Dining With Denise Neil

Customers buzzing about three just-opened Mexican restaurants in the Wichita suburbs

Rio Grill and Cantina recently opened in Andover and is getting good reviews.
Rio Grill and Cantina recently opened in Andover and is getting good reviews.

You could try a new Mexican restaurant in Wichita every week for a year and probably still not get through all of them.

It doesn’t stop in Wichita, either.

Over the past several weeks, readers have been telling me about three near-Wichita restaurants that are worth checking out.

Two are in Haysville: One of them opened in mid-December and the other has been open for a couple of years but just moved to a bigger space and added table service.

The other is in Andover and took over a space where a previously popular Mexican restaurant went out of business a year ago after it was seized for failure to pay taxes.

Here’s a look at the three near-Wichita Mexican restaurants that readers say are worth the short drives out of the city limits:

Rio Grill and Cantina, 119 W. Central, Andover: There’ve been good reports coming out of this new restaurant, which opened in mid-December in the space at 119 W. Central in Andover that was occupied by Las Palmas. That restaurant closed last February when it was seized for nonpayment of taxes. Rio has an owner out of Pittsburg, who completely remodeled the space. Manager Arturo Villanueba describes Rio as “ a little upscale,” and the menu is full of items like flaming queso fundido, shrimp tacos, steak fajitas and table-side guacamole. It also has a full bar. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays.

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The former Las Palmas restaurant in Andover has been remodeled and opened as Rio Grill and Cantina, a restaurant that’s earning good reviews since opening in mid-December. Courtesy photo

El Azteka, 111 N. Main, Haysville: This new restaurant just opened in mid-December on Haysville’s Main Street in the building that previously held Mi Casa. It’s owned by Jose Ayala, who also owns the La Hacienda in Derby and Wichita. The menu has things like fajitas, chimichangas and burritos, a manager said. El Azteca doesn’t have its liquor license yet but will soon. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 316-351-5411.

El Azteca is the new Mexican restaurant operating in the former Mi Casa space in Haysville. Courtesy photo

La Pasadita Grill, 424 W. Grand: This Mexican restaurant just relocated to the former Kwik Shop building at 424 W. Grand a few weeks ago, but it had operated for two years in a much smaller space next door. It went from having seven tables to 22, and it now has tableside service as well. The restaurant is owned by Chicago transplant Cecilia Karina Marchan and her husband, Jafet Marchan, who went to culinary school in Mexico and heads the kitchen. Customers rave about their food, especially their smothered burritos, chimichangas and unique Mexican egg rolls. La Pasadita is still waiting on its liquor license, but Cecelia said they hope to have it soon. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-239-1503.

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.