Anchor’s Schane Gross opening new College Hill restaurant

The Anchor's Schane Gross is planning to open Fork & Fennel in the old Taco Tinga space in August.

The Anchor’s Schane Gross is planning to open Fork & Fennel in the old Taco Tinga space in August.

The Anchor’s Schane Gross, who just opened her Douglas Avenue Chop Shop at 1113 E. Douglas, is about to open another restaurant.

Fork & Fennel is the name of the restaurant Gross is putting in to the old Taco Tinga/ Taco Tico building at 3425 E. Douglas, which is right next door to College Hill Deli & Catering.

The restaurant will showcase the locally produced products Gross has become excited about while supplying her new butcher shop: Creekstone Farms beef, Red Wattle pork, Good Shepherd poultry and Heritage eggs. She also plans to plant a garden near the restaurant and grow her own herbs and other produce. She’s already hired a gardener to work on that part of the project.

The menu will feature Parisian-style sandwiches on baguette plus entrees made with the local meats. She’ll have locally-made beers on draft and bottled craft beers and also will feature a menu of cocktails.

Fork & Fennel will be open for lunch and dinner, and Gross, who lives nearby, is hoping to attract a neighborhood crowd. She’s even planning to turn the area where the drive through is now into a bike rack.

The building needs a lot of cleaning, Gross said, but she is planning on an inexpensive remodel. She’ll document her efforts at “opening a restaurant on a dime” on a blog that she’s setting up.

Gross hopes to have the restaurant ready by August. Stay tuned for details.

Anchor, Siena teaming up for monthly beer dinners

Gross and Roth, living the dream

Schane Gross knows beer.

Marshall Roth knows food.

Now Gross, the owner of The Anchor at 1109 E. Douglas, and Roth, the executive chef at the new Siena Tuscan Steakhouse in the Ambassador Hotel at 104 S. Broadway, are activating their wonder twin powers for a new beer dinner series that will launch in a couple of weeks.

The monthly dinners will take place on the second Tuesday of each month in the Siena’s well-appointed dining room. They’ll feature multiple fine dining courses prepared by Roth and his staff, each course paired with a high-end beer that Gross selected.

Mmmm. Ribeye.

The first dinner is scheduled for April 9, and the duo is already taking reservations. Though they haven’t settled on a price or an exact menu yet, at a tasting a few minutes ago, the two were throwing around words such as “foie gras creme brulee” and “bananas Foster.”

Those who want to make a reservation should call Siena at 316-239-7100. Roth has clearance to offer a $119 room rate for beer dinner attendees who want to spend the night.

Also, Roth recently got a good deal on a shipment of Creekstone Farms  14-oz. rib eyes and is selling the beautifully marbled steaks, paired with mashed potatoes and asparagus, for $25 through the month of March.

Look how much he loves his steaks!

The Anchor: Chicken wing expert, Strong Ale purveyor

Anchor owner Schane Gross, feeling confident about her wings.

I’m baaaaacccckkk. My basement is no cleaner, but my tan is a bit bronzer and should last at LEAST until Halloween.

Lots of food stuff happened while I was gone, including both the Midwest Beerfest, which I attended, and the Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff, which I did not attend because I was out of town. (But I will have the results here later.)

I return with news about The Anchor, 1109 E. Douglas, which not only swept THREE categories at the Midwest Beerfestchicken wing contest a week ago but also is putting on a little beer fest of its own this weekend.

First, the wings. I was one of the judges at the chicken wing contest, and the entries were better than ever this year. We had a hard time picking the best wing because they all were so good. Judge Jason Febres of Taste & See was particularly enthusiastic about a wing with a chocolatey sauce made by Tallgrass Country Club chef Ben George. And we all loved George’s Asian-y, sesame-seed coated wing, too.

Chicken wing judges, from left: Harrison Schenk, Guy Bower, me and Jason Febres.

But in the end, the best wing was a pan fried, crispy, straight forward version served by The Anchor. Owner Schane Gross told me it was just the restaurant’s standard wing recipe, and if that’s the case, I’ll be at The Anchor for wings soon.

A sampling of the competing wings.

The Anchor also won the People’s Choice award. George and his sesame wing got “Most Creative,” and The Anchor also won “Spiciest.”

On Saturday, the bar also is putting on its annual Strong Ale Fest, which offers samples of super potent beers. It’s from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, and admission is $15, which includes a souvenir glass. You can see a list of the beers that will be included on the Strong Ale Fest web page.

Chef Pitts’ new gig

The hardest working chef in chef business, Doug Pitts, has a new job.

Schane Gross, owner of The Anchor at 1109 E. Douglas, has hired him to get her kitchen in order. This is his first full week on the job, and people are starting to notice his presence, she said.

Gross wants to give Pitts the freedom to offer beer dinners and other special events and to show off his creativity. He’s putting together a small Mother’s Day brunch as one of his first head-of-the-Anchor-kitchen activities.

Pitts most recently headed the kitchen at Press but left in January. Since then, he’s been working on the wait staff at Bonefish Grill.