Rock Island Cafe opens; three other restaurants closeBy Denise Neil
The Wichita Eagle
Three restaurant closings
Riverside Perk, 1144 N. Bitting: After 17 years in business, Perk owner Maggie Ballard closed the neighborhood coffee shop on May 31, leaving a sign on the door thanking customers for years of patronage. But Mike Corley, who owns the building, said he has new operators lined up who plan to take over at the beginning of July, remodel the space and reopen it with the same coffee shop concept.
Air Capital Steak House, 233 N. Mosley : Matthew Carr opened this restaurant in late March in the former Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill spot in Old Town. But the business started off with a string of bad luck, he said, including a deadly shooting on the doorstep on opening day. Despite good reviews from customers, it never really recovered, he said. Carr closed the doors a little more than a week ago and now is looking for other opportunities.
Hamburger Hero, 221 S. Broadway. Josh and Bri Sams moved their restaurant, known for its burgers and fresh-cut fries, from Park City to downtown Wichita in December. But a little more than a week ago, they closed the doors. The restaurant had faced a few tough business breaks, said Kyle Hughes, building owner. He is looking for another restaurant to put in the space and said he already has one lead.
Just opened: Rock Island Cafe
After almost a 20-year absence, the once-popular sandwich shop Rock Island Cafe has reopened. Kristen Teague, a former manager at the original Rock Island Cafe, reopened the restaurant a week ago in the space at 3236 N. Rock formerly occupied by Yogurt Xplosion. The original restaurant operated from 1985 until the mid-1990s in the space at 725 E. Douglas that famously housed the first incarnation of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen. Teague is recreating the whole experience, from the restaurant’s breakfast-and-lunch-only approach to the complete original menu.
She describes the restaurant as a “gourmet sandwich deli.” Her offerings include 11 pre-imagined sandwiches, such as the popular Conductor’s ham and turkey made with smoked Gouda, mayo, sliced tomato and lettuce on an onion bun, plus build-your-own sandwiches and sandwiches on pita. The restaurant’s hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Teague is offering delivery “pretty much anywhere,” she said, though she’d probably be reluctant to take a small order all the way to the west side. For more information or to place an order, call 316-260-5905.
Celebrity & Chef Cookoff
The 11th annual Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, a popular fundraising event for the Orpheum Theatre, is at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will feature teams of local celebrities and chefs teams competing “Iron Chef” style to come up with the best dish on the spot. A secret ingredient is revealed at the beginning of the contest. This year’s chefs include Nathan Toubia of Bocconcini Italian Eatery, Peter Moretti of the Wichita Marriott, Kevin Derks of Newport Grill, defending champ Jason Febres of Taste and See and more. Among the celebs who’ve agreed to help cook: U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo and Jody Horner, president of Cargill Meat Solutions. The Eagle’s Bonnie Bing will emcee. The event, which also will include tasting tables, adult beverages, prize drawings and auctions, will be at the Wichita Marriott Hotel, 9100 E. Corporate Hills Dr. Tickets are $75 a person, available at www.wichitaorpheum.com or by calling 316-263-0884.
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