Dining With Denise Neil

Four Wichita restaurants named on Food Network’s ‘Best of Kansas’ list

Food Network has always been in the business of publishing guides to each state’s best eats. Remember its 2013 guide to best ice cream shops, where Paleteria La Reyna earned a mention, and 2012’s list of best sandwiches, which featured My Tho?

Now, the network has come out with a list of the best foods to eat in every state, and several Wichita restaurants made the just-published Kansas list – The Anchor, Jimmie’s Diner, Scotch & Sirloin and The Kitchen among them.

Topeka-based freelance author Linda Ditch penned the guide to Kansas eating, which featured a list of 20 Kansas-esque dishes and instructions on where to get them. Among the dishes that made the list: barbecue ribs, chili and cinnamon rolls, pot roast, bierocks and pie. The headline: “Savor the Sunflower State: What to Eat in Kansas.”

Wichita, where Ditch visited in mid-July for some restaurant reconnaissance, earned mentions in the BLT, steak, cake and chicken fried steak categories.

Here’s a snippet of what the list said about each:

BLT (The Anchor): A BLT represents the best of Kansas summers. Crisp cool lettuce, a tomato warm from the garden and local bacon seasoned, smoked and then fried to its sizzling ideal. The Anchor in Wichita makes perhaps the best BLT in the state. Kansas-raised Red Wattle pork is made into applewood-smoked bacon next door at the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop. Instead of the typical lettuce, the chef uses local arugula to add a peppery bite, which also brings out the flavor of the tomato.

Chicken fried steak (Jimmie’s Diner): Diners abound in Kansas, and the dish of choice for those who visit should be chicken fried steak. Kansas diners, like Jimmie’s in Wichita, make some of the best chicken fried steak in the country. (Sorry, Texas!)

Steak (Scotch & Sirloin): In a state where cattle outnumber people two to one, steak is king — and it’s mighty tasty. Few places prepare steak more luscious that Scotch and Sirloin in Wichita. In business since 1968, the restaurant only serves Sterling Silver Certified beef that’s aged a minimum of 30 days to guarantee tenderness. Each steak is cut in-house and seared in a 1,600-degree broiler to make sure it is juicy and delectable.

Cake (The Kitchen): Go to any Kansas celebration, pot-luck or friendly gathering, and you’re likely to find cake. Some of the best can be had at The Kitchen in Wichita. Owner Natasha Gandhi-Rue’s husband, Scott, is a construction guy by day and a pastry chef by night, creating rich, luscious cakes that would please any sweets connoisseur.

The full list, which includes references to restaurants in Topeka, Kansas City, Pittsburg and Lawrence, can be found at foodnetwork.com. You also can peruse lists other states while there.

So what do you think? What dishes –and what restaurants –are missing from the list?

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