Finding Lou’s Charcuteria and Cocktails in Old Town felt like finding the final prize in a scavenger hunt. Tucked between the railroad tracks and Intrust Bank Arena in the former Walkers location, Lou’s is bringing the charcuterie trend to Wichita.
For those unfamiliar with charcuterie, it is a plate or cutting board filled with cured meats that are paired with delicate cheeses, crackers, breads, pickled and fresh fruits or vegetables and spreads to create various combinations of textures and flavors.
Lou’s owned by Luis “Big Lou” Lopez II, who also has Emerson Biggin’s and Rock Island Live downtown and the Emerson Biggin’s on the west side. He opened the restaurant in December with his daughter, Erica.
Lou’s has a limited menu of appetizers, charcuterie boards, sandwiches, salads and soup. It offers six charcuterie boards, each with a different variety of meats and cheeses, and even a cheese board for vegetarians. We started our meal with a house salad, which wasn’t extraordinary, but it was a decent portion of mixed greens topped with feta cheese, pistachios, dried cranberries and house vinaigrette.
Our favorite dish was the Venezuelan pork sandwich. Served on a cutting board, the sliced and toasted baguette was topped with rich, buttery roasted pork, a mild yet flavorful chimichurri sauce, garlic aoli and a sprinkling of soft cotija cheese. The sandwich was served with a large portion of plain potato chips and a small sweet pickle.
We also ordered the Italian board, which cost $18. Make sure you bring a friend, or three, to share the marinated tomatoes, marinated green and Kalamata olives, pickled onions, sweet pickles, slices of bread, pretzels and crackers, fresh mozzarella cheese, pecorino Romano cheese, norcino salami, Italian sausage, Italian salami, and dollops of ground mustard and garlic aoli. Our favorites on the board were the Romano cheese and the salty norcino salami.
Based on the restaurant’s name, we expected Lou’s to be serving up an extensive menu of craft cocktails, but the list of draught and bottled beers trumped the cocktail menu. We saw only a few cocktails listed at the bottom of the menu.
The interior has a Western, saloon-like feel, left over from Walkers, and doesn’t set the restaurant apart from many other similar-looking Old Town establishments. We dined at the restaurant on a Friday evening during an event at the arena, and although there were a few other tables, the enormous building felt empty.
Our server was friendly and attentive and was able to explain each of the meats and cheeses on the boards. Although parking can be tricky during events at the arena, Lou’s is worth the hunt and is a great place to meet up with friends after work or before or after an arena event.
Ratings reflect the critic’s judgment of the food, service and atmosphere in relation to the price. If you would like to nominate a restaurant to be reviewed, call 316-268-6327.
Lou’s Charcuteria and Cocktails
Where: 220 S. Commerce, 316-440-5060
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Saturdays; closed Sundays and Mondays
Type of food: Charcuterie, appetizers, salads, sandwiches
Price range: Appetizers range from $3-$6. Charcuterie boards range from $18-$22 with the option to add meats and cheeses for $4 an ounce. Sandwiches range between $8-$10.
Alcohol: Full bar