Dining With Denise Neil

Food you might not expect in the mall is coming to Towne East Square

Towne East will soon have a healthy restaurant with a Venezuelan twist.
Towne East will soon have a healthy restaurant with a Venezuelan twist. The Wichita Eagle

Malls have long been known as places to get pizza, fast Chinese food, Orange Julius and doughy Auntie Anne’s pretzels.

But Wichita’s Towne East Square is about to get an unusual new option: a health-food place with a Venezuelan twist.

Laura Bello plans to open The Green Place on Saturday in the space just vacated by Beard Papa’s, a cream puff store that had operated on the upper level of the mall, just outside Dillard’s, since 2013.

Bello said her restaurant will be a “healthy concept” that will offer salads, smoothies and detox juices. But it will also focus on a healthy version of a dish popular in Venezuela, where Bello grew up.

She’s calling them teques, and they’re her version of tequenos — hot pieces of cheese that are wrapped in pastry and deep fried then served with a guava sauce.

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Tequeños are deep fried, breaded pieces of cheese that are popular in Venezuela. A new Wichita restaurant will serve a version called teques, but they’ll be baked instead of fried. Roberto Koltun El Nuevo Herald

Bello said her version of the treat will be baked instead.

“You cannot find them anywhere in Wichita,” she said.

Bello said she has lived in Wichita for two years but that she also owns restaurants offering similar menus in Venezuela and in Panama.

She said she hopes her new restaurant will offer an alternative for people who don’t want the standard mall fare.

“There are not many healthy places that you could go to in the mall,” she said. “You’ll just find junk food and fast food. This is a good option for you.”

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