Dining With Denise Neil

Chisholm’s Beef & Ale House opening today with futuristic touch Wichita hasn’t seen

The new Chisholm’s Beef & Ale House is ready to open inside the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Wichita Airport, and when guests arrive for their first taste on Wednesday, they’ll be greeted with one of the most unique menus they’ve ever seen in Wichita.

And we’re not just talking about the food listed on it.

Everyone who dines at the restaurant, which replaces the longtime Legends restaurant in the hotel, will be presented with an iPad-like tablet after they’re seated. The tablet is loaded with the restaurant’s many menus, from wine to appetizers to lunch to dinner to dessert, and each entry is click-able. Once customers tap, they’ll see full-color photos of each dish so they know exactly what they’re getting, and they’ll also get beer and wine pairing suggestions.

It’s a pretty nifty service, and on a test-run, I noticed that the photos quite accurately represented what I ended up getting. Another cool feature of the menu: The restaurant’s wine selection can be searched by type of grape, country the wine comes from, even the wine’s appellation.

Customers who have come in for test runs have loved the new menus, said Rob Breeden, the hotel’s director of sales. Not only are the tablets more environmentally friendly, allowing the restaurant to change up the menu and add specials without constantly printing them out, but they’re also fun to use.

“People remark about how they like that the wine is already paired for them,” Breeden said. “That’s a big hit. They don’t even have to think about it.”

The food items listed on the menu are pretty interesting, too.

I stopped in to sample some of the lunch options recently, and I had some hard-to-forget short rib spring rolls, a flatbread topped with fig and prosciutto, and a serving of fish and chips. The lunch menu also includes several hearty sandwiches, salads and entrees like steak frites, crab mac and cheese and chicken fried steak.

The dinner menu lists several steaks plus beef short ribs, brick chicken, Colorado lamb, seared Diver scallops and a dish I can’t wait to try – short rib gnocchi.

Chisholm’s, which also serves breakfast and has 24 beers on tap, will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

On opening day on Wednesday, diners will be able to get into the restaurant’s western feel by visiting with some ranch animals on the way in, including a bull named Big Daddy, a mamma cow and four baby calves. The animals will be on display in a corral outside the restaurant until dusk on Wednesday.

Chisholm’s replaces, Legends, which for 25 years had served a Saturday-night seafood buffet filled with crab legs, shrimp, seafood crepes and more. That costly feature is gone, but managers are hoping customers will like the new restaurant, which underwent a $2.7 million renovation and features a wall of wine, an expo kitchen and modern furniture.

Watch our video above to see a demonstration of Chisholm’s high-tech new menu.

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