Rita’s Italian Ice opens Monday with free ice for all

Just in time for the arrival of warmer weather, Wichita is getting a new frozen treat option: Italian ice.

Rita’s Italian Ice will open Monday at 2929 N. Rock Road, right next to Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and it’s inviting Wichita to enjoy a free regular-sized serving of Italian ice on both Monday and Tuesday. The shop will be open from noon to 10 p.m., which are its daily hours.

Mango is the most popular flavor at Rita's Italian Ice.

Mango is the most popular flavor at Rita’s Italian Ice.

Franchisee Jeff Miller, who along with his brother, Jay Miller, has all the Five Guys franchises in town, said that Italian ice is something most Wichitans probably aren’t familiar with.

“Italian ice is a new thing to the Midwest,” he said. “When people hear ice, everyone assumes it’s a Slushee or a Snow cone or shaved ice. But that doesn’t do justice to this product.”

Miller said Italian ice is so smooth, it has the texture of ice cream. The ice is infused with the flavors, and Rita’s has 65 different choices. They’ll have 12 available each day. He said his favorite is a dulce de leche that came out last year. The most popular is mango, and flavors such as banana, cheesecake, cherry and lime also will be available, as will be a few sugar-free options.

Rita’s also serves vanilla and chocolate frozen custard and other ice cream products. Miller said he’s hoping to eventually add Rita’s near all Wichita’s Five Guys.

For more information, call Rita’s at or check out the local Rita’s Facebook page.

Park City’s Hamburger Heroes relocating to downtown Wichita

The arrival of Five Guys was apparently only the beginning of the downtown burger invasion.

In a few weeks, owners of Park City’s Hamburger Heroes plan to move their business to downtown Wichita.

Josh Sams, who owns the almost 2-year-old business with his wife, Bri, closed the Park City store on Saturday and said  has signed a lease on a building on the southwest corner of Douglas and Broadway. He hopes to have the move complete within 30 days.

Sams, whose restaurant specializes in burgers and fresh-cut fries, said that he had a good lunch business in Park City but that his dinner crowd was too small. “I want to do the business all the way around,” he said.

Hamburger Heroes will be open for lunch and dinner and breakfast as well. The building has the option for both upstairs and downstairs seating, and the entry to the restaurant will face Broadway.

Old Town Five Guys will open on Monday

The new Old Town Five Guys Burgers and Fries will open at 10 a.m. on Monday, bringing a whole new level of caloric danger to my workplace.

The restaurant is at 1025 E. Douglas, just a few doors down from the Wichita Eagle. I drove by this morning on my way to work, and at least ten construction trucks were swarming the almost-completed building, and workers were frantically doing their thing.

Once open, the restaurant’s hours will be the same as the east and west locations: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The phone number at the new restaurant will be 316-295-2866.

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.

Question of the week

Five Guys. Two Brothers BBQ and Burger Grill. Fizz Burgers & Bottles. Smashburger. Burger Barn. T.J.’s east.

Hamburger places have been springing all over Wichita the past couple of years, and now we’ve learned that Mooyah, a Texas-based burger chain, plans to open a restaurant here by spring.

In your opinion, which of the newer burger places in Wichita is the best? Answer in the comments section below.

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.

Five Guys: Zagat’s best burger


Thanks to the attentive foodies who participate on my bi-weekly food chats, I found out that the results of Zagat’s 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey are in.

The big winners are all chains, of course, and Wichita has most of the big-winning chains, including Five Guys Burgers and Fries, who has the best fast-food burger, according to the poll.

They survey also found that Starbucks has the best fast-food coffee, Panera has the best salads and McDonald’s offers the best value (and the best fries.)¬† Dairy Queen has the best milkshake, and Chick-fil-A has the best grilled chicken.

The survey results aren’t really too surprising, but they’re still fun to peruse.