The Wichita River Festival, which in past years would have been wrapping up right now, moved its dates to early June and made several other changes, including mixing up food offerings. Here's a look at what will be different at this year's festival, scheduled for June 3 through 11.
1. The WaterWalk Pavilion: A new venue at the Wichita River Festival, meant to attract young professionals, is the WaterWalk Pavilion. It will feature food from area restaurants offered nightly under a large tent, accompanied by music from a local band and adult beverages aplenty. An example of the lineup: Saturday, June 4, will have food from Carlos O'Kelly's and music from Grateful Not to Be Dead. Thursday, June 9, will have Cajun food made by the Hyatt's Harvest Kitchen & Bar and music by the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band.
2. New spot for main food court: The main food court, which for years has been set up just east of Century II, will move west of Century II into A. Price Woodard Park and will have several of the usual vendors, from Chan's Concessions (maker of chicken on a stick) to Tad's Bodacious Burritos. One new vendor: Grillin' Skillet, featuring hot links, brisket sandwiches, turkey legs and Kettle fried taters.
3. Extra food courts: The River Festival will beef up its food court at what was formerly known as the West Bank Stage and is now called the Kansas Star Music Park at West Bank. It'll have seven vendors, including Original Corn Roast and F&J Catering, which will offer Bavarian treats from bratwurst to Polish knockwurst with kraut. Exploration Place, where several children's activities will be staged, also will have a mini food court offering hot dogs, funnel cakes and slushes.
A wine dinner, a beer dinner
Wichitans will have two opportunities next week to educate themselves on wine and beer and the foods that make them sing. On Tuesday, Yia Yia's Eurobistro at 8115 W. 21st St. will offer a four-course, $65-a-person wine dinner featuring the Paraiso winery. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Call 316-634-1000 for reservations. Wednesday is the day for Newport Grill's Tallgrass Beer Dinner. The restaurant at 1900 N. Rock Road will charge $50 a person for a five-course meal, which will pair Tallgrass beers with dishes such as butter-poached halibut and cocoa-glazed beef tenderloin. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. Call 316-636-9555 for reservations.
A year of The Red Barn
The Red Barn, the Lake Afton restaurant at 24401 W. MacArthur Road, will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a hog roast scheduled for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The event will include an all-you-can-eat buffet with red beans and rice, greens, cooked cabbage, macaroni and cheese and more. It's $10.99 for adults, half-price for children 11 and under.
The Anchor reopening
The Anchor at 1109 E. Douglas is set to reopen at lunch today after a three-day shutdown during which new chef Doug Pitts and owner Schane Gross cleaned the kitchen, added new equipment and addressed plumbing issues. They also used the time to re-examine their front-of-the-house management, which has led to service issues in recent months. When the restaurant reopens at 11 a.m. today, customers will notice a few new menu items, although Pitts promises that he's keeping all of the restaurant's popular staples. He plans to eventually introduce three separate menus: dinner, lunch and brunch.