Dining With Denise Neil

One of Wichita’s most popular beer-and-burger hangouts expands to east side this week

Thursday is the day that Wichita will get its second Dempsey’s Burger Pub – and the east-side will get quick access to one of the city’s most popular beer-and-burger hangouts.

Back in November, Dempsey’s owner Steven Gaudreau announced that he was taking over the spot at 550 N. Rock Road where piano bar Ernie Biggs was about to close. The space, which includes two levels, is perhaps best known as the longtime home of The Grape and The Shadow after that. It was also briefly home to Gaslamp Grille.

The east-side Dempsey’s will officially open on Thursday, and it will feature the same menu items offered at the original, which opened at 3700 E. Douglas in Clifton Square three years ago. But the east-side menu also will include a few extra dishes that Executive Chef Bill Crites can serve because the new kitchen is much bigger and more well-equipped. In addition to the usual list of burger, fries, salads and appetizers, Crites is offering east-side customers a pork belly BLT wedge salad, pork belly bites and chicken tenders.

He’s also come up with an appetizer that everyone who’s sampled the menu is talking about: kettle corn Brussels sprouts, made by frying the vegetable and mixing it up with kettle corn, goat’s milk caramel and smoked ham.

The managers have been working on a remodel of the space, and for now, they’ll use only the main dining area where customers first walk in the door. They’ve extended the bar and added a new bar face and bar top, have installed new floors and have painted and added lots of beer signs and murals.

Customer also can hang out on a large enclosed patio, where smoking will be allowed and where whiskey and whiskey cocktails will be served on tap. The patio will have heaters in the winter and a cooling system in the summer.

A second large downstairs space, which for now is hidden behind a giant sliding barn door, will be remodeled next and will serve as an overflow seating area. It also will be rented out for private parties and functions.

Within the next several months, managers also will renovate the upstairs space, which they envision as a separate evening cocktail lounge with high-end drinks. Managers are still working out the details.

The new Dempsey’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The kitchen will keep cooking until 10 p.m. on weekdays and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It’ll also serve a special brunch menu 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information, call 316-425-5024 And take a minute to watch our behind-the-scenes tour of the new space, taken earlier this week.