Restaurante Burritos El Mexicano in south Wichita is a gem hidden inside an old circa-1950s drive-in diner. It falls into a familiar category of Mexican restaurants I love, which I’ll call “taco and burrito joint.” The menu is full of items similar to Lalo’s Express and Tacos Lopez. The typical offerings include tacos, burritos, tortas and breakfast burritos, as well as Americanized favorites. There’s no shortage of choices, and prices are very reasonable.
You’re a millionaire NFL star, and your aunt back in Wichita makes great wings.
Pho Cuong, a Vietnamese noodle soup restaurant in northeast Wichita, opened in September in a space that has held many restaurants over the years, Koi Fusion and Samurai Japanese Grill among them.
For years, I drove past the Cheezies Pizza at 3804 W. Maple. The giant “$4.99 pizza” sign spray-painted in the window told me all I needed to know about this place. I envisioned the worst possible convenience store pizza: freezer-burn-flavored crust, gloppy cheese and dried-up pepperoni.
I love ethnic hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and so should you. Their food is honest, the prices are affordable, and the people are friendly and appreciative. Wichita has many of these hidden treasures, one of which is the newly opened Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno. As the name implies, it specializes in treats from El Salvador.
The first thing you need to know about Merle’s Place is that there’s nothing corporate about it. Nothing corporate about the no-nonsense waitress who knows the menu backwards and forwards and is working the whole place by herself on a busy poker night. Nothing corporate about the well-worn but clean dive bar atmosphere with deep booths, dark wood tables and an old jukebox. And finally, there is nothing corporate about the food.
Wichita could use fewer – not more – chain restaurants serving steaks, seafood, salads, burgers and sandwiches. The city has so many, and more open every day, sometimes on the very same lot. (Kellogg and Rock’s trio of LongHorn Steakhouse, Logan’s Roadhouse and BJ’s Brewhouse comes to mind.)
Wichita can’t have enough restaurants serving delicious, authentic Mexican tacos made on two-ply homemade corn tortillas, filled with perfectly cooked meats and topped simply with diced onions and cilantro. Fans of Mexican food already can get excellent authentic versions of such tacos at Molino’s, Paleteria La Reyna, El Paisa and countless tiny taquerias up north.
When you pull in to the parking lot of Greenwich Plaza, you’ll see a liquor store, a massage parlor and a bar. Then you’ll spot Angela’s Cafe and Cantina No. 2.
Conventional thinking about the evolution of the taco puts its origins at the end of the 19th century, which is surprisingly recent for a dish that today serves as the foundation of Mexican cuisine.
I was giving my son a ride to his gym the other day and got stopped at the light at Lincoln and Oliver. When I glanced to my right, I noticed Ah So, and memories from the early ’80s came flooding back. After I realized how lucky I was to have survived that era, I remembered eating at Ah So a lot and enjoying it tremendously. I made a mental note to return soon to see if it had changed at all.
Back when arena proponents were trying to sell voters on the idea of building the place, they would frequently reference all the awesome restaurants and bars that would surely pop up around it.