When restaurants close on unexpected days

My Tho: Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

I spent weeks telling a friend how amazing the tacos were at Paleteria La Reyna, 2925 Arkansas Ave., and we made a date to go. We pulled up, hungry, on a Wednesday afternoon, only to find the parking lot empty.

Panicked, I ran to the door. The restaurant was closed. The chairs were on the tables. On a Wednesday. “OH NO!” I screamed. “They’ve gone out of business!!!”

But, no. The restaurant was simply closed. It’s closed every Wednesday, I learned.

Restaurants closing on unexpected days — which in my book is pretty much any day other than Sunday or Monday — have always thrown me. Inevitably, cravings for My Tho’s fabulous pho hit me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays — the very random days they are closed.

I’m printing a list of three restaurants with unusual closing hours in the paper on Friday, and the story already is generating discussion online, with several readers adding their two cents.

Here’s a list of strange closing days I have so far. Know of any others? Maybe we can help each other avoid Wednesday taco cravings.

1. My Tho, 500 E. Central, 316-262-5452: It never fails. A hankering for pho hits you on a Tuesday. But this popular purveyor of the delicious Vietnamese soup can’t help you on Tuesday – or on Wednesday, either. Those are the restaurant’s two days off. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays through Sundays.

2. Paleteria La Reyna, 2925 Arkansas, 316-831-9196: It’s usual for Mexican restaurants to close on Mondays. But this restaurant, known for its fabulous tacos and colorful Mexican ice cream counter, chooses to closes in the middle of the week – on Wednesday. Don’t worry. If you forget and show up anyway, Taqueria El Paisa is just a few blocks the other direction at 2227 Arkansas and an excellent choice, too. Paleteria La Reyna’s hours are 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

3. Garden Grill Cafe, 300 N Main St., 316-978-9213: You won’t want to plan to meet your friends for a fabulous vegetarian pizza on Saturdays at Garden Grill Cafe. It’s the only day of the week the cafe is closed, which chef/owner Miguel Larcher takes off for religions reasons. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

4. DeFazio’s, 2706 N. Amidon: This popular Italian restaurant closes on Mondays and Tuesdays.

5. Ah-So, 855 S. Oliver St: The tiny Asian restaurant is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Know of any others? Let me know in the comments section below.

Crossing one more off the list with dinner at Ming’s

Our Halloween crew at Ming's, which earned from me the hard-to-attain "Chop Suey Palace" award.

As I told readers of my live dining chat last week, I have a short list of Wichita restaurants that I desperately want to visit but for whatever reason never have. Interestingly, they’re all Asian.

One is Cafe Asia, which readers go on and on and on about. It’s at  6546 E. Central, in Normandy Center and apparently has some of the best food in town. I’ve also heard good things about Ah-So at 855 S. Oliver, which has been around forever and beckons to me. “Come to Ah-So. Come to Ah-So. Come to Ah-So” OKAY! I WILL! SOON!!!!

Last night, I finally marked one restaurant off my list. I’ve always been intrigued by the retro sign outside of Ming’s at 1625 S. Seneca. My friend and I took our children (all of us have “Little House on the Prairie” costumes) to Trick Or Treat Street at Wichita Children’s Theatre late Sunday afternoon and decided afterward that it would be fun to parade into a restaurant, 1800′s style. We were quite the spectacle (the owner asked us if we were Amish), but I digress.

The food was pretty good, but the atmosphere was great. Ming’s is the kind of place that’s been around forever. The decor is outdated in a good way, and the place quickly filled up with regulars on a Sunday night. It had that mystical quality I always look for in a Chinese restaurant in that it reminded me of the Chop Suey Palace from “A Christmas Story.”

I had some almond chicken, which was pretty good, and my little Laura Ingalls had some delicious pork pot stickers and a side of egg drop soup. My hot-and-sour was fabulous, and Kim (a.k.a. Miss Beadle) loved her dish, made with fried shrimp served atop a bed of sauced-up veggies.

We’ll be back. Next time without the costumes.