Donation-only Kiln warms the stomach and soul

06/13/2012 5:00 AM

06/13/2012 3:30 PM

There’s no such thing as a free meal, but Wichita may have gotten a little closer.

At The Kiln, a new restaurant and music venue at 110 S. Hillside, there aren’t any prices displayed. After my recent dinner there, I was excited to see the concept of a donation-only restaurant come to Wichita.

The Kiln is a nonprofit that operates as part of the Freedom At Last Ministries, a “26-year-old not for profit organization devoted to spreading the liberating message of Jesus …” There’s no check for your meal, but you will find a small brown envelope where you may leave a donation. That amount is up to you and works completely on the honor system.

The Kiln is at the southeast corner of Hillside and Douglas, in the space formerly run as C. Major’s Rockin’ Daddy’s. On a recent Friday, we walked over on a perfectly temperate evening into what felt like an old aunt’s country home.

A red leather sofa stitched with horse heads, a worn old piano and a collection of African safari lion art were just some of the eclectic items that created the backdrop to small, quaint, black-and-white checkered tables. We seated ourselves and watched that evening’s band set up. There is live music every Friday and Saturday night.

A shy waiter took our orders from a brief menu. Again, like an old aunt’s home, the choices were few. A chicken salad sandwich with chips (which they were out of), ham and cheese lavash with chips (which I ordered), a hot ham and cheese on rye with chips or a double-decker PB&J.

Our meals were served minutes later in plastic baskets lined with wax paper. My lavash was the best thing at our table. Wrapped in a soft and bright spinach tortilla, the ham, cheese and red peppers were sweet and tangy. The peppery flavor of the rye bread was excellent with the hot ham and cheese.

Other menu options include a choice of cereal with milk, chips and salsa or veggies and dip, as well as an assortment of baked desserts and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.

As The Kiln is a ministry, it’s a family-friendly establishment for a weekend night out that won’t cost you very much.

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