Freebirds: Review and awesome kids deal

My review of Freebirds, the new build-your-own burrito spot at Central and Hillside, is online today and will be in the paper on Friday.

I liked it, but it’s no Chipotle, in my opinion. Still, Freebirds does have a great deal that parents should know about: Kids 12 and under eat free from the kids menu at Freebirds when they dine in all day on Mondays and Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult entree.

And these aren’t wimpy littie kids meals, either. Little ones can order substantial and tasty quesadillas, chicken or plan, and even can get a little burrito.
Read the review and see if you agree with my take.

Wichita’s Paneras candidates for drive-throughs

Drive through bagels? Brilliant.

I don’t often get an occasion to drive to Derby, but this might just change that.

I recently found out — thanks to my observant deskmate Annie Calovich –that the year-old Panera at 1500 N. Rock Road in Derby has a drive-through. Panera is one of those restaurants I’ve always thought needs a drive-through, along with Chipotle.

Derby’s drive-through was the first in Kansas and one of the first in the country. Managers say it has worked out well and made the restaurant pretty popular.

The news made me wonder of any Wichita Paneras were candidates for drive-throughs, and Eric Cole, the vice president of operations for the group that runs our local stores, said they were. Though he doesn’t have details or dates to share, he said that owners were “working on doing some retros in the Wichita market to make some stores in to drive-throughs.”

I’ll keep you updated when I found out more.

Now, let’s work on Chipotle.

Three new restaurants in six days

Bryce Kuhn, left, is the owner of the new Twelve Restaurant & Bar, and Patrick McMahon is the general manager.

Late June is seeing a flurry of new restaurants opening. Well, by flurry I mean three, but that’s a lot for a six-day span.

My story in today’s Go! section is about those new restaurants.

Freebirds World Burrito, a Chipotle-esque burrito place, opened Thursday at 410 N. Hillside.

Twelve Restaurant & Bar, a casual upscale spot owned by a veteran restaurant manager, opens Monday in the former Shorty Small’s location at 12111 W. Maple.

And Bud E. Roostersa chicken finger lover’s paradise, opens Tuesday in the former Go! Steaks spot next to Orange Leaf at 8918 W. 21st St.

Read all about it — then let me know if you try one of the new places.

Chipotle: Burritos for teachers, margaritas for all

Chipotle’s new Patron margarita

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Chipotle has added margaritas to its menu. Real margaritas. I approve.

The restaurant seems like an odd place to get a Patron margarita, but it’s nice to have options.

Chipotle started serving the margaritas on Monday, and they were kind enough to share the recipe, which you’ll find below.

Also, Chipotle is offering a buy-one-get-one deal for teachers. It’s good from 4 to close on Tuesday, May 7. Teachers with a faculty ID who buy one burrito, burrito bowl or order of tacos can get another free.

Wichita’s Chipotle restaurants are at 7130 W. Maple, 515 N. Hillside, 535 S. Rock Road, 3015 N. Rock Road and 2241 N. Maize Road.

Specials for costume wearers, voters

No sooner will Americans have recovered from the excitement of Halloween than they’ll head to the polls to elect a president.

They’re going to need fortification.

Luckily, several restaurants are offering food promotions in observation of the two big days.

On Halloween, Chipotle is putting on its Boorito promotion, which offers a $2 burrito, burrito bowl or order of tacos to anyone who comes in wearing a costume between 4 p.m. and close. Wichita has five Chipotles.

At Krispy Kreme, 7777 E. Central, customers who show up in costume on Halloween will get a free Halloween or pumpkin spice doughnut.

A few days later, Taco Bueno is putting on an event called “Guac the Vote.” Anyone who votes on Nov. 6 will be entitled to a free 2.5-oz. serving of guacamole and tortilla chips all day. No proof of voting is required. Taco Bueno is going to take your word for it. The event is designed to encourage voter turn-out, the company said. Wichita’s Taco Bueno restaurants are at 3530 N. Rock Road and 427 N. Hillside.

