Category Archives: Steak

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill opens Monday

Monday is opening day for the new Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

The Charlotte, N.C.,- based restaurant chain, started by Wichitan and Lone Star Steakhouse founder Dennis Thompson and some partners, will open for business at 11 a.m. Monday at the Waterfront, 10096 E. 13th St. N.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill opens on Monday.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Wichita’s Firebirds is the 26th to open.

The menu features items such as slow roasted Prime Rib, a BLT salad, wood grilled salmon, lobster spinach queso and creme brulee cheesecake. Firebirds also has a happy hour special that offers half-price drink specials and appetizers at the bar and outdoor patio from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

For more information and to see a menu, visit the Firebirds website. 

Firebirds opens in 27 days… and counting

If you’ve been out to the Waterfront at 13th and Webb lately, you might have noticed the fancy new restaurant that’s almost finished.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill will, according to the countdown clock on its website, open in 27 days, which by my calculations is Monday, Oct. 7.

The restaurant chain was started Wichitan and Lone Star Steakhouse founder Dennis Thompson and some partners, and it will serve steaks and other wood-fired dishes such as fish, seafood, chicken, burgers. I’m particularly interested in the lobster spinach queso and crab cake salad I saw listed on the online menu.

Firebirds will be open for both lunch and dinner.

Texas Roadhouse’s addition meant to cut down on the wait

The Texas Roadhouse wait staff will dance while you dine.

That Texas Roadhouse amazes me. I’m almost certain that there has not been a moment since the restaurant opened in 2005 that it hasn’t had a line of people waiting for a table.

It might be the steak. It might be the line dancing wait staff. It might be the permission to throw peanut shells on the floor.

It’s probably the yeast rolls they serve before the meal.

Whatever it is, the Texas Roadhouse at 6707 W. Kellogg took steps last weekend to cut back on that wait, though a manager admits that the plan has failed so far.

The restaurant just opened a new addition on its east side that provides for about 50 more seats. The addition was meant to help with wait times, which on weekends can top out at two hours, and to give the restaurant the possibility of having a private banquet room. But over the weekend, the waits were no shorter, and the addition was filled up. See? Amazing.

For now, the addition is open Thursday through Sunday evenings. Managers say they’ll likely open it nightly starting in a few weeks.

As for those waits, customers are advised to employ the restaurant’s call ahead seating. Those who want to eat at 7 p.m., for example, can call 316- 943-8722  and put their name on the list at 5:30 on a weekend night. By the time they arrive, the wait should be minutes rather than hours.

Two downtown restaurant closings

 Two downtown restaurants have recently closed their doors.

One is Air Capital Steak House, the restaurant that Matthew Carr opened in late March the former Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill spot at 233 N. Mosley. The business started off with a string of bad luck, he said, including a deadly shooting on the doorstep on opening day. Despite good reviews from customers, it never really recovered, he said. Carr closed the doors a little more than a week ago and now is looking for other opportunities.

“I still love the Old Town district,” he said. “I’m still a big believer in it.”

About the same time, Josh and Bri Sams closed their Hamburger Hero, the burger restaurant they’d relocated from Park City to 221 S. Broadway in December.

 The restaurant, which had developed a following for its delicious burgers and fresh-cut fries, faced a few tough business breaks, said Petroleum Building owner Kyle Hughes, who said he was sorry to see the restaurant go. “It’s sad  because it was awesome,” he said. “They had a great following. People were coming from all over.”

Hughes is looking for another restaurant to put in the space and says he already has one lead. He promises to let me know when he has something firm lined up.

Fine dining nearby: El Dorado Chop House

A dish from the new El Dorado Chop House

El Dorado, the community 30 miles northeast of Wichita, has a new fine dining restaurant.

El Dorado Chop House opened last week in a building at 2529 W. Central, which sits in front of the Best Western Hotel. The building previously housed Double D’s Family Restaurant.

Owner David Key, who also owns the Huddle House in El Dorado, remodeled the restaurant, adding booths and linen-covered tables, a glowing bar and more. He hired executive chef Owen Moore, who grew up in the area but worked at Vail Resorts in Colorado.

The menu is a mix of appetizers, salads, pastas and entrees such as steaks, pork chops, chicken and more.

The interior of the El Dorado Chop House

Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant takes reservations and can be reached by calling 316-452-5004.

Is Doc’s Steak House haunted? Local blogger thinks so

Late last night, when my house was all dark and the weird, shifty noises that come along with a 100-plus-year-old house started, I came across this very scary restaurant video.

It was made by local foodie Tony Brueski, an afternoon disc jockey at KFDI, who also runs a pretty schmancy food blog called NewTasteToday.com.

The video focuses on Doc’s Steak House at 1515 N. Broadway, one of Wichita’s oldest restaurants. It opened in 1952 and is famous for its garlic salad. In the video, Brueski interviews Doc Steak House’s current owner, Brian Scott, grandson of founder Louis Scott. Last year, Scott took over the restaurant and remodeled and revamped it.

