Restaurant News & Reviews

Healthy food, tasty food

Wichita is known for its deep-fried, cheese-covered, the-bigger-the-better restaurant meals.

But a few restaurateurs are taking a different approach, trying to prove that food doesn't have to be fat- and sugar-laden to taste good.

Here is a look at a few Wichita-area restaurants that specialize in making food that's good for you taste good, too:

Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie

613 W. Douglas, 316-295-4133

When owner Jacquelyn Keefer was hiring a chef for her creperie, she had trouble finding one who embraced her no-white-flour, no-sugar vision.

But veteran Wichita chef James Butler agreed to give it a try, and now he's offering a menu largely filled with savory crepes made with organic, locally grown whole-wheat flour.

The restaurant uses Xylitol sweetener or honey in its baked goods and sweet crepes. Keefer also banned beef and pork from the menu, opting instead for leaner chicken, turkey and seafood.

Making healthy food isn't just about what's not used, Keefer said. There also has to be a focus on using fresh, locally grown, organic, hormone-free ingredients.

"People have to understand when we talk about something being healthy, it doesn't just mean it's a low-calorie item or a low-fat item or that it has no sugar in it," she said. "It's all about the fact that what you're putting into the product offers so many nutrients to your body."

Lotus Leaf hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Wild Thyme Cafe and Bakery

5255 N. Maize Road, 316-729-6200

Almost any type of special diet can be accommodated at Wild Thyme Cafe, which Jody Briceland opened in November.

She specializes in gluten-free dishes, including sandwiches made on gluten-free bread. But she also has sugar-free, dairy-free and raw offerings, including a cheeseless cheesecake.

Briceland doesn't use MSG or processed foods.

Though she makes dishes in a traditional style, she tries to introduce a healthy twist. A recent bread pudding was made with eggs and heavy cream but with whole-wheat bread. She serves bacon, but it's uncured and nitrate free. She uses herbs to enhance flavor rather than salt and makes salads using organic greens.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.


1812 S. Seneca, 316-295-4498

This cafe opened last year, featuring healthy food made by a classically trained chef.

He specializes in food that's free of animal products, meaning no meat, no dairy products and no transfat. An example of a recent special: a saffron-quinoa stuffed pepper.

The space also includes a small health-food market, and it offers cooking classes and occasional evening dinners by reservation.

It's open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through Fridays and is closed on Saturdays.

Greenacres Market

8141 E. 21st St., 316-634-1088

The health food store has an attached deli that offers an organic salad bar and daily specials. An example of a recent menu: organic sweet Italian chicken sausages with peppers and onions; grass-fed organic beef meat loaf; and vegetarian-stuffed eggplant.

O' Naturals

1551 N. Rock Road, 316-634-0222

This spot opened inside Genesis Health Club in 2006, but the restaurant is open to anyone.

Its menu centers around its homemade vegan, organic wheat bread, which is used to make sandwiches, pizzas, croutons and more.

There's also a daily vegan or vegetarian soup, several salads and smoothies. O'Naturals also can accommodate those wanting gluten-free foods.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.