Dining With Denise Neil

A new place for healthy, gluten-free meals is about to open in Wichita

Celiac disease and how to manage it

(FILE VIDEO) Many Americans have a condition called celiac disease, which is an intolerance to wheat, barley and rye. Its symptoms can be subtle, but if you don't stick to a gluten-free diet, you could be damaging your body without even knowing it.
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(FILE VIDEO) Many Americans have a condition called celiac disease, which is an intolerance to wheat, barley and rye. Its symptoms can be subtle, but if you don't stick to a gluten-free diet, you could be damaging your body without even knowing it.

Downtown Wichita will get a little healthier in about a month.

That’s when Kira Ottaway Watt will open a satellite location of her year-old business Perfect Plate in the Garvey Center space that Reverie Coffee Roasters vacated in February after a year in business. The spot is on the lower level of the Garvey Center at 250 W. Douglas.

Watt hopes to have it open later this month or in early May.

Watt opened her first Perfect Plate a year ago at 5255 N. Maize Road, and — with the help of her husband, Doug Watt — she’s steadily built a clientele with her healthy prepared meals to go. She serves the same type of gluten-free, low-calorie meals she ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner when she lost 85 pounds several years ago — things like turkey meatloaf and Parmesan-crusted tilapia.

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Parmesan-crusted tilapia with brown rice and asparagus is the type of healthy, gluten-free prepackaged meal that Kira Ottaway Watt serves at Perfect Plate. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

The new shop will have a refrigerator that stocks those meals, which people can pick up to-go or heat and eat them in the shop. The difference with the satellite location, she said, is that it’ll also serve made-to-order gluten-free panini sandwiches, soups and salads plus a menu of coffee and espresso drinks.

“When I opened this, I always envisioned that I’d have satellite location, and that’s what Garvey is — a satellite of Perfect Plate Maize,” Watt said. “We’ll prepare our healthy meals here transport them over to Garvey.”

Watt says she expects to find clients both in the offices that occupy the Garvey Center and in the 250 Douglas Place apartments. She plans to give the space a fresh coat of paint and wants to hire artist Mark D. Pendergrass to create a custom mural for the space similar to the one he painted in the dining room of the Perfect Plate in Maize.

Hours at the new space will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and Watt said she’ll likely open for special occasions on Saturdays.

“It feels like it’s going to be a nice community,” she said. “That’s what I love about this location in Maize. I have so many regulars and that’s how I’ve been able to expand. I love people, and I love getting to know them.”

Watt also will be throwing a party on Saturday to celebrate Perfect Plate Maize’s first birthday.

It’ll happen from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and it will have face painters, free lemonade and gluten-free cake for attendees, and a buy-three-gone-one-free deal on Perfect Plate meals.

For more information, call 316-779-8800.

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.
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