More restaurants offering Halloween specials

A few more restaurants are offering special deals on Halloween. They join the ones I told you about last week that are selling doughnuts, burritos and more for cheap tomorrow.

Outback Steakhouse, which has Wichita restaurants at 2020 N. Rock Road and 233 S. Ridge Road, is offering a free kids meal to children 10 and under who accompany a paying adult. The offer is valid for curbside takeaway and dine-in.

Local Papa Murphy’s restaurants are serving Jack-o-Lantern-shaped pizzas, made with pepperoni and cheese, for $7 through Wednesday.

And Sonic Drive-Ins are selling corndogs half price all day on Halloween. They’ll be 50 cents.

Know of any others?

Question of the week: How long will you wait for a table?

Some restaurants never seem to NOT have a long line of people waiting for a table, no matter how long they’re open in Wichita. (Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse come to mind.)

The situation can be frustrating, especially for people headed out with big groups, right after new a restaurants opens, or on busy Friday and Saturday nights.

The question of the week: How long are you willing to wait for a table at a restaurant? What makes you decide whether to take a pager or try the next place? And what strategies do you have for avoiding waits?

Answer in the comments section below.

Outback lunch for the holidays

Usually, fans of Outback’s steaks have to wait till the dinner hour to get carnivorous.

But during the holidays, Wichita’s Outback Steakhouses are cooking at lunch as well.

Beginning on Monday, the east side Outback at 2020 N. Rock Road will be open seven days a week starting at 11:30 a.m. The west side Outback at 233 S. Ridge Road will start its lunch hours on Wednesday. That restaurant will open at noon Mondays through Fridays and at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

There’s no special lunch menu, but diners can order anything off the regular evening menu. Both restaurants will continue lunch hours through Jan. 1.

Bloomin’ onion for lunch, hibachi eggs for breakfast

If you read this blog, you know that  restaurateurs are a very giving people. Every week, our town offers more ways to eat for a cause.

But I really like the sound of these two approaching food fundraisers, mainly because they give people the opportunity to do something they don’t usually get to do, namely eat Outback Steakhouse food for lunch and watch their breakfast being cooked on a Japanese hibachi grill.

Sake Japanese Steakhouse, the new business in the former Kobe Steakhouse building at 650 N. Carriage Parkway, will open special for a charity breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Attendees will be asked for a $20 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and they can watch as chefs prepare traditional breakfast items on the restaurant’s hibachi grills. For more information, call 316-689-0888.

Then on Monday, students and staff from Paul Mitchell the School-Wichita will be serving lunch at the Outback Steak House at 2020 N. Rock Road (which normally isn’t open for weekday lunch), to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Via Christi Health. Diners can buy a $15 ticket for either an 11:30 a.m. or a 12:30 p.m. seating, and they’ll get a choice of a chicken or steak dinner, Bloomin’ Onion appetizer, side salad, baked potato and beverage. Tickets must be purchased prior to the event by calling 316-630-0600 or at Paul Mitchell the School, 3242 N. Rock Road.

Give the gift of dining

deniseoutbackMy story for Friday’s Go! section, which you can read today right here, is about the large number of local restaurants who will give you bonus cards or free food if you buy gift cards this holiday season. A smart shopper who gave nothing but gift cards could probably find a way to eat free for a month.

One cool feature some restaurants, such as Outback, Carrabba’s and Bonefish Grill, are offering is the ability to personalize your gift card with a photo if you order it online. I have demonstrated above. It was easy!

Let me know if there are gift card bonuses I failed to mention here.

Veterans Day specials

veteransday2010_bloomSeveral restaurants around the country will observe Veterans’ Day on Thursday by offering discounts and specials to current and former members of the military.

Veterans with an ID will get a free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage of choice on Thursday at Outback Steakhouses. And at Applebee’s, veterans and active-service men and women with ID qualify for a free meal with choices ranging from burgers to chicken to steak.

Know of any other Veteran’s Day specials? Let me know in the comments below.

Autumn & Art: A culinary report

autumnandart.jpg 002Sorry for my absence on Monday. I was off because I worked on Saturday covering the new Autumn & Art event — a juried show and sale that stretched all along the road behind Bradley Fair.

While there, I did my food writer duty and sampled dishes from the dining tent, and I was pretty impressed. All the good Bradley Fair restaurants participated, including On the Border, Redrock Canyon, Outback and Yia Yia’s. Cocoa Dolce was there, too, selling gelato and trying to keep their delicate chocolates from melting in the not-very-autumny atmosphere.

autumnandart.jpg 003

The yummy flat bread taco I ingested can be seen at left. Stacked nachos are at right.

After perusing the selections, I chose a flat bread taco from On the Border, which was made with caramelized roast beef, cheese, tomato, lettuce and a nice roasted red-tomatillo salsa. It was delish and not too expensive –$5 for a generous serving that came with a side of tortilla chips and salsa.

I can’t speak for the art, which I admired by couldn’t afford. But in culinary terms, Autumn & Art was a success in my book.

Dining with dad

20080104 OvereatingSunday is Father’s Day, and I have a gift for your dad. I’ve put together a guide to some of the places in town offering special meals and deals on Father’s Day, and it’ll be published in tomorrow’s Go! section.

But because you’re a blog reader, you get to see it today.

Several restaurants are doing fun things, including Outback Steakhouse, which will award one dad free Outback food for a year, and The Anchor, which is putting on a buffet.

Gluten-free dining

pfchangslogo I received an e-mail today from a reader named Deanna, whose young grandson has just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an inherited autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damanged from eating gluten and other proteins found in grains. People with that disease must have gluten-free diets, and Deanna was wondering which local restaurants serve gluten-free meals.

She found a few options at Bonefish Grill, and I already knew that P.F. Chang’s had a gluten-free menu. A quick Google search turned up a list of several more restaurants that maintain gluten-free menus. Among them: Chili’s, Carrabba’s, Outback Steakhouse, On The Border and Ted’s Montana Grill.

Hope that helps, Deanna.

*UPDATE* : Thanks to an alert reader, I can add two more names to the gluten-free menu list: Carlos O’Kelly’s and Olive Garden.