Mike’s Wine Dive joins Chester’s Chophouse in receiving Wine Spectator award

WICHITA — Mike’s Wine Dive has joined an exclusive club.

It has received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.

In the last few years, Chester’s Chophouse — which also won the award — has been the only Wichita restaurant to have the distinction.

A number of factors, such as the depth of a restaurant’s wine list, determine selection.

This is the first year for Mike’s, which opened in April 2010, to vie for the award.

“We were just getting going (last year) so it wasn’t something that I was ready to do yet,” says Brad Steven, Mike’s co-owner and wine director.

He’s already thinking about next year because he wants to increase his rating.

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Wink Hartman Sr. plans new restaurant for former Bella Donna space

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. is contemplating putting a new restaurant concept in his former Bella Donna space, which sits back from Webb Road just south of 21st Street.

“I will not deny that,” Hartman says.

“We’re working on the concept. It’s one of those things I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a typical Wink Hartman deal.”

So, you don’t know what you’re doing. Sure you want to say that in print?

“I don’t care. I’m not running for office anymore.”

And it’s not like the former congressional candidate is saying it will be an amateur attempt.

“Whatever it’s going to be, it’ll be the best.”

He says it won’t compete with his Chester’s Chophouse at the Waterfront.

“Chester’s is the best restaurant in the Midwest.”

Garozzo’s Ristorante was the first restaurant in the space and was open from 2003 to 2007.

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You don’t say

“They take it away from people, too.”

Chester’s Chophouse co-owner Bobby Lane, who says he worked hard and isn’t blase about earning the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence (the only Wichita restaurant to get the award this year) for the fifth straight year

Jeremy Wade plans ‘new American’ dining for remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel restaurant

WICHITA — Jeremy Wade is kicking off his Jeremy Wade Catering with a party tonight where he and business partner Ben Arnold of Corporate Catering of Wichita will discuss their catering businesses and the restaurant they plan for the remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel restaurant.

The restaurant will have 286 seats over two floors. The upper floor will have a bar overlooking the restaurant, which is scheduled to open in spring 2011.

Wade says he’ll offer “new American food,” which he describes as iconic American food made really, really well.

“It’s not going to be anything pretentious or frou frou,” Wade says.

He’s opting for an American menu rather than a Mediterranean or European menu because he feels those have been “played out” in Wichita.

“There’s not really a good American restaurant around except for Chester’s,” Wade says.

He plans to specialize with as much local produce and protein as he can.

Arnold says the “Drury people have just been fabulous through this whole thing,” but the restaurant will be independent of the hotel.

The restaurant will be situated on the northeast corner of the hotel on the Waco side, and Arnold says it won’t feel like a hotel restaurant.

“The restaurant is going to be a Wichitan restaurant first,” he says. “That’s where Jeremy comes in because of how well he is known.”

Wade hasn’t settled on a name yet.

Arnold would like to capitalize on Wade’s own well-known name by doing something like Jeremy Wade’s American Bistro.

“No, no, no,” Wade says. “I’m not that guy.”

He’s open to suggestions, though.

“Maybe we should have a contest.”

Hartman announces more Jimmy’s Egg plans

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. formally announced his bid for Congress today but still had time to talk business, too.

The seemingly always-busy Hartman is bringing another Jimmy’s Egg to Wichita and about 20 more to Houston.

First, the next Wichita restaurant.

Hartman and business partner Whitney VinZant will build their fifth Wichita Jimmy’s Egg at 47th and Broadway.

It’s not a done deal yet, but Hartman says, “Everybody’s agreed to agree.”

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Chester’s Chophouse wins Wine Spectator Award for the fourth straight year

WICHITA — For the fourth year in a row, Chester’s Chophouse has received the Wine Spectator Award.

Chef and co-owner Bobby Lane is hardly blase about earning the distinction (the only Wichita restaurant to have it) again.

He says it’s like when diners call him to their tables to say what a great meal they’ve had.

“It’s such a nice thing to hear,” Lane says.

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Wink Hartman Sr. makes changes at Hartman Arena

winkWICHITA — There are several changes at Hartman Arena, including the departure of one half of a well-known duo.

Jacque Wedel is no longer marketing and advertising manager.

Wedel and general manager John Nath both left the Kansas Coliseum to join Hartman Arena early last year prior to its opening in March of this year.

A few weeks before Wedel’s departure last week, Eric Blockie joined Hartman Arena as director of financial and marketing development.

Blockie is from the St. Louis area where he worked for Live Nation, the world’s biggest promoter.

“I just felt when Eric came on board, it was time for her to pursue other opportunities,” Wink Hartman Sr. says of Wedel.

Wedel couldn’t be reached for comment.

Hartman says Nath’s position isn’t affected.

“That’s what I hope,” he says.

Nath expresses the same sentiment when asked if he’s going anywhere.

“I hope not,” he says.

Hartman also is forming a new company, Hartmoor Concessions, to handle food and beverages at the arena.

He’s given Sodexo notice that he’ll be canceling his contract, effective in early September.

“We will have 100 percent control of the concessions,” Hartman says.

“It’s just my nature,” Hartman says of creating new companies to keep services in house.

“Yes, I will make more money,” he says. But he says he’ll also be able to offer better food and drink products. Hartman says he wants to expand the arena’s menu.

Sue Montalbano will run Hartmoor Concessions. She’s been pastry chef at Hartman’s Chester’s Chophouse for four years.

“So she’s got just a little bit of experience,” he says.

Hartman doesn’t have more changes to announce now, but that doesn’t mean he won’t in the future.

“We’re always trying to improve the arena,” he says. “We’re going to keep kicking it till we get it 100 percent right.

“I want it to be right.”

You don’t say

WICHITA – “If I had enough money, I’d buy the whole town. It’s so cute.”

Chester’s Chophouse co-owner and chef Bobby Lane on the town of Mulvane, which he occasionally visits while dining at Luciano’s Restaurant