Two new restaurants for the west side

The west side has one new restaurant as of today and will get another one on Nov. 5.

Wichita’s newest Chipotle is officially opening today at Maple and Ridge. The restaurant took over the spot at 7130 W. Maple that once held Scrapbook Garden.

It’s Wichita’s fifth Chipotle, and it joins the restaurants at Kellogg and Rock, at 29th and Rock, at 21st and Maize and at Central and Hillside. Its hour are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and its phone number is 316-942-0263.

Another anticipated chain will open nearby on Nov. 5. Wichita’s first Mooyah, which will be operated by former KSN anchor Anthony Powell and his wife, is almost finished in the former Blockbuster spot at 352 S. West St.

There’s a Mooyah in Garden City that opened in May, and more are planned for the Wichita area. It specializes in burgers, fries and also has a long list of shakes, including chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter.

I called Powell this morning and interviewed him while he huffed and puffed on a stair master. He’s a health nut and said that Wichitans will be pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s turkey burger and veggie burger, which he said both are unusually delicious.

The restaurant also will have several flat screen television sets mounted, so customers have the option of eating quickly and leaving or staying for a while to linger over a shake, he said.

Mooyah’s hours will also be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

New Chipotle at Maple and Ridge has opening date

Wichita’s newest Chipotle at Maple and Ridge is almost finished, causing many burrito fans to ask me when it’s opening.

The answer: Oct. 23.

The restaurant is going into the spot at 7130 W. Maple that once held Scrapbook Garden. It will be Wichita’s fifth Chipotle, joining the restaurants at  Kellogg and Rock, at 29th and Rock, at 21st and Maize and at Central and Hillside.

Question of the week: Build your own?

A Chipotle order is a very personal thing.

Sometimes, I like to build my own meal. Chipotle is a good example. I know exactly what I want in my burrito or burrito bowl, and I know exactly how much of it I want.

Other times, build-your-own is too hard. For example, I want the fine folks at Picasso’s Pizzeria to tell me what to put on my slice. The list of ingredients all sound so good, but I’m not sure what would be best together.

Lots of restaurants in town offer customers the opportunity to build their own sandwiches, burgers, Mongolian grill creations and ice cream mixtures.

My question: Do you like this option? Do you use it? And in which restaurants have you best been able to master it?

Answer in the comments section below.

Wichita will get a fifth Chipotle this year

Big news for fans of big burritos: Chipotle, the build-your-own burrito restaurant that already has four Wichita stores, will open a fifth by the end of this year.

This one will be at  7130 W. Maple, the spot that previously held Scrapbook Garden. It’s in a strip center at the corner of Maple and Ridge that also has McAlister’s Deli.

Wichita already has four Chipotles: At Kellogg and Rock, at 29th and Rock, at 21st and Maize and at Central and Hillside.

The most relevent thing about this news: This will now be the Chipotle closest to my house. I’ll update you as more information develops.

Hey, that's a decent lunch bag!

In other Chiptole news, the restaurant chain is putting on an Earth-Day friendly promotion.

Through Saturday, customers can purchase reusable lunch bags from the restaurant’s online store, store.chipotle.com.

The bags are made from repurposed Chioptle billboards and ads and contain an ec0-friendly card redeemable for one free meal — a burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos — on Earth Day, which is April 22.

The bags are $18 each, and proceeds will benefit the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

Have a Halloween Boo-rito

You’ll need a base for all that Halloween candy, and Chipotle is offering a cheap way to get one — provided your costume is farm-friendly.

Customers who visit after 6 p.m. tonight dressed in a family-farm inspired costume can get a burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos for $2. Proceeds up to $1 million nationwide will go to Farm Aid and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

Diners also are invited to submit photos of themselves in costume at Chipotle for a chance to win $2,500. Cows and chickens and goats can upload their pictures at www.chipotle.com/boorito or text “COSTUME” to 888222.