Music, free stuff at Birds on the Roof opening

Toubia on the job at Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe.

Toubia on the job at Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe.

Birds on the Roof   at 550 N. Rock Road opened in August, and owners have been fine tuning in since then. It now has a new menu, new hours and a new chef, all of which will be celebrated during the restaurant’s grand opening celebration on Saturday. 

Customers who visit on Saturday will get a free cookie. If they visit from 7 to 9 p.m., they can enjoy music from a live band and win door prizes.

The new chef is Nathan Toubia, formerly of Bocconcini Italian Eatery, the restaurant he closed in August. Toubia has helped revamp all the menus at Birds on the Roof and also has recently added dinner. The menu includes many Bocconcini-esque dishes such as lemon chicken, pork saltimbocca, and beef with mushrooms. There are also soups, salads and desserts such as panna cotta and bread pudding.

Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, call 316-558-8288.

Toubia the new chef at Birds on the Roof

Chef Nathan Toubia, who closed his popular Bocconcini Italian Eatery in August has a new job — working for someone else.

The interior of Birds on the Roof Cafe and Bakery.

The interior of Birds on the Roof Cafe and Bakery.

Toubia has accepted a job as the head chef at the new Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe, a beautifully decorated bakery and restaurant that Thao Luu opened in August at 550 N. Rock Road.

Luu has been rethinking her menu since opening, and Toubia is going to focus right away on breakfast, lunch and brunch. He plans to make some of the items he used to serve for brunch at Bocconcini, such as ricotta pancakes and duck hash. He’ll also have a lunch menu with sandwiches such as Italian roast beef.

Luu also wants him to develop a dinner menu, but they’ve agreed to work on the daytime meals first.

Toubia

Toubia

Toubia has been running his original restaurant, Bocco Deli at 3010 E. Central, since closing Bocconcini. He says he plans to leave that restaurant in the hands of his staff — as he did when Bocconcini was open — so that he can focus on his new job. He says he will have to end the weekend dinners he recently started serving at Bocco Deli.

Luu said she is excited about her hire.

“I want something unique and nice,” she said.

Toubia will officially start his new job at Birds on the Roof next week.

Birds on the Roof is closed until Thursday. Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-558-8288.

Bocconcini lives again at Bocco Deli

Nathan Toubia closed his delicious Bocconcini Italian Eatery at 4811 E. Central in August, and it was a sad day for fans of Italian food.

But some of Bocconcini’s recipes are being revived at Toubia’s other surviving restaurant — Bocco Deli at 3010 E. Central.

That restaurant is a lunch-only place, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Toubia is opening it up for dinner, serving many of his Bocconcini favorites.

Each weekend, he plans to set a multi-course menu, with two choices for each course. The courses will be sold a la carte, so diners can pick and choose what they want.  Last week, Toubia included on the menu Bocconcini’s famous frico appetizer, which features fried cheese filled with leeks, potatoes and sausage. Other choices included potato leek ravioli and pork and mushroom ragu. This weekend, he plans to include butternut squash ravioli.

Toubia will skip this Thursday becuase of Halloween but will serve dinner on Friday and Saturday. Each week, the dinner will start at 6:30 p.m., and he’s requiring reservations.

To make one, call 316-558-8412 and leave a message. Watch for the menus on Bocco Deli’s Facebook page.

Nathan Toubia teaching Italian cooking series

Nathan Toubia

He closed his Bocconcini Italian Eatery at 4811 E. Central, but chef Nathan Toubia is still cooking.

In addition to his Bocco Deliwhich is still operating at 3010 E. Central, Toubia is putting on a series of Italian cooking classes this month at Cooking at Bonnie’s Place, 9747 E. 21st St.

The first one is on Oct. 17 and is a hands-on class during which Toubia will teach participants to make fresh pasta and ravioli. The second class is on Oct. 24 also is hands-on. It will cover pasta and cannelloni making.

And on Oct. 30, Toubia will put on a demonstration class in which he prepares an Italian dinner featuring spinach and shrimp scampi flan, braised beef risotto and red wine poached pears with pistachio Mascarpone.

All three classes start at 6:30 p.m. and are $60 a person. To make reservations and get more information, call 316-425-5224 or visit Bonnie’s website.

Nathan Toubia closes Bocconcini Italian Eatery

It’s a sad day for fans of pillowy ravioli and pork saltimbocca.

Nathan Toubia has closed is Bocconcini Italian Eatery at 4811 E. Central. He plans to keep his Bocco Deli open at 3010 E. Central and focus his energy there.

Toubia, the son of Latour founder Antoine Toubia, opened Bocconcini in August of 2011, and it was instantly popular with foodies. 

On Labor Day weekend of last year, Toubia suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. Since then, he said, he’s struggled personally and financially.

In June, Toubia cut out his weekday lunch hours. Though business had picked back up recently, he still had to make the hard decision, he said.

“I hate to see it go, but also, for me personally, I need to be balanced,” he said. “I think it’s bette r to cut ties and focus more on the deli.”

Nathan Toubia on the mend, back at work

It’s been more than six weeks since the Labor Day weekend motorcycle accident that seriously injured Bocconcini Italian Eatery chef and owner Nathan Toubia and his manager/friend Abby Brookshire.

