Cafe Comotara joins the breakfast crowd

Denise and Ben Arnold, owners of Corporate Caterers and restaurants such as Cafe Comotara and AVI.

Cafe Comotara, the restaurant Corporate Caterers’ Ben Arnold opened last summer in the former Chelsea’s space at 2949 N. Rock Road, started serving a pretty fabulous looking weekend breakfast menu earlier this month.

Arnold always planned to add breakfast to the offerings at the restaurant, which is open for Monday through Saturday lunch and rented out for private functions in the evening. Breakfast is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The lunch menu also is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. those days.

Bluebird Bistro Benny.

The menu, which you can see here, features Chef Adam Courtney’s Eggs Benedict, which I recently heard from a reader are some of the best she’s ever had. It includes several other interesting breakfast concoctions that are a step above the regular eggs/bacon/hashbrowns offered at many local breakfast spots.

If you keep scrolling down on the breakfast menu, you can see what Cafe Comotara has for lunch, too.

Speaking of breakfast, I was in Kansas City over the weekend and my sister took me to one of my favorite breakfast spots, the funky and fabulous Bluebird Bistro. Just thought I’d share a picture of the fabulous Eggs Benedict I ordered yesterday morning, made with pulled pork and polenta.

I ate it all.

A.V.I.’s official opening date: Nov. 21

A.V.I. Sea Bar & Chophouse, the restaurant that’s going into the newly remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel, has a pretty new sign — and an official opening date.

Owner Ben Arnold, who’s partnering with local chef Adam Courtney on the restaurant, told me yesterday that it will open on Nov. 21. Arnold has been waiting on an elevator from Canada that has been delayed, delayed and then delayed again. He’s decided to stop waiting and open, though the elevator is supposed to arrive in a couple of weeks.

Once open, A.V.I.’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant’s bar will be open later.

I peeked my head in while I was shooting the pic of the sign yesterday, and crews were busy finishing up the interior, which included muted, classy colors, a stone wall and a balcony overlooking the main dining room. I have plans to meet Arnold for a tour next week.

While you wait, feel free to study the menu. And check out the cool sign I shot a few weeks ago at the Broadview while hanging with the Democrats.The guy in the red coat is Courtney.

Dining dispatch from 29th & Rock

I drove out east today to check on Oh Yeah! China Bistro, the restaurant formerly known as Zen (and formerly known as vegetarian), and I was struck by how much restaurant activity is going on in the block of Rock between 29th and K-96.

Oh Yeah! opened at 3101 N. Rock Road with its new name and approach on May 15. The restaurant had operated as a vegetarian place for a couple of years, but the owners decided to put meat back on the menu and rename the place.

Across the street, a sign announces that El Agave will soon take over the space at 3320 N. Rock Road that most recently held Top China, a Chinese buffet place. El Agave will be a Mexican restaurant with a big tequila and margarita menu, and its owners hope to have it open later this summer.

A little further south, another sign announces that Wasabi, the sushi restaurant downtown at 912 E. Douglas, will open its east side location in the former Froz spot at 3242 N. Rock Road. Owners say it should be open in August.

And of course, right on the corner of 29th and Rock, Ben Arnold is busy working on his new breakfast-and-lunch spot in the former Chelsea’s space at 2949 N. Rock Road. He plans to open in July.

The new Noodles & Company is on that block, too, at 3300 N. Rock Road, and it’s always busy. And Amber Dunn just opened her Yogurt Xplosion yogurt shop at 3236 N. Rock Road.

That doesn’t even count the recently closed restaurants on the block, including the Bossa Grill at 3242 N. Rock Road and the Taco Tico at 3131 N. Rock Road. Wazabz Sushi Bar and Grill, which just opened in February at 3236 N. Rock Road, also is already closed.

The only restaurants on that block not hopping on merry-go-round, it appears, are Carlos O’ Kelly’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Buffalo Wild Wings,  Il Ponte, Jimmy John’s, and Jimmie’s Diner.

And Hooters.

Arnold to open former Chelsea’s space for lunch, breakfast

Ben Arnold

Ben Arnold is a busy guy.

The owner of Corporate Caterers, who set up shop  in the former Olive Tree banquet hall last spring, now is planning to open a lunch and breakfast spot in the adjoined former Chelsea’s space, which until recently was occupied by the Karma wellness studio.

By mid-July, he plans to start serving upscale daily lunches and weekend breakfast. He’ll also reopen Chelsea’s famous patio, which he plans to have covered.

In the evenings, he’ll use the space for private events that aren’t quite big enough to use the cavernous banquet spaces next door. He’s still working on a name for the new place.

In the meantime, Arnold is waiting for construction to start on A.V.I., the restaurant he and Jeremy Wade have planned for the new Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel.

Initially, he’d hoped it would open this month, but construction is behind, and crews won’t even start working on the restaurant for a couple of weeks.

Arnold says his expectations for A.V.I. have been scaled back a bit, mainly because he was not able to get the exterior entrance he was planning on. And hotel restaurants that don’t have exterior entrances famously get lost.  He will, however, have plentiful exterior signage for the restaurant, which will take up north end of the hotel facing Waco.

One point of contention Arnold did win: Initially, the hotel wanted to require restaurant patrons pay for parking, but Arnold managed to work out a deal for his customers to get free garage parking along with hotel and banquet guests.

The restaurant will be gorgeous, though, Arnold said, with a horseshoe bar that overlooks the dining room from upstairs. The kitchen, he noted, will be located directly below the swimming pool.

A.V.I. should open in late August or early September. He’s planning the opening to coincide with the hotel’s grand opening, which should happen 60 to 90 days after the hotel reopens. That tentative date is July 20.

Friday afternoon appetizers

Ben Arnold will open his Cafe 151 on Monday.

A few little restaurant tidbits that might interest you, in case you hadn’t heard.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries announced this week that it’s chosen Sept. 1 as an opening day for its downtown location, which will sit at the southwest corner of Douglas and Ida.

Cafe 151, owned by Ben Arnold of Corporate Caterers and chef Jeremy Wade, will open Monday in the former Piccadilly Express space at 151 N. Main. It’ll open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. serving breakfast and lunch, including hot and cold sandwiches and burgers.

Pita & Paninis, Roni Attari’s restaurant at 602 N. Tyler formerly known as Yuca, is closed, and Attari says he will focus on catering.

Taco’s a Cunadito is a new Mexican restaurant at 2247 N. Broadway with an apostrophe I don’t approve of but a menu that looks pretty good and includes tacos, burritos, tamales and more.

Pho Chopstix is the new restaurant in the former Chopstix space at 2233 N. Ridge Road. It specializes in pho and noodle dishes.

New restaurants in 2011

Chef Jeremy Wade will call his new downtown fine dining restaurant A.V.I.

The story I’ve written for this Friday’s Go! section is one of my favorite stories to write each year. It’s a list of all the restaurants we know about that will open in Wichita during the course of the year.

I discovered a lot of interesting things while reporting this one, including the fact that chef Jeremy Wade and his partner Ben Arnold have chosen a name for their fine-dining restaurant that will open in late May or early June in the newly renovated Broadview Hotel. They’re calling it A.V.I., and if you want to know why, read Carrie’s explanation.

I also learned from the local franchisee of Five Guys Burgers and Fries that the downtown plan is still on, though he can’t say exactly when or exactly where Wichita’s third Five Guys will open.

Take a look at my list and start thinking. The question of the day, which I’ll post this afternoon, deals with this very important topic.