Kansas gets McRib back early

Kansas really, really loves the McRib — that here-today-gone-tomorrow McDonald’s sandwich that is much of a pop culture phenomenon as it is lunch.

The McRib — a pork patty topped with slivered onions, dill pickles and barbecue sauce on a toasted bun — won’t return to most McDonald’s menus across the country until mid-December. But because customers in Kansas love the sandwich so much, a local representative told me, we got it early.

They reappeared last week and will stick around until the end of January.

Kansas’ oldest McDonald’s gets new look

The oldest McDonald's in Kansas just got a makeover, both inside and out.

McDonald’s restaurants across the United States are being remodeled in an ultra-modern way, and several of Wichita’s have already received the upgrade.

The latest to reveal its new look is the oldest McDonald’s in the state, which is at 1630 S. Hillside (the corner of Harry and Hillside). The restaurant will celebrate with a “grand re-opening” on Wednesday and specials that will run through the end of April.

The Harry and Hillside McDonald’s, said to be Kansas’ first, opened on Feb. 4, 1960. Today, it’s owned by Roy McCalla. Construction started in November, and the restaurant remained open throughout the process, ocassionally operating only its drive-through.

The brand new interior of the McDonald's at Harry and Hillside.

The new look is totally McModern and looks as though it was furnished by Ikea. I stopped in last night, and restaurant looks more like a coffee shop than a fast food burger chain. The red roof is gone, and the interior features tall bar tables and pendant lighting.

McCalla, who also operates the McDonald’s at 1643 S. Webb, is celebrating its remodel on Wednesday, too. Nine McDonald’s in Wichita and the surrounding areas have been or are in the process of being redone so far, and a new McDonald’s in Haysville is being built with the new design.

To mark the occassion, he’s offering through the end of April two Sausage Egg McMuffins for $3 every day, free medium fountain drinks with the purchase of an Angus burger on Saturdays, and $1.99 cheeseburger happy meals from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. The offers are good only at McCalla’s two McDonald’s.

McRib commercial: Better than the McRib

Unless you’ve been quarantined to your house with the flu and your television, radio and internet are all broken, you’ve probably heard: McRib is back.

McDonald’s McRib, which rejoins the menu every now and then, baffles me. It’s more of a pop culture “thing to do” than lunch, it seems. And if it’s so fabulous, why not just add it to the menu permanently? Perhaps there are only so many pigs out there with bone-free ribs.

I really don’t care for the McRib, but I must admit that I’ve been enjoying the new McRib commercial. Funnier than the Sonic folks any day.

By the way, the McRib will be available at all McDonald’s nationwide through Nov. 14.

Question of the week: What would the kids pick?

Red Robin is all kinds of kid friendly.

My dining story this week outlines a list of places parents can take their kids for free meals.

In that spirit, my question this week for parents. If you gave the kids their absolute choice of where to go out for dinner, what would they choose? What do you think would influence their choice most — food, atmosphere or something else?

Fingers crossed that all my answers aren’t “McDonald’s.”

Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

McRib McMania

McRib tweet-up photography by former McRib virgin Suzanne Tobias.

McRib tweet-up photography by former McRib virgin Suzanne Tobias.

Twitter works for so many practical purposes, including gathering a lot of arterially courageous Wichitans together to feast on the world’s most popular pressed-meat sandwich: The McRib.

For those who don’t know, McRib is the boneless “rib” sandwich that McDonald’s brings back then takes away every so often. Its return is often met with reckless eating abandon by even the most sensible diners.

Today, about 15 Wichitans — including four of my co-workers — gathered at a downtown McDonald’s to celebrate the return of the McRib. (I missed it, opting instead for a more intimate, mushroom-n-bacony lunch at Planet Sub.) But Suzanne brought me back a full report, complete with photos.

Suzanne enjoyed her first full McRib, calling it “saucy.” She also recommends that those who want to try the famous sandwich opt for a deal McDonald’s is offering: Buy a McRib value meal and add a second sandwich for $1. She and biz editor Dan Loving went in on this deal together, added an extra drink for $1 and split the fries.

Co-worker Carrie, whose lovely blond locks are visible in the background of the photo above, wasn’t so impressed.

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Interested in more McQuips? Follow the fun here.

Three tweets that made me hungry today

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Five Guys: Zagat’s best burger

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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.