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.

Updated Valentine’s Day dining list

Luciano' owner Luciano Mottol has special plans for Valentine's Day diners.

As promised, I’ve updated my list of Valentine’s Day dining options and have added the special meals being offered at Luciano’s, Granite City, Hangar One and Mediterranean Grill.

There’s probably still time to make reservations if you act soon.

Question of the week: Best WichItalian dish

Mickey Afsharpour with Capellini De Angelo at Marchello's.

This week, I’ve written my dining story about the Italian food renaissance that’s underway in Wichita. After a long period of losing our lasagna purveyors, we’re making a comeback. Luca Italian Eatery opened two weeks ago, and by the end of the summer, we’ll have Italian Bistro and Bocconcini as well.

It got me thinking about the delicious Italian dishes served now in Wichita in places such as Luciano’s, Sweet Basil, DeFazio’s, Marchello’s and more.

Which local Italian dish is your favorite? Tell me the specific dish and which restaurant it comes from.

Also, throw my nomination in the hat for Marchello’s melty, amazing lasagna.

Make your nomination in the comments section below.

A taste of Italy

luciano

Luciano’s may be one of the most revered Italian restaurants in Wichita, which is a pretty big accomplishment considering that the restaurant is not in Wichita.

Fans of the Mulvane restaurant will want to await election results on Tuesday at Watermark Books, where owner Luciano Mottola will be putting on a cooking demonstration and selling copies of his new 12-pack recipe collection, which costs $12 and includes directions for making dishes such as caprese salad, tomato bread soup, fettuccine with seafood and more.

The demonstration begins at 7 p.m., and admission is free. Watermark is at 4701 E. Douglas.

FYI: Another Watermark event that might interest foodies happens at 2 p.m. Saturday when Andrea Cassell will launch her new cookbook, “Hahima’s Hands: Unique Mediterranean Fare.” The launch will include samples of Cassell’s cooking. Admission is free.

Food worth driving for: Radio version

Lots of teeny tiny burgers make Salina a Cozy place.

Lots of teeny tiny burgers make Salina a Cozy place.

I blame it on my 5-year-old daughter. She wouldn’t go to bed last night, so I took away her morning cartoon privileges, so I let her listen to the Taylor Swift Pandora station this morning instead, so I apparently MISSED a whole segment on B-98 that was about my story in this morning’s Go! section.

Brett and Tracy’s producer, Kathy, was kind enough to let me know what I missed, which apparently was a loooong addendum to my list of restaurants in towns around Wichita that are worth driving for.

Keep in mind that I’m planning a Part II to the story, since I couldn’t fit everything in the paper today. But B-98 listeners came up with a few I probably won’t be able to fit into the second list either, so I’ll share some of them here.

Cozy Inn, 108 N. Seventh, Salina: The only reason I’m not including Salina’s famous tiny burger hut is because it’s already very well known, sorta like Carriage Crossing in Yoder and Luciano’s in Mulvane.

Bogey’s, 1417 S. Ninth St., Salina: Tasty burgers and shakes.

Nieves Mexican Restaurant, 119 E. Nineth, Winfield: Though several people suggested this place, I’m not including it only because I have another tasty Winfield nominee to feature.

Lumber Yard Steak House, 311 N. Main St., Zenda: Is it bad that I’ve never heard of this restaurant or of Zenda? Must change that.

Puffy’s Steak House, 215 Main St., Maple Hill: Thanks to TopekaDad for correcting me on this one. BTW, where’s Maple Hill?

Guy and Mae’s Tavern, 119 Williams St., Williamsburg: Home of world-famous ribs and sandwiches

Two Doors Down, 307 Baird St., Cuba: Burgers and other cafe food worth driving for.

Enrique’s, 2213 Waverly St., Ponca City, Okla.: Great Mexican food south of the border. The Kansas border.

Thanks, B-98 listeners. Part II will be published on Aug. 13.

Food worth the drive

Everyone knows about Carriage Crossing in Yoder and Luciano’s in Mulvane.

But other tiny communities that surround Wichita are home to lesser-known restaurants that are worth the drive.

This week in Go! I’ll publish Part I of a two-part list of restaurants you might want to check out next time your stomach is empty and your gas tank is full. One is The Breadbasket in Newton, which Jaime and I selflessly investigated on Tuesday morning. You can see Jaime’s video of The Breadbasket’s resident baker at work if you click “play” above.