Well-known chef will staff schwarma truck

Melad Stephan has hired Roni Attari to cook in his new food truck.

Old Town Square restaurateur Melad Stephan’s long-awaited food truck should hit the streets sometime next week, and it’ll be staffed by a familiar face.

Roni Attari, who has owned several restaurants in town over the years — most recently Pitas & Paninis at 602 N. Tyler — left a job working in the kitchen at Lakeside Club to cook in the yet-to-be-officially-named truck.

The truck will specialize in authentic Lebanese fare, Attari said. It will have schwarma, hummus, Lebanese soups and rotating specials, among other things. Once launched, the truck will be stationed at a different spot around Wichita every day.

At the moment, Roni and Stephan’s son, Jordan, are working on final details for the truck. They’re designing logos and trying to choose a name from three finalists.

I’ll let you know when the truck is ready to roll.

Wichita “Restaurant Week” planned

Now this is a cool idea.

The  Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas is teaming up with Go Wichita and the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association to put on a “Restaurant Week” in Wichita. They’re planning it for June 21 to 30 and hope to get 25 local restaurants involved.

Restaurant Weeks are big deals in big cities, where many of the more expensive, trendy, hard-to-get-into restaurants agree to spend a week offering prix fixe meals to participants. A prix fixe (price fixed) meal is a set, multi-course meal that costs one price. About 30 big cities around the country, including Dallas, New York and Chicago, put on popular Restaurant Weeks. I attended a Restaurant Week dinner at a fancy place in Dallas years ago, and it was memorable. (Even though I can’t remember the name of the restaurant I visited. Ha.)

Restaurant Week won’t be quite the same animal in a smaller city like Wichita, but it could still be fun and offer Wichitans an excuse to try places they haven’t been to. Though organizers haven’t signed up any participants yet, they’ll ask restaurants on the list to donate 10 percent of each meal back to the Boys & Girls Club.

I already know who I’d put on a dream list. The new Siena Tuscan Steakhouse  that will open in the Ambassador Hotel in December has to join in. Harvest Kitchen/Bar inside the Hyatt should, too. I could see Luciano’s on this bill as well as some of Wichita’s ethnic restaurants such as Pho Hot Bistro and Taqueria El Paisa. Maybe this would be a good way for Lakeside Club and Candle Club to lure potential new members, too.

The organizers have promised to keep me updated as plans progress. I’ll keep you updated, too.

In the meantime, let me know which restaurants you think should participate in a Wichita restaurant week. Tell me in the comments section below.

Candle Club adds non-smoking option

There's nothing like an adult beverage under the ceiling star at the Candle Club.

I’m not a member of the Candle Club, the throwback private supper club at 6135 E. 13th St. N., but I have several friends who are and have spent many an enjoyable evening there.

The only thing that could have made those evenings more enjoyable: a little less cigarette smoke in the atmosphere. Now, that’s an option. The Candle Club, which has been able to get around Wichita’s restaurant smoking ban because of its private club status, has just added a non-smoking section to the restaurant.

Perhaps a bid to compete with the new private, non-smoking Lakeside Club, the Candle Club just transformed a room that formerly served as a cigar bar into a non-smoking bar and grill. Customers enter from the new patio, meaning they can avoid cigarette smoke all together. In an e-mail to customers, managers said that customers have been requesting such an option, and the room also can be used for private parties, business lunches and Bingo games.

For more info, call the Candle Club at 316-684-7281.

Jose Pepper’s west, Lakeside Club both opening Monday

Two new restaurants will open their doors on Monday — one on the east side and one on the west.

Wichita’s second  Jose Pepper’s, a Kansas City-based Mexican chain, is going into the former Timberline space at 2243 N. Tyler. It’ll open for lunch on Monday, and its hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Wichita’s other Jose Pepper’s is at 11423 E 13th St. N.

Also on Monday, Wink Hartman’s new private Lakeside Club will open in the former Bella Donna space at 2121 N. Webb Road with popular local chef Jeremy Wade in the kitchen. Word of warning: If you’re not yet a member, don’t show up planning to sign up and eat. The state requires a 10-day waiting period after a membership is paid and processed. (For information on how to join, visit www.clublakeside.com.)  Memberships will cost $20 a month, and hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. I’m promised a menu soon, which I will share.

Lakeside Club set to open next month

Several months ago, businessman Wink Hartman announced that he planned to open the private Lakeside Club in the former Bella Donna/Garrozo’s space at 2121 N. Webb Road. Now, the opening of that club is likely just a month away. Hartman says he’s hoping to open at the end of January.

In the meantime, the menu and wine list are both about 95 percent complete, Hartman said. It will feature steak and seafood dishes prepared by head chef Jeremy Wade.

Lakeside Club will require a $20 a month membership, and already, Hartman says, he has around 200 people signed up. He urges those interested to apply for a membership card as soon as possible because, under state law, a diner isn’t eligible to visit the club until 10 days after the initial membership payment has been processed. So people who show up hoping to buy a membership then sit right down for a meal will be disappointed.

Hartman said the club will be non-smoking, and he’s completely gutted and remodeled the interior, which features a modern look, lots of booths, a dance floor and a room for private events.

I’ll share more details about the menu as they become available. In the meantime, those interested in joining can find an application on the club’s new website.