Red Barn closed, but owner plans new Mexican restaurant

Michael Rodriguez, who ran The Red Barn, plans a new Mexican restaurant.

The Red Barn  is gone.

The restaurant , which sat on the east side of Lake Afton and was operated by Michael Rodriguez and his family since 2010, had its final wedding this weekend, and the owner,  state Sen. Dick Kelsey, is putting the building up for auction on Nov. 12.

Michael  is planning a new Mexican restaurant, though, said his son, Gerard Rodriguez. They’re not ready to announce details yet but will soon. It won’t be downtown, Gerard said, but will be “near.”

In the meantime, the family is focusing on its new restaurants in Wichita’s core, including Anna Murdoc’s Cafe, which opened in in July and Gerard runs, and the new R Coffeehouse, which his brother, Angelo, opened in the old Riverside Perk space a few weeks ago. Michael is hopping between the restaurants while he works on his new place.

The family is sad to see the Red Barn go, Gerard said, but it helped them gain a following that has transferred to its new restaurants.

“We’ve got three different opportunities to do some good stuff and showcase things on our own terms,” he said.

The Red Barn sold barbecue, tamales, tacos and opened for breakfast on weekend mornings. R Coffeehouse is now selling breakfast daily and tamales on weekends, Gerard said.

Now open: Anna Murdoc’s Cafe

Correction: An earlier version of the post misspelled Rodriguez.

Downtown workers have a new spot to stop for breakfast and lunch. Anna Murdoc’s Cafe opened a little more than a week ago in the space that previously held the Daily Grind in Sutton Place at 209 E. William.

The cafe is owned by the Rodriguez family, who also have The Red Barn at Lake Afton. It’s run mainly by Gerard Rodriguez, and the attractive new awnings feature a sketch of Gerard’s children – Annalisa, Angelina (whose nickname is Murdoc), and Jack.

Rodriguez, who is a trained pastry and sushi chef, helped put together a menu for Anna Murdoc’s that includes breakfast items such as burritos and biscuits and gravy, plus salads and sandwiches. The cafe also offers a daily special. Today’s, for example, is an open faced roast beef sandwich with green beans. On Fridays, they offer Red Barn barbecue. Lasagna and smothered burritos also are on the rotating specials list.

I stopped by this morning and was impressed by how pretty and big-city the cafe looked. It includes a nice outdoor patio, perfect for people watching. It has another big-city problem, too, in that parking on William and the surrounding blocks is hard to find, though Gerard’s sister, Belle, who was working this morning, says that the parking police are lenient with people who pull into the 15-minute loading zone in front of the restaurant to pick up to-go orders. The bulk of their business so far, she said, has come from the nearby Finney State Office Building.

Anna Murdoc’s hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 316-771-5051.

Even more ideas for Lenten dining

These meatless enchiladas from Our Lady of Perpetual Help look muy delicioso.

***UPDATE***

This morning I’ve learned of yet another meat-free dining option for Lent, though this one has nothing to do with fish. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Catholic church at 2409 N. Market, offers meatless Mexican meals on Friday nights through Lent. The church serves potato tacos, cheese enchiladas, tostadas, chile rellenos, beans, rice and fideo from 5 to around 7 p.m. They take cash only, and items are sold a la carte. Diners can eat at the church or take the food to go. The dinners are a fund-raiser for children who attend Catholic schools. For more information, call 316-838-5750.

As for Lenten fish feasting, here are a couple of options I’ve recently discovered:

The Red Barn in Goddard, home of the Friday Fish Fry buffet.

The Red Barn, a cool little family-run business at that specializes in barbecue, Mexican food and breakfast, is putting on a fish-fry buffet from 3 to 8 p.m. every Friday during Lent. The buffet includes hand-breaded fried catfish, smoked salmon lemon butter pasta and sides for $12.99 a person. The Red Barn is a bit of a drive — it’s on the east side of Lake Afton (technical address: 24401 W. MacArthur Road, Goddard.) But it’s worth it. I enjoyed the rib and tamale feast I had there last year. You can see the full menu here.

Also, I’ve learned that Pig In Pig Out, the barbecue restaurant at  1003 E. 13th St., is serving a killer smoked lemon pepper salmon on Fridays through Lent. It’s a big hit, said manager K.J. Huelsman, and it often goes quickly on Fridays. “People wait all year for it,” he said. Pig In Pig Out is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays.

Dining adventure: The Red Barn

Michael Rodriguez and some Red Barn ribs.

On Friday night, a few friends and I decided we were in the mood for a dining adventure.

We decided to eat in a barn. The Red Barn, to be specific.

The Red Barn is a restaurant on the east side of Lake Afton (technical address: 24401 W. MacArthur Road, Goddard.) It was taken over by the Rodriquez family a year ago. Gerard Rodriquez, who had culinary training at Johnson County Community College, and his father, Michael open the place to the public a few days a week, selling barbecue, tamales, tacos and breakfast on weekend mornings.

Winter hours are pretty abbreviated, and when we arrived at 7 :15 on Friday, the place had just closed. But Gerard and Michael invited us in to enjoy the tamales and barbecue they still had left over while the family cleaned up the restaurant. It was all so good, we happily forked over $15 for a dozen tamales to-go.

Mmmmm. Tamales.

The inside of the barn was quaint, featuring a fireplace and a log cabin feel, with wood everywhere. It’s available for rental for weddings and other private parties.

I’m really looking forward to visiting this summer. In May, the family is planning an outdoor music festival. (Apparently there’s a zip line outside, too.)

For now, hours are 3 to 7 p.m. on Fridays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-794-3320.