Metro Grill III will open Thursday

With all due respect to the many sandwich artists in town, no one makes a better sandwich in Wichita thanĀ Michael Gonzalez.

The outspoken chef has a legion of fans in town, earned through years of making gourmet sandwiches and other dishes in the unlikeliest of places — out of a cart in the food court at Towne East Square that he called Metro Grill. By Thursday, he’ll have his latest restaurant open, this one in the Waterfront at 13th and Webb.

Metro Grill III is “the big one,” Gonzaelez likes to say. He’s had his share of personal and business drama over the past several years, which resulted in him selling his Metro Grill II in Andover to an employee — but this restaurant is the one he’s always wanted.

It’s in the former Chill Gelato Space at the Waterfront, 10096 E. 13th St. N., suite 122. Gonzalez has remodeled the space, adding a granite bar, a giant New York City skyline on the wall, and an open kitchen where diners can watch him work.

Michael Gonzalez

There’s seating for about 45 inside and a 16-seat patio outside. Gonzalez will be open for lunch and dinner daily except Monday and has several upscale dinner-ish items on his menu as well, including Pasta V.I.P., made with seared chicken and shrimp over linguine with pine nuts, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, arugula and asparagus, and his Steak Christopher. You can see the full menu here.

Customers order at the counter and servers will deliver the food to the tables and offer drink refills. Gonzaelz should have his liquor license within a month, he said.

He’ll have live, Frank Sinatra-esque music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. He also plans to have live music all day on Thursday, his official opening day.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant can be reached by calling 316-631-1454.

“I want to thank Wichita for giving us so much support,” he said. “Metro Grill is back.”

Gonzalez sells Andover Metro Grill

Chef Michael Gonzalez

The Andover location of Metro Grill no longer belongs to founder Michael Gonzalez, the popular but recently troubled local chef known for his amazing sandwiches in the Towne East mall food court.

Early last month, Gonzalez sold Metro Grill II to employee Kevin McKee and his grandfather, Jim Boots. McKee started working at the Andover Metro Grill as an employee early this year.The restaurant opened at 321 S. Andover Road in January.

McKee, 22, says he will continue with the original menu but is considering some additions in the future. He describes himself as part businessman, part cook, and he said he’s excited about the opportunity to start his restaurant career.

“We have an incredibly strong repeat customer base here — people who come in two and three times a week,” McKee said.

Meanwhile, he said, Gonzalez continues to own and operate the Metro Grill in Towne East. I have a call in to him and will update this post once I speak to him.

Oh, no. And furthermore, sigh.

The Infamous BOB.

Though I’d rather not, I feel it’s my duty to direct your attention to the bad/sad restaurant news Carrie uncovered yesterday.

I hope it all gets resolved soon, not only for the sake of the people involved but also for the sake of sandwich fans in Wichita and Andover.

Made your Valentine’s plans yet?

Restaurants and cooking schools are getting creative this Valentine’s Day. Several are putting on special wine dinners, chef’s meals, cooking classes and prix fixe menus.

If I were going to choose, I’d probably pick the sushi class with Chef Jason at Taste & See Everyday Gourmet. Or maybe the VIP dinners at Michael Gonzalez’s Metro Grill II in Andover. Or maybe the wine dinner at Oeno? Oh, I can’t decide.

Peruse my story about some of your options, and then make a phone call. These places could possibly book up once the story hits the paper tomorrow morning.

The final word on Metro Grill II

Michael Gonzalez is about to open his Metro Grill II, as evidenced by the yard sign marketing campaign popping up. The answer to the question on the sign is that the Infamous BOB is a sandwich made with chicken, arugula, tomatoes, a huge hunk of fresh mozzarella, all served on toasted, crunchy bread.

The man himself, Michael Gonzalez, called me on Friday to let me know that he will definitely, 100 percent for sure be opening Metro Grill II at 321 S. Andover Road in Andover on Feb. 7, which is one week from today.

He’ll serve his Metro Grill menu of amazing sandwiches, pastas and other entrees from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Gonzalez

On Sunday evenings, he’ll do reservation-only gourmet dinners, starting with a pair of special Valentine’s Day dinners next weekend. On Feb. 12 and 13, he’ll serve a five-course meal and allow couples to bring their own wine with no cork fee.

Hours for the Valentine’s meal are 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday (when he’ll stray from normal hours and close to the general public) and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, call 316-807-5229.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I’m doing a story for Friday’s paper about special meals and dinners being offered around town. Let me know if you’re aware of any I might miss.

The best sandwich in town

The Bob.

The Infamous Bob

And I don’t say that lightly.

For years, I’ve been telling people about Wichita’s most amazing sandwiches, which are made in Wichita’s most unexpected spot — in a little mobile hot dog cart in the Towne East mall food court.

The cart is called Metro Grill, and chef Michael Gonzalez serves up gourmet-quality sandwiches and entrees, an amazing feat considering that the space is so small and there’s no real kitchen. And that it’s in the mall.

He and his lovely wife are about to open a non-mall location, Metro Grill II, on Rock Road across from Frou Frou Dillons. It’s taking longer than they’d hoped (it always does) but they’re still hopeful they can open this fall.

IMG_5567

The Cuban

The joy of this blog is that I can now show you, in full living color, what I’m talking about when I say these sandwiches are the best. The first one here is The Infamous Bob, made with chicken, arugula, tomatoes, a huge hunk of fresh mozzarella, all served on toasted, crunchy bread.

My other favorite is the Cuban, grilled flat with ham, pork, pickle slices, garlicky mustard and crunchy onions. Michael also serves steaks, grilled asparagus, gourmet hot dogs and more.

A word of warning: Michael and his apprentices are artists. They’re working out of a tiny space, they make each sandwich fresh, and they’re popular, so it can take a while to get your food. The wait is worth it, though. I promise.