The Hill Bar & Grill has wine on tap

I’ve been to The Hill Bar & Grill, the new restaurant at 4800 E. Douglas opened by Mike”s Wine Dive owners, brothers Brad and Brent Steven, a couple of times — and I like it. I particularly like the restaurant’s wedge salad, which is topped with some of best bacon and dressing I’ve ever had.

And the restaurant recently added something I also like — wine on tap. The Hill serves two wines, both a red and a white, from a tap system, sort of like beer. It’s not carbonated, but the wine comes is dispensed from a keg like beer is, meaning that each glass is fresh and hasn’t been exposed to air at all. (They also serve a couple of wines from bottles.)

Wine from a tap is new for Wichita. It’s popular on the west coast, but only The Hill and Chester’s Chophouse do it locally. It’s expensive to set the system up, Brad said, and it also takes up a lot of prime bar real estate. But it’s worth it on many levels, he said, including that it’s more earth friendly because there’s no bottle or container waste.

So far, Brad said, his customers are loving the wine, which costs $7 a glass. The white is a Riesling/Chardonnay blend, and the red is a Merlot/Cabernet/Shiraz blend.

“I love it so much, I wish I could set it up in my house,” he said.

The Hill is open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Next week’s menu: Burgers, bottles and Bloody Marys

A cool shot I grabbed of my girls and me at Saturday's Midwest Winefest. Can you tell which one is me? We're like the Charlie's Angels of wine.

I’ve just now, at 3 p.m. on Monday, recovered from Saturday night’s Winefest enough to tell you a little bit about some more adult beverage-based events coming up next week.

I didn’t get too crazy at the Winefest, mind you. But the trip across the street to hang out at the bar of AVI probably was the opposite of what my group needed. (Amiright, Ben Arnold?) At least we were on foot!

The Winefest is one of my favorite food and beverage events of the year, and I never fail to have a great time. One of the highlights of this year’s events for me: The Dillon’s Marketplace booth, which was set up with a whole array of fabulous cheeses from the fancy Dillon’s cheese case. I sampled Merlot-flavored cheese, espresso-flavored cheese and raspberry-flavored cheese. The table also offered piles and piles of shaved Parmesan, which is only one of my favorite things on earth to nibble with wine.

And only two tables away, one of the vendors was serving up samples of Kim Crawford, one of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs. At some point, the kind pourer at the table wondered if we had sampled it enough to have decided whether we liked it. Woops.

Two more fun food and beverage events are coming up soon.

One is called Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys and doubles as Botanica’s 25th Anniversary Kick-Off Party. The event will include a beer tasting by River City Brewery and a Bloody Mary competition among local bars and restaurants such as The Anchor, The Candle Club, Heroes, A.V.I., Newport Grill, Scotch & Sirloin and The Vagabond. The event also will feature food by The Flying Stove and music by Spirit of the Stairs. It’s at 6:30 p.m. on May 4, and tickets are $40 a person. Make your reservations here.

Chester’s Chophouse chef Bobby Lane is putting on a VinoBurger Cookbook tasting event at 6:30 p.m. on May 1. The event will be on Chester’s patio and is $40 a person. Lane will prepare two burgers of his own as well as two from the VinoBurger cookbook. The event includes five wine and four burger samples. RSVPs must be e-mailed to

Nine restaurants shared recipes for “official” Wichita cookbook

If you’ve lived in Wichita for very long, you’ve either sampled or cooked a recipe from the Junior League’s popular and well-circulated 1995 cookbook, “Women of Great Taste. It has a picture of the Mona Lisa spearing a tomato with a fork on the cover and many very good recipes inside.

Now, the Junior League has a new cookbook out. It’s called “Pinches & Dashes: Recipes & Life Measures” and includes recipes for everything from special-occasion dinners to fast weeknight meals.

The formerly most popular Wichita cookbook

It also includes recipes provided by nine local restaurants: Caffe Moderne, Chester’s Chophouse, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Newport Grill, Luca Italian Kitchen, River City Brewery, Sabor, Watermark Books & Café and YaYa’s EuroBistro.

The book is $28.95 and is available at places such as Watermark Books and The Plaid Giraffe or online at Proceeds will go toward organizations that combat child abuse.

And get this — Mayor Carl Brewer has named the book the official cookbook of Wichita. This is a relief to me because I have always wondered what our city’s official cookbook was.

Celebrity sighting at Chester’s Chophouse

Weston and Andrew Gough with House Speaker John Boehner at Chester's Chophouse this week.

I heard from my foodie friend Andrew Gough today, who sent photographic proof of the celebrity sighting he had at Monday night at Chester’s Chophouse.

I love celebrity sightings at Wichita restaurants. Usually, they involve aviator Harrison Ford, so this was a change of pace. Read on for Andrew’s account:

” Monday night, my wife, son Weston, and I met my mother and some other relatives for dinner at Chester’s Chophouse. After eating a great meal (scallops), I went searching for my 10-month old son, who was wandering the restaurant with my aunt.

I happened to glance outside onto the patio, and was surprised to see Speaker of the House John Boehner sitting outside with some other guests.  Not long afterward, Speaker Boehner came inside the restaurant with his posse, security and all, to enjoy dinner in the table directly behind me.  So I, being an outgoing kind of guy, scooted my chair back while holding my son, and asked to have a photo, which he politely said yes.

