It got kind of dicey during November and December for restaurants in Wichita. It seemed like every few days, there was news of another restaurant closing.
But then, while we were all busy baking cookies, roasting turkeys and prepping prime rib in our own kitchens over the holidays, several new restaurants quietly opened, and if you were busy living instead of checking social media, you might have missed them.
Here’s a handy list of the new eateries Wichita gained while you were distracted by the holidays.
Zoe’s Kitchen, 1441 N. Webb Road: This new restaurant, part of a national chain, opened the week before Christmas just in front of the Whole Foods at 13th and Webb. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant with a menu that offers salads, pita sandwiches, kabobs and bowls made with ingredients like chicken, orzo and “power grains.” It also is known for its sauces, which include a creamy Greek Tzatziki sauce and a citrus Israeli skhug. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 316-768-5920.
Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies, 1542 E. 61st St. Park City: The fried pies were popular when you had to drive halfway to Oklahoma City to get them. But now that new owners Herb and Amber Callender have bought the business and moved it to Park City, the fried pies are flying out the door. The shop opened on Dec. 21 and has been buzzing ever since. The fried hand pies are filled with sweet and savory stuffing, including bacon and egg, beef and veggie, pizza, peach, pineapple, chocolate cream and more. The owners experimented recently with making bierock versions of the pies, and their customers bought them all up immediately. The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 316-239-6283.
Samurai Sushi & Steakhouse, 2330 N. Maize Road: Las Trojas closed in late October, and just two months later, it had a replacement. Samurai Sushi & Steakhouse opened just before Christmas in the just vacated spot, which sits back off the road, behind the Dillon’s at 21st and Maize. The new restaurant is appropriate considering that years ago, the space was occupied by Kobe Steak House of Japan. The menu includes both sushi and hibachi meals. The restaurant, which is owned by restaurant veteran Biao Zhao, is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays. For more information, 316-636-7176.
Los Compadres Mexican Grill,, 3827 W. 13th St.: It’s not a new restaurant, but it’s in an all-new, much-improved spot. Los Compadres, which had operated in a small space at the corner of Central and Zoo Boulevard since June 2015, opened just days before Christmas in its new spot at 13th and West streets. The new home has more seating, a stone fireplace and a more cozy ambiance. Owners Carlos Renteria and Jaime Martinez, have a grand opening party scheduled for Saturday evening, with a ribbon cutting and a mariachi band. The new hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 316-558-8848.
Tacos Lopez, 2110 N. Maize Road: There’s now a second location of this popular fast-service Mexican restaurant, which has operated for years at 795 N. West St. The new one, which also has a drive-through, opened just before the new year near NewMarket Square. It has seating for about 40 and is open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight. For more information, call 316-260-5949.
The Bullpen by Club Rodeo, 222 N. Washington: This new sports bar, which serves chicken fried steak and bull fries, opened just after New Year’s in the spot vacated by Joe’s Oldtown Bar & Grill. It’s owned by Eric and Tracy Ragain, who have owned nightclub Club Rodeo for six years. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Tuesdays.
Keys Dueling Piano Bar, 216 N. Washington: Right next door to The Bullpen is a new dueling piano bar that opened on New Year’s Eve. It’s also owned by the Ragains and is open from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday evenings. The cover charge is $5. Patrons at Keys can order food from The Bullpen, so the kitchen will be serving until 1:30 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Grinning Goblin Gaming Tavern, 1625 S. Rock Road: Jennifer and Patrick Burton opened this long-awaited gaming bar on New Year’s Eve. It offers patrons the opportunity to play board games and video games, and it also has a menu of bar food. People must be 18 to enter. The hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays through Sundays and 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Thursdays. For more information, call 316-992-0300.
Starbucks, Central and Hillside: Wichita Starbucks fans generally agree that a near-College Hill shop has long been a necessity. And now, it’s a reality. Just after the new year arrived, Wichita’s newest Starbucks opened on the southwest corner of Central and Hillside, behind the Spangles and in a new strip center that faces Central. It has a drive-through and is sure to be frequented by staffers and patients’ family members from nearby Wesley Medical Center. The new Starbucks’ hours are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Kolace Dough Co. & Eatery, 8641 W. 13th St.: Husband and wife Mike Watkins and Jaci Katz opened this new bakery earlier this week in the Tyler-facing side of the colorful new Tyler Pointe strip center at 13th and Tyler that also has Bagel Haus, VietNom Nom and Hurricane Sports Grill. Their restaurant business serves kolaches, which are stuffed Czechoslovakian pastries. They have 23 different varieties of kolaches, most with savory or breakfast fillings and a few with sweet fillings. Diners also can order dipping sauces to go with their kolaches, including Ranch, honey mustard, salsa, cheese and Nutella. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. You can reach Kolace by calling 316-640-8804.
Chick N Max, 410 N. Hillside: Max Sheets, a local entrepreneur with years of restaurant experience, just opened the first of three already planned Chick N Max restaurants for Wichita. It’s in the former Freebirds World Burrito space at 410 N. Hillside, and its been open since Monday. The restaurant serves fried chicken fingers, chicken sandwiches and chicken wings. Wichita’s seen that menu plenty lately, but this new restaurant also serves smoked chicken, available in leg quarters or half chickens. A whole smoked chicken also is available with six hours advance notice. It also serves chicken and waffles, dipping sauces and sides like mac and cheese, Southern greens, white beans and cole slaw. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. A second Chick N Max is slated to open in the former Freebirds space at 21st and Greenwich in March (conspicuously close to the new Slim Chickens) and a 21st and Amidon location, near the Wendy’s at 1705 W. 21st St., should be ready to go this summer.