Tony Brueski

He and Brueski have decided, it seems, that the strange shadows and weird noises Scott occasionally hears while he’s alone in the restaurant might JUST be coming from the ghost of his grandfather, who apparently likes to smoke under the creepy staircase in the creepy basement.

Brueski is hoping to make a whole web series of videos about haunted restaurants, which he’ll call “Haunted Restaurants: Back for Seconds.”

“I have a passion for both food and ghosts, so this brings it all together,” Brueski told me.

He also has a fun video about the unhaunted Wichita Food Truck, The Flying Stove, on his blog.

Check both the videos out, but I’d advise doing so during the day.

Air Capital Grill’s rocky start

Matthew Carr opened his Air Capital Grill  on a Tuesday and was looking forward to a strong first weekend of business.

He didn’t get it. Carr, whose restaurant is in the former Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill space at 233 N. Mosley, instead spent his first Saturday inaccessible to customers. A deadly shooting the night before happened just in front of his restaurant, he said, and the whole area was blocked off with crime scene tape as investigators worked through the day on Saturday.

“It was just an unfortunate scenario,” Carr said.

But the restaurant has made a nice recovery over the past several weeks, Carr said. It specializes in steaks, pastas, salads, sandwiches and burgers and already has a steady stream of regulars. A Sunday morning brunch buffet has been popular, too.

Air Capital Grill’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-262-2472

Texas Roadhouse employs a top chopper, plans addition

Lorenzo Martinez, a champion chopper at Texas Roadhouse

Maybe, just maybe, those neverending, never shortening lines at Wichita’s Texas Roadhouse, 6707 W. Kellogg, are all attributed to the restaurant’s exceptional butchering.

Lorenzo Martinez, a seven-year employee of Wichita’s Texas Roadhouse, has qualified for the semi-finals of the Texas Roadhouse National Meat Cutting Challenge, scheduled for March 21 in Salt Lake City. Eight of the 25 semifinalists will advance to the finals, which will be in April in Florida, and will compete for a grand prize of $20,000 and the title “Meat Cutter of the Year.”

Martinez, a single dad of three kids, is one of the most important people working at the popular Wichita Texas Roadhouse, said kitchen manager Kyle Hauber. A wizard with a knife, he cuts between 300 and 700 pounds of meat on a typical day. He hand cuts every steak served at the restaurant and spends seven or eight hours a day working in the 35-degree walk-in cooler.

“He makes us really successful,” Hauber said.

During the contest, the meat cutters compete in a timed “cut-off,” where they must carve a 30 to 40 pound piece of beef consisting of two sirloins, one filet and one ribeye. They’re judged on quality, yield and speed. More than 200 choppers started in the competition. This is the furthest a Wichita employee ever has made it in the competition, Hauber said.

While I had Hauber on the phone, I quizzed him about the never-fading popularity of his restaurant, which consistently has long lines even though it opened more than seven years ago. I asked him a question he gets a lot: Will Texas Roadhouse add an east-side restaurant?

The answer is no, he said. The local franchisee likes the mystique of having just one of the popular restaurants in Wichita. Instead, of adding a second location, the restaurant keeps adding space on to accomodate crowds. An addition that allowed for about 50 more seats went up in the summer of 2010, and this summer, the restaurant will add even more space onto the east side of the building, allowing for another 50 seats.

I’ll let you know how Martinez does in March.

Now open: LongHorn Steakhouse

Lobster and steak: Two great tastes that taste great together.

Another restaurant that opened while I was off work: Wichita’s new LongHorn Steakhouse.

The restaurant officially opened on Dec. 19 at 2720 N. Maize Road, just across the street from the Target at New Market Square.

LongHorn is an Orlando-based chain that specializes in steaks, seafood, ribs and chops and is open for lunch and dinner. The timing of the opening is good for Wichita: LongHorn is in the middle of a promotion offering some pretty sinful looking stuffed filets. One is stuffed full of lobster, and another oozes cheddar and bacon. You can stuff yourself on the stuffed steaks through Feb. 2.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 316-722-3313.

Chapada Chophouse and Churrascaria opening today

I think Chapada's new sign is quite impressive.

The new Chapada Chophouse and Churrascaria is officially opening today in the former Ted’s Montana Grill space at 2142 N. Tyler.

The restaurant, which will specialize in grilled meats shaved tableside, Brazilian “churrascaria” style, will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. For now, the churrascaria meats will be served only after 4 p.m., though managers may reevaluate that later, depending on how it goes over.

Take a look at the full menu here. It’s pretty interesting, and although I’m excited to go Brazilian, a lot of the “chophouse” dishes look pretty interesting, too, including several reasonably priced steaks, a lavosh pesto pie, a chicken and sausage sandwich and more.

For more information, call 316-201-4694.