Update on The Anchor’s hours, menu, remodel plans

The Achor's door announces its intermediate intentions.

I sat down for a chit-chat this morning with Anchor owner Schane Gross and her new chef, Doug Pitts, to talk about the changes underway at the bar and restaurant at 1109 E. Douglas. More changes are coming.

Here’s a breakdown:

Hours: As Gross and Pitts work to resolve service issues and decide what they want The Anchor to be, they’ve temporarily altered the hours. They had been closed on Mondays and Sundays, but now, they’ve reopened on Mondays. Sunday hours will return eventually, and Pitts will serve a Sunday-only brunch. Look for that in the next six weeks or so.

Menu: Several weeks ago, Gross and Pitts streamlined the previous menu, keeping customer favorites and eliminating what they described as “redundancy.” The current menu has about 30 items — appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, salads and other favorites. On June 27, Pitts will add daily dinner items to the menu, including a steak frites. He also will add several items to the core menu and will begin offering a streamlined after-10 p.m. bar menu, which will feature appetizers and a couple of burgers. Gross and Pitts also are trying to focus on more local, seasonal ingredients and have begun offering products from Yoder Meats.

Remodel: Gross says she finally has bids and is working on getting the banks lined up so she can break ground on her remodel. She’s changed her plans from when she originally announced last year. The wall separating her two dining rooms will remain, she said. The west side of the restaurant will lose its bar and serve exclusively as a dining room. The east side will be the bar area. Though she doesn’t have specific dates yet, Gross hopes the remodel will be underway before summer’s over. She still plans to annex the space just east of the building for a banquet hall.

Gross said she’s send me the completed menu in the next couple of days, and I’ll post it then.

Cooking with chefs

Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder, center, will teach a cooking class later this month at Cooking at Bonnie's Place. He's pictured here in his restaurant, Bella Vita Bistro, with his co-owners, including his mother-in-law Lory Wooley, left, and his wife, Crystal Prud Homme DeLodder.

Bonnie Aeschliman continues to attract some of Wichita’s most interesting chefs to her Cooking At Bonnie’s Place, a cooking school at 9747 E. 21st St. N.

This month, she’ll have three notable chefs teaching three interesting classes.

On April 12, Chef Douglas Pitts — most recently of Press — will teach a class called “Celebrate Spring Asparagus.” Even if you’re not a huge fan of that particular veggie, if anyone can make asparagus taste great in all kinds of different ways, it’s Chef Pitts. The class is at 6:30 p.m. and is $45.

Then, on April 19, Chef Peter Moretti, who’s the chief of all things culinary at the Corporate Hills Marriott, will demonstrate how to make hors d’oeuvres and party foods, and Bonnie says this particular class is a very good one. It’ll be at 6:30 p.m., and is $45 a person.

On April 26, Chef Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder of Bella Vita Bistro will lead his first-ever class at Bonnie’s. He’ll be demonstrating several Italian-influenced dishes, including cannelloni. It’s at 6:30 p.m. and is $45.

Interested aspiring chefs should reserve a spot soon either on the Cooking at Bonnie’s website or by calling 316-425-5224.

Can I please get credit, by the way, for spelling Aeschliman, hors d’oeuvres AND Prud Homme DeLodder in this post? Please?

Pitts out at Press; Harvest has new chef

Chef Douglas Pitts, whose resume includes a long list of Wichita restaurants, has left his job at Press at 1720 N. Webb Road.

Pitts opened the restaurant and cocktail lounge with Oeno/Uptown Bistro/Sabor owner Melad Stephan in November. He notified me today that he’d left Press but didn’t want to elaborate.

I’ve got a call into Stephan, so I’ll report what I find out about his search for a new chef.


Speaking of the Chef Shuffle, popular local chef David Wirebaugh, who was always good for a local cookoff, has left Wichita’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar in the Hyatt to open a new restaurant called Q Restaurant at the Hyatt in San Antonio.

His replacement is new executive chef Paul Freimuth, who previously worked as the executive sous chef at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.

The rest of Press

Press, the month-old cocktail lounge and restaurant in the old Sabor space at 1720 N. Webb Road, is getting started on one of its promises — to put on regular wine tastings and wine dinners.

Two are scheduled for this month. On Jan.20, the 12/12 dinner will feature 12 wines to sample and a tapas buffet. Admission is $25 a person.

Then, on Jan. 27, Press will put on the St. Hallett Winemaker wine dinner, featuring a four-course meal from chef Douglas Pitts, including a tuna tartar and a lamb shoulder entree. The dinner is $50 a person.

Credit card reservation are required at 316-558-5855.

Run, Chef, run

101010pittsHe has about three weeks until his new employer opens Press, a cocktail lounge planned for the old Sabor space at 1720 N. Webb Road. So how is chef Douglas Pitts occupying himself in the meantime? By running marathons, apparently.

My photo friend Jaime Green snagged this shot of Pitts finishing the Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon the weekend before last.

That’s 26.2 miles, people.

A quick check of the results page shows that Pitts finished the race in 3 hours and 20 minutes, making him the 31st runner (out of 551) to cross the finish line. Not too shabby.

A man of many talents, and apparently one who will not have to worry about all that butter, cream and puff pastry sampling he’ll be required to do.

Press pockets Pitts

Chef Douglas Pitts

Chef Douglas Pitts

A pretty building and a talented chef both will get new dining life next month when Melad Stephan opens his new cocktail lounge, now called Press.

The pretty building is the Waterfront space at 1720 N. Webb Road that first housed Piztros and then became an east-side Sabor. That Sabor closed in February, but Stephan has a new idea for the space — a cocktail lounge that he originally planned to call D’Vine but now has decided to call Press. As in wine and vodka press.

And now comes word from Melad and Co. that they’ve hired a leader for the Press kitchen — chef Douglas Pitts, who opened 626 Douglas when he first moved to Wichita in 2004 then worked as a chef at Chester’s, Bella Donna and his recently closed downtown lunch spot, DK Kitchen. Pitts will prepare tapas, and the menu at Press also will include all kinds of unique cocktails, Stephan says. Pitts also plans to put on weekly wine dinners.

Remodeling on the space has just started, and Stephan (who also owns Uptown Bistro, Oeno, Sabor in Old Town Square, and Egg Cetera) hopes to have it open by mid-October.