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.

A photographic dispatch from Zoobilee

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Among the people I saw at Zoobilee on Saturday:Television host Sierra Scott, local wine expert Beth Bower, Intrust Bank Arena's Sarah Haertl and Mrs. Freddy's Frozen Custard, Betsy Redler.

Zoobilee was on Saturday night, and as I’ve previously stated, it’s one of the best foodie events of the year. It’s an annual fundraiser for the Sedgwick County Zoo, and it’s the only day of the year the zoo closes so that restaurant vendors and bans can scatter themselves throughout the grounds and prepare to feed and entertain the masses. There’s always more than enough food, more than enough drink and more than enough music, fun and people watching to go around.

The numbers are in, and this year, the event attracted nearly 5,000 people and raised $500,000 for the zoo. Here’s my photographic report from the event.

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The Donut Whole’s Angela Etter and Michael Carmody were there, sharing samples of their colorful confections.

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It was very difficult not to grab one of these babies every time I passed by.

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Chef Jeremy Wade, right, who’s everywhere with his new catering business, had not one, not two, but THREE spots at Zoobilee. Here he is with local foodie Bill Pearce, who’s a regular commenter on my blog and dining forum.

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One of Jeremy Wade’s booths offered this generous and delicious steak taco.

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Another of Chef Jeremy’s booths offered jambalaya, enjoyed here by my friend Jaime Green, Eagle photog and drummer in the local band The Mudbugs, which played the event.

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Here, local foodie and radio host Guy Bower poses with The Mudbugs. When he wasn’t cheesing, Guy was offering the crowd an education on pinot, cab, sauv blanc and more.

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Mike’s Wine Dive also was there, serving pork loin topped with a tropical salsa. When I passed by, general manager Brad Beyer was slice, slice, slicing away as the crowd mobbed his table.

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Mmmmm. Pork loin.

Iron Chef Wichita

Iron Chef David Wirebaugh from Harvest Kitchen/Bar.

Iron Chef David Wirebaugh from Harvest Kitchen/Bar.

The Old Town Farmers Market will be the site on Saturday of the 8th annual Iron Chef Competition, which pits local chefs against each other in a live, action-packed, mystery ingredient-filled competition.

This year’s competitors are Chef David Wirebaugh, the head chef at the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar; local caterer and chef-about-town Jeremy Wade, The Anchor’s Ben George, and last year’s champ, area chef Terry Johnson.

A “secret ingredient” will be revealed at 8:30 a.m. (last year’s was onions), and the chefs will have until 9:45 a.m. to shop the Farmers Market for ingredients and create a dish. Judges are Guy and Beth Bower and Sierra Scott.

The Old Town Farmers Market takes place from 7 a.m. to noon at First and Mosley streets in Old Town.

Dinner and a show

jeremywade.jpgJeremy Wade Catering, a new venture by chef-about-town Jeremy Wade (formerly of Yia Yia’s, Uptown Bistro, etc…), is about to start offering outdoor dinners for people heading to Music Theatre of Wichita productions (or those who just want to dine with people heading to Music Theatre of Wichita productions.)

The dinners start at 6 p.m. and will take place outdoors on the west side of the Residences at WaterWalk, 515 S. Main, before “Crazy For You” on July 10, “Annie” on July 24 and “Curtains” on Aug. 7.

The dinners will include a plated, three-course meal and red and white wine selections. They’re $50 a person and include a limo valet from Waterwalk to Century II and back for the first dinner on July 10. Much of the proceeds will be donated to MTW.

Make a reservation by calling the WaterWalk office at 316-219-6060.

Click below to see the menus for each dinner.

Read More »

This video will make you hungry

Hope you’ve already had lunch because Jaime and I have made good on our promise to produce a video out of last night’s Celebrity & Chef Cookoff. It features sizzling and tasty scallops, chefs and celebrities. I shot the footage, Jaime did the editing. Bon appetit!

Celebrity and Chef Cookoff

celebchef2.jpgThe Orpheum throws one of the tastiest fundraisers in town each year, and my friend and colleague Bonnie Bing was kind enough to offer me a seat at her table last night. (Her husband, Dick Honeyman, is chairman of the Orpheum board.)

The event pairs local chefs with “celebrities” (media folk, politicians, etc.), and the duos are given 45 minutes to create a fabulous dish out of a grocery bag full of ingredients.  Above, local caterer and chef Jeremy Wade works away with his partner, Carlos O’ Kelly’s executive VP Jon Rolph.

Meanwhile, the fundraiser attendees roam the Marriott, sampling food from Wichita restaurants and watching the chefs in action.

The winners of last night’s event were Peter Moretti, the executive chef at the Marriott, and his partner, local disc jockey Brett Harris. The pair made some sort of fabulous looking scallop dish. I was too mesmerized by its seafoody goodness to catch its official description.

celebchef.jpg 003 (Small)Here’s a pic of me (upper left) with some of my fellow tasters, including friend Deena Flanigan Kreutzer, upper right, biz columnist Carrie Rengers, lower left, and Eagle photog Jaime Green.

Speaking of Jaime, she’s supposed to help me produce a little video of the event later this afternoon. If it works out, I’ll post it.