Dining With Denise Neil

Owners of this Wichita restaurant tried to close it down, but customers weren’t having it

Restaurants Wichita lost in 2018

Beloved Wichita restaurants that closed their doors in 2018.
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Beloved Wichita restaurants that closed their doors in 2018.

Sometimes, a restaurant tries to close but its fans just won’t let it happen.

That appears to be the case with Kanai, the sushi restaurant whose owners announced late last month that they were closing the dining room after nine years in business at 12111 W. Maple. They planned to continue catering, they said at the time.

The announcement, however, did not go over well with longtime fans of the restaurant, which many considered to be the best sushi restaurant in town. Now, the owners are planning to partially reopen by offering carryout orders several times a week at both lunch and dinner.

“It had a big, big impact on everybody,” said Mari Kanai, who ran the restaurant with her chef-husband David Kanai. “It was almost sad to hear some people saying, ‘Oh my goodness. Please, please don’t do this to us.’”

The Kanais decided they would begin offering a special menu available for carryout Tuesdays through Saturdays most weeks. Mari Kanai said she will post the hours on Facebook each Monday. The carryout hours will be scheduled around their catering jobs.

This week, carryout will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Orders must be placed by 10 a.m. for lunch and by 3 p.m. for dinner by sending a private message to the restaurant via Facebook.

An example of “snacky size” sushi orders from Kanai’s new carryout service Courtesy

You can see the carryout menu below. The Kanais are offering an extra “snacky size” four-piece roll for people who order lunch for five or more or dinner that costs over $40.

For now, pickup will be at the restaurant, but Mari Kanai said she is in the process of trying to find pickup locations