lot of meat. If she can find the original recipe, she plans to mix up a batch and serve it.

Anyone with the recipe or a tip on where to find it should call Wright at 316-264-6500. You will be a local food hero, for sure.

Carlos O’ Kelly’s celebrates 30 with specials

Carlos O’ Kelly’s sure is excited about turning 30. I hate to disappoint you, Carlos, but I’ve done it, and it’s no big whoop. (Ha. Just kidding.)

The Mexican restaurant chain, whose headquarters are in Wichita, opened its first restaurant on Dec. 16, 1981, in Marion, Iowa.

Now, 30 years later, the chain has 41 restaurants, including four in Wichita.

To celebrate the big birthday on Friday, the restaurant is offering several specials.

One is a 7-pound “El Guapo” burrito available on Friday for $19.81. The burrito is big enough to feed many, but if two people can eat it in 30 minutes, they can have it for free. And they’ll get a T-shirt to mark the occasion.

Also, from Friday through Sunday, all Carlos O’Kelly’s will offer half-price house rocks margaritas.

Diners also can pay $19.81 and get one appetizer and two entrees from a special 1980s-decorated menu, recently introduced in honor of the big 3-0.

Wichita’s Carlos O’ Kelly’s are at 7703 E. Douglas, 527 S. Ridge Road Circle, 3025 N. Rock Road and 4872 S. Broadway.

Lotus Leaf turns 1, hires new chef

Lotus Leaf, the little creperie and healthy eating spot at 613 W. Douglas in Delano, turned 1 on Nov. 22. Around that same time, owner Jacquelyn Keefer hired a new executive chef. James Butler is gone, and in his place is Beau Franklin, a veteran of several Wichita kitchens, including Ya Ya’s, Oeno, Uptown Bistro and Sabor.

The two are working on additions to the menu, which is now a mix of crepes, salads and sandwiches. Within the next two weeks, they plan to add several dishes, including a Thai peanut curry bowl, a spicy turkey meatball crepe and a veggie burger on a vegan bun.

They’re also working on a little first birthday party. It’ll be staged from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday to coincide with the Christmas in Delano event, which will include a 5 p.m. clocktower lighting. During that time, Lotus Leaf will serve free carrot cake and appetizers to those who stop in.

For more information, call 316-295-4133.