Dining With Denise Neil

Exciting dining addition to Riverfest

Sometimes, the Wichita River Festival wears me out. (I’ve only been covering it for 13 years, ya know.)

But one thing I always love about the festival is the food (which I’ve been reviewing for 13 years, ya know.) I’ve come to love some of the annual offerings, and each year I can’t wait for my Tad’s Bodacious Burrito or tray full of deep fried dill pickle spears (with dipping sauce.)

This year, the festival is offering a new type of food court that could be very cool. The Waterwalk Pavilion will be set up nightly on the lawn near the Hyatt fountains. Under a huge tent, a local restaurant will sell food, and nearby, a local band will perform. Adult beverages will be served, and a new rule allows partakers to walk with their drinks in hand along the river.

The festival is trying to attract a young professional crowd with the new event, and if I count as a young professional, their efforts are probably going to work on me. Following is the schedule festival president Janet Wright sent me. They’re still trying to find a few restaurants to fill in on certain nights, but I plan to be there for sure on June 9 and June 11.

Saturday, June 4

6 – 9:30 p.m. – Grateful Not to Be Dead6 – 8 p.m. – Carlos O'Kelley's Mexican CaféChicken Burrito Wrap with Beans, Chips & Salsa, $10Chili Con Queso with Chips & Salsa, $10Carlos Nachos Supreme, $7

Sunday, June 5

6 p.m. – Rachelle Coba Band6 – 8 p.m. – BBQ from the world-famous Wichita Wagonmasters grillBBQ Brisket Sandwich, Cole Slaw & Baked Beans, $8BBQ Brisket Sandwich, Brat, Cole Slaw & Baked Beans, $10

Monday, June 6

7:30-8:45 pm – Flatland String BandRestaurant TBA

Tuesday, June 7

7:30-8:45 pm – Walnut River String Band6 – 8 p.m. – TrufflesChoice of meatball sub or chicken parmigiana sub, pasta salad, chips, cookies, $7Choice of pasta Caesar salad, garlic bread, roasted potatoes with vegetables, brownies $10

Wednesday, June 8

7:15-8:45 pm – Swing Daddies6 – 8 p.m. – Caffe ModerneChicken Veggie Wrap with salad, chips & cookie, $10Southwest Veggie Wrap with salad, chips & cookie, $10

Thursday, June 9

6-8:45 pm – Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band6 – 8 p.m. – Hyatt Harvest Kitchen & BarChoice of dirty or white rice, chicken and Andouille sausagejambalaya, crawfish & pepperjack cornbread, $8

Friday, June 10

6-9:30 pm – Mumblin' Jones6 – 8 p.m. – Toni D'sBeef & pulled pork sliders, $10Vegetarian sliders, $10Both served with potato chips, choice of potato salad orItalian pasta salad & homemade cookie

Saturday, June 114:30-6:30 pm – Smugglin' Yo-Yos7:00-9:45 pm – Ten Day WishRestaurant TBA


Pepsi Products                     $3 or 2/$5.00

Budweiser                                          $4.00

Craft Beer                                          $4.00

Wine & Specialty Drinks            $5.00