Dining With Denise Neil

New restaurant Crafted will bring an unusual combination to east Wichita

Opti-Life Health and Fitness Center to open in January

(FILE VIDEO -- SEPTEMBER 2017) Matt Lillie of Opti-Life Health and Fitness Center offers a sneak peek of the center under construction near 21st and Webb Road.
Up Next
(FILE VIDEO -- SEPTEMBER 2017) Matt Lillie of Opti-Life Health and Fitness Center offers a sneak peek of the center under construction near 21st and Webb Road.

Lots of coffee shops serve pastries. Some even have sandwiches and salads.

But a new east-side coffee shop set to open at the end of May will have a menu of non-typical coffee shop food.

Poke.

The owners of the west-side’s PokeMix Hawaiian Fusion are about to open an unusual new concept. It’ll be called Crafted: Coffee, Tea, Poke, and it’ll be a combination poke shop and fancy coffee house. It’ll be in a new strip center at 21st and Webb.

When owners Mike Brotemarkle, John Nguyen and Mike Nguyen first announced the plans for their east-side shop back in December, they had a different name in mind. They originally planned to call the place Coffee Werks & Poke. But they had second thoughts and even polled their customers via social media to see what they thought the name should be. (They voted to stick with the recognizable name PokeMix, which opened in 2017 in front of the Warren Theatre at 8918 W. 21st St.)

In the end, Brotemarkle said, the owners decided to trust their own instincts.

“Crafted’ fit what we were trying to do,” he said. “It was hard to blend the coffee and the poke side, and we were trying to show that we are not just poke. What we’re bringing to the table is a new brand, a new specialty shop.”

Crafted will have “a Starbucks vibe,” Brotemarkle said, with a modern interior, comfortable furniture, lots of electrical outlets, and a full menu of coffee and tea drinks.

poke mix courtesy.jpg
The owners of PokeMix are expanding to the east side. Courtesy photo

But it’ll also offer the same build-your-own poke concept that the west-side store has. Poke is a Hawaiian dish that features chunks of fresh fish, and at Poke Mix, customers create their own poke bowls by traveling down a Chipotle-style line and choosing which fish and toppings they want on top of a bed of rice. At Crafted, the owners also will be introducing a few specialty appetizers, including tuna tartarw, bone marrow and a Wagyu steak dish that will be torched in front of the customers.

Crafted, which is going into a brand new strip center just in front of Opti-Life and next to the new Andy’s Frozen Custard, will have seating for about 44 inside and another 24 on a patio in the front.

The owners hope the shop will draw crowds from the surrounding neighborhoods as well as from Wichita State University.

“We feel like there’s kind of a need for coffee in that area,” Brotemarkle said. “Even though there’s a Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts down the road, there’s really not a specialty coffee place around there.”

The owners plan to have Crafted open by May 31.

Poke, a popular Hawaiian dish with cubed raw fish & fresh ingredients has come to Kansas City. Kansas City Star food editor Jill Silva shares her thoughts on 5 dishes she tasted around town. Music "Lightless Dawn" by Kevin MacLeod/Incompetech.

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.
  Comments