Both are on the mend, and Nathan — who broke both ankles, crushed his pelvis, and fractured his legs in the accident — is back on his feet. Though he’s on crutches and moving slowly, he’s been able to return to the restaurant in a limited capacity. He expedited service last weekend, and he’ll also be helping with prep work at Sunday’s wine dinner at Bocconcini. (You can see the menu below.)

I ran into Nathan at Dillons last night, and he looked good. He won’t be able to put weight on his right leg until early November but says he has “every intention of showing my face as long as the pain is tolerable.”

Abby, meanwhile, also is making progress, according to a Facebook page set up and maintained by her family called “Love for Abby.” She’s also back on her feet and has returned home to Texas with her family to continue her rehab.

Bocconcini’s next wine dinner is at 6 p.m. Sunday and costs $65 a person. Nathan has created a fabulous fall menu that includes lamb shank, apple crumble and something called “wedding pillow ravioli.” Keep reading for the menu. Reservations can be made by calling 316-613-2523.

Read More »

Chef Nathan Toubia seriously injured in motorcycle accident

Nathan Toubia at Saturday morning's Iron Chef cookoff.

Chef Nathan Toubia, the owner of Bocconcini Italian Eatery, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning. His passenger was critically injured.

Toubia and his friend, who also is his manager at the restaurant, were on his motorcycle at Kellogg and Hillside about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning when a Ford Mustang turned in front of them and they hit it, my colleague, Stan Finger reported. Both were thrown from the motorcycle. She suffered several serious injuries.

Toubia suffered  a crushed pelvis, broken ankles and fractures in his leg. He underwent a lengthy surgery and will have to be off his feet for at least eight weeks, said Tracy Cumba, who is running the restaurant in Toubia’s absence.

In the meantime, Cumba said, Toubia’s staff will be able to keep the restaurant going. They’re operating normal hours, though they’re all shaken by the accident.

I just saw Toubia and his manager Saturday morning at the Old Town Farmers Market Iron Chef cookoff, where he was the runner-up.  I wish them both a speedy recovery.

Flying Stove’s Schauf wins Iron Chef contest

Judge/emcee Mark Davidson with the newly crowned Iron Chef, The Flying Stove's Rob Schauf.

There’s a new Iron Chef in town.

On Saturday morning, I helped judge the 10th annual Iron Chef competition at the Old Town Farmers Market, a competition that pits local chefs against each other in an on-the-spot cookoff, using a “secret ingredient” that’s revealed just before they start.

My cojudges and I —  who included KSN’s morning duo Mark Davidson and Leon Smitherman and local foodie Joe Stumpe — gave the championship wooden spoon to a new competitor — The Flying Stove’s Rob Schauf.

This was Schauf’s first time participating in a local chef-off, and he had some pretty tough competition in Bocconcini’s Nathan Toubia, Tallgrass Country Club’s Ben George, and defending champ Paul Freimuth of The Hyatt. Those three are among Wichita’s most amiable chefs and participate in nearly every cookoff in town.

The judges sampling more delicious food than should be legal before 10 a.m.

The secret ingredient was long beans, and after a shaky start (he appeared frozen by indecision at times), Schauf created a plate that made the crunchy beans the star. He cooked beef rare and topped it with the sauteed beans and served it alongside a potato puree. The judges were fighting for the last bites.

Customers at the Flying Stove rarely see Schauf, who is the culinary brains behind the food truck. He’s always inside, his back to the public, churning out the gourmet food while his friendly, chatty brother Jeff mans the window. He had a big cheering section at the competition, and afterward, The Flying Stove opened on the edge of the Farmers Market to a line 50 people deep.

Here are a few more photos from the event. Read More »

Local chefs to throw down Saturday, Iron Chef style

The Hyatt's Paul Freimuth will defend his Iron Chef on Saturday morning at the Old Town Farmer's Market.

The 10th annual Iron Chef Competition at the Old Town Farmers Market is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the market at First and Mosley.

The competition pits local chefs against each other, cooking live with a “secret ingredient” they learn about just as the competition begins. The reigning champion, Paul Freimuth from the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar will be there defending his title. His competition will be Nathan Toubia from Bocconcini Italian Eatery, Ben George from Tallgrass Country Club, and — in a public appearance first — Rob Schauf from The Flying Stove. (The chef is notoriously shy and usually lets his brother and partner, Jeff, do the talking and appearing.)

The Flying Stove will serve in Old Town Square that day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Old Town Farmer’s Market is open from 7 a.m. to noon.

Learn to cook with the pros

There’s all sorts of cooking school awesomeness going on in Wichita over the next couple of weeks.

One is over at Cooking at Bonnie’s Place, where on Tuesday, chef Nathan Toubia of Bocconcini Italian Eatery will demonstrate how to make some of his specialties, including pancetta-wrapped shrimp, polenta cakes with red garlic sauce and panna cotta. His class is at 6:30 p.m. and costs $45 a person. To make a reservation, visit Bonnie’s website.

Another is the Taste of Home Cooking School, which is in its second year at Hartman Arena. The show is from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, and will feature cooking demonstrations, shopping and prizes geared for home cooks. Tickets are $15 at the door or $12 in advance at Ashley Furniture Home Store, 10711 W. 21st N. or at Furniture on Consignment 4502 E. 13th St.