Dining With Denise Neil

An Italian chef will run the kitchen at Wichita’s soon-to-open European restaurant

Giovanni D’angelo, who was born and raised in Milan, just relocated from Kansas City to head the Vora Restauant European kitchen.
Giovanni D’angelo, who was born and raised in Milan, just relocated from Kansas City to head the Vora Restauant European kitchen. The Wichita Eagle

Brothers Brad and Brent Steven are close to opening their slick new Vora Restaurant European on the ground floor of Uptown Landing, the new highrise apartment building at Douglas and Rutan.

The signs are now up on the building, which sits just across the street from the Hillcrest Apartments, and people who drive past can see crews busy at work with the finishing touches.

Brad Steven said this week that he anticipates the restaurant will open just after the first of the year, and the brothers have taken an important step toward making sure that happens: hiring an Italian chef.

Giovanni D’angelo, a Milan-born chef who has spent the last 30 years cooking in Kansas City, just relocated to Wichita this week. He’ll bring his big-city training to the kitchen at Vora, where he says he is constructing a menu that’s influenced mainly by France and Italy but that also has German, Greek and Spanish dishes.

D’angelo, who most recently worked as a chef for the Hyatt in Kansas City, said he was looking for a new kitchen challenge and found the Vora job listed online. He was impressed when he read about all of the Wine Spectator awards the Steven brothers have won at their existing restaurants.

“I sent them my resume, and they called me,” he said. “I liked them and they liked me. They are down-to-earth people. They know what they want. They are professionals.”

Vora Restaurant European will open in a few weeks at Douglas and Rutan. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

D’angelo, who also worked in Kansas City for Garozzo’s, said he is close to finishing the menu and has been coming to Wichita several days a week for the past month to work on his recipes in the kitchen at Wine Dive, which the Steven brothers also own.

He said he’s excited to get into his new kitchen at Vora and get to work.

“We are here to do a very good job,” he said. “We are here to stay, and failure is not an option.”

The restaurant will seat 188 people inside and also has a large patio facing the Hillcrest. It will have an open kitchen, a wine cellar and two private dining rooms. The decor is light and bright with gray and white finishes.

The Steven brothers, who also own The Hill Bar & Grill, have said Vora was inspired by some of the foods they’ve fallen in love with while traveling in Europe.

Vora will be open for lunch and dinner and will have a brick pizza oven, house-made pasta and entrees made with lamb, veal, chicken, salmon and more.

I’ll let you know when Vora has a firm opening date.