When asked what brought him to Wichita, Mr. Boehner replied simply, ‘I’m here for some events.’ I was later told that he was in town for a fundraiser, which I’ve yet to find any info on.  While I may not completely agree with Mr. Boehner’s ideals, it’s still pretty cool to meet someone of such notoriety and fame.  But more interestingly, as I showed off the photo to friends and colleagues, most had no clue who he was!  I guess it’s good to find people that are still oblivious to what’s going on in Washington. I only wish I was.”

Good eats at Winefest

I love Winefest. I love it so much. Look how much fun I had there last year with my friends Kim and Jill. We ate at least a pound of sushi-style ahi tuna, learned that we love SeaGlass Sauvignon Blanc,  hobnobbed with Guy Bower and Brett Harris, and went out to Chester’s for Tumbleweeds when it was all over. Ahhhh. Good times.

This year, I can’t go because I’m otherwise engaged, and I’m very unhappy about missing it. This is one fun event.

You can read my story about the Grand Tasting online tomorrow and in the Go! section on Friday, but in the meantime, I have a list of all the restaurants that will be at Saturday night’s Grand Tasting and what delicious bites they’ll be serving. Organizers secured 14 restaurants this year, including a few new ones — Newport Grill and Gaslamp Grille among them.

Tell me how it is if you go. Sniff. Sniff sniff.

Read More »

NPR reads Dining with Denise

Or they found it on Google. Either way!!!!

I got an e-mail over the weekend from Chef Bobby Lane of Chester’s Chophouse, who told me that he was contacted last week by NPR for an interview. Producers told him that they’d read on my blog that he’d closed his restaurant because of snow and wanted to interview him for a piece on business lost because of weather.

You can listen to Bobby’s interview with Neal Conan on “Talk of the Nation” here.

“I was very surprised about the coverage,” Bobby said in his e-mail to me. “I got 10 or 12 calls from people who heard the broadcast and several customers said they heard it also. Nice to know the big shots in DC are reading your blog!”

Dinner at Chester’s, by the book

Chester’s Chophouse Chef Bobby Lane is planning monthly Sunday night three-course suppers inspired by his favorite cookbooks.

Diners will leave with the recipes used from the evening and can assemble their own cookbooks by year’s end.

Dinners are $35 a person or an additional $12 for those who want wine paired with the food.

The first dinner is at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 and will feature recipes from Chef Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” cookbook.

Chef Bobby Lane

On Feb. 27, Chef Eric Ripert’s “On the Line” cookbook will be the supper focus, and March 20’s dinner will feature recipes from Chef Suzanne Goin’s “Sunday Suppers at Lucques.”

Reservations are mandatory and can be made by calling 316-201-1300.

A very, very good cause


Next month’s TnT benefit, which will feature a Sunday afternoon wine tasting at Chester’s Chophouse followed by a charity golf tournament the next day, is being put on for a very good cause.

Friends of Jamie and Ashle Stratton, whose 3-year-old son Tripp, was diagnosed this spring with stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, organized the benefit to help the couple pay for trips to New York City, where Tripp is getting treatment from leading Neuroblastoma specialists.

Funds also will help continue therapy for his twin sister, Trinity. The twins were born at 23 weeks and given little chance of survival. Trinity has quadriplegia cerebral palsy and participates in weekly sessions of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and hippotherapy.

Both Ashle and Jamie are fixtures on Wichita’s food scene — he’s Jacob Liquor’s wine director, she does public relations for Cocoa Dolce and has organized past year’s Cuisine for the Cure fundraisers. They also were co-owners of Caffe Posto.

The food portion of the fundraiser is from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17 at Chester’s Chophouse and will feature food by chef Bobby Lane, chocolates by Cocoa Dolce, samplings of world class wine and a silent and live auction.

Tickets are $100 a person. For ticket info and for more information on the Oct. 18 golf tournament, visit the fundraiser’s nifty looking web site.

Wine winners

FOOD WBS-UNCORKED TBTwo local restaurants have gotten word this week of some vino victories, and they want local wine enthusiasts to know about them.

One is Chester’s Chophouse, the fine dining restaurant at 1550 N. Webb Road, which has been granted Wine Spectator magazine’s Award of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year. Chester’s is the only restaurant in Wichita and one of only seven in Kansas to earn the distinction, which will be noted in the Aug. 31 issue of the magazine.

The other is Yia Yia’s Eurobistro, 8115 E. 21st St. N., which now has four certified sommeliers on staff. Yannic Dozier, Alicia Elleman and Brian McIntosh, all in their 20s, trained with Yia Yia’s resident sommelier John Michael, took an intensive two-day course then passed a rigorous exam earlier this month.

Bottoms up!

Summer raw bar

MBRChester’s Chophouse, the gourmet-est of gourmet restaurants in Wichita (at 1550 N. Webb Road), is offering a unique feature for summer — a raw bar.

What’s a raw bar, you ask? It’s an uncommon Wichita offering — a buffet of raw oysters served over ice.

Chester’s bar will feature four different kinds of fresh shucked oysters served with cocktail and mignonette sauces. Customers can get ½ dozen or full dozen and can mix and match to get a perspective on oysters from different waters.

Chester’s also will offer some cooked seafood specialties for summer, including oyster pan stew, New England Clam Chowder and fried oysters, as well as cold offerings such mini shrimp ceviche tacos, cold smoked salmon and Maine lobster rolls.

For more information, call 316-201-1300.

Follow the link to see details and prices on the summer offerings. Read More »