Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita restaurants team up for April Fool’s Day, gross customers out

Wichita restaurants team up for stomach-turning April Fool's Day joke

No, Manna Wok and Reverie did not actually make a kimchi latte. Thank goodness.
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No, Manna Wok and Reverie did not actually make a kimchi latte. Thank goodness.

I saw several restaurants attempt April Fool’s Day jokes on Saturday. (Pro tip: Don’t pretend you’re closing, even on April 1.)

But no restaurant went to the extensive, hilarious effort of Andrew Gough and his team at Reverie Coffee Roasters, 2611 E. Douglas, who produced an April Fool’s Day online commercial for what they said was their new drink: A daring, disconcerting and frankly disgusting kimchi latte.

Those who eat Korean food should have known right away that the video was a joke. Kimchi is essentially fermented cabbage, an acquired taste, and in no universe would it mix well with espresso.

But there is Gough, straight-faced and earnest, describing the concept and creation of Reverie’s new drink. He even got Manna Wok owner Kye Chon in on the gag.

“Kimchi is one of those things where it’s kind of ferement-y, it’s kind of spicy, it kind of comes from an container and it embodies that kind of stinky desire to be one of a community, all in a can – really in a jar,” Gough deadpans to the camera.

Last week, Gough and his employees were brainstorming ideas for an actual April drink when the idea of an April Fool’s Day spoof came up. Longtime employee Tom Murrilo had a suggestion: A kimchi latte.

They came up with tons of elaborate ideas but wanted to be careful not to suggest that kimchi itself was disgusting. Gough went to Manna Wok over lunch for a mock interview with Chon.

The Reverie crew actually made a kimchi latte for filming purposes, and you have to see the cabbage being dunked and stirred into the dark brown coffee to appreciate the full revulsion of it all.

Reverie employee Chayne Sturgeon volunteered to taste the finished product on camera. He tries to pretend it’s delicious, but his face gives him away. (Gough himself was not the least bit interested in a sample.)

“He told me, ‘A little part of me died in that scene,’” Gough said.

Reverie shared the video, put together by local video maker Jacob Prickett, on Facebook on Saturday morning, and I joined in the fun, too. Very few people seemed to fall for the gag, but just in case, Gough said he’s given his staff instructions.

“If they came in and order it legit, we’re giving them a free cup of of coffee,” he said.

Someone might order it legit?

Let that ferment for a bit.

At least 5,000 photos, captured over 20 years by Kye Chon, are a record of her affection for her customers. (Denise Neil/The Wichita Eagle/Feb. 4, 2016)

People turned out to get free coffee from Reverie Coffee Roasters as part of a promotion for “Gilmore Girls” in observation of the 16th “Gilmoreaversary” of the show, which aired its first episode on Oct. 5, 2000. (October 5, 2016) video by Denise