Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita is smoking Kansas City so far in this ‘best barbecue’ contest

USA Today’s quest to find the 10 Best everything continues, and now it’s turned its focus to barbecue in Kansas — a touchy subject for ‘cue masters in Wichita who live in the shadow of Kansas City, known for and wide as a barbecue mecca.

Remarkably, though, a Wichita restaurant — When Pigs Fly at 7011 W. Central — was at last check leading one of Kansas City’s most popular barbecue places — Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que — in a reader’s choice contest that in a few weeks will narrow a field of 20 nominees to 10 “Best Barbecue in Kansas” winners.

People have until 11 a.m. on June 3 to vote in the poll, and they can vote once a day. The field of 20 nominees curated by the poll’s authors actually includes five Wichita restaurants. As of Thursday afternoon, When Pigs Fly had the most votes, and Bite Me BBQ was at No. 6, B&C was at No. 10, Delano Barbecue Company was at No. 11 and The Angry Elephant was at No. 15.

The rest of the list was made up of favorites from the Kansas City area, Topeka, Lawrence, Hutchinson and more.

When Pigs Fly at 7011 W, Central, owned by Brian and Kendra Choy, was leading not only Joe’s but also Jack Stack Barbecue in Overland Park. The owners have been drumming up support — and votes — on the restaurant’s Facebook page this week.

This is not the first time Wichita has been nominated by the ongoing poll. Earlier this year, Botanica’s annual Christmas light display Illuminations won a spot on a list of the country’s 10 “Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights.” Then, Revolutsia was ranked among the country’s top 10 “Favorite New Food Halls.”

To keep When Pigs Fly in the lead — to vote for another favorite on the list — go here to vote. The winners will be announced on June 14.

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.