When The Anchor opened in the fall of 2004, it took off quickly.
It wasn't long before the bar, conveniently located adjacent to Old Town at 1109 E. Douglas, started drawing a hip beer-drinking crowd and earning a reputation as the place to be after work and late at night.
Since then, the Anchor — owned by Schane Gross — has doubled in size, eliminated smoking and become known for its food, which is simple enough to appeal to fans of bar fare but sophisticated enough to earn the respect of the local food crowd.
Recently, Gross hired executive chef Ben George, a 29-year-old with a culinary school degree, to help cement her bar's place on Wichita's restaurant scene.
"We're really becoming known more as a restaurant than a bar," said George, noting that food now far outsells alcohol.
This weekend, the Anchor will add to its culinary appeal with the reintroduction of breakfast, which it briefly served a few years ago. George has created a menu that will be served from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Sundays and includes dishes such as tuna Nicoise salad, eggs Benedict made with smoked pork loin, biscuits and gravy, a smoked salmon and sweet potato hash and more.
When George started at the Anchor five months ago, he inherited a menu filled with already popular items. The Anchor has become famous for its sweet potato fries, burgers, quesadillas, tacos and Philly cheese steak sandwiches.
He left the menu unchanged but began offering daily specials, sometimes including wacky burgers topped with everything from macaroni and cheese to peanut butter.
George, who shares his boss's enthusiasm for beer, also has begun offering beer tastings and beer dinners, where he uses his culinary skills to pair beer and food.
He also is planning to introduce a separate dinner menu with fare a little more evening-appropriate than just burgers and sandwiches.
And George made it a priority to fix one of the Anchor's most notorious problems — slow service. He made changes that he says now make it possible for diners to get in and out in 45 minutes, especially at lunch.
"I'm all about taking that place and trying to make the business better," he said.
If you go
What: A downtown Wichita bar and restaurant
Where: 1109 E. Douglas, 316-260-8989
Food served: Until 10 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 9 p.m. on Sundays.
* Breakfast: Starting Saturday and served from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to noon Sundays.
* Beer tasting: With various tapas paired with beers at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Call 316-260-8989 for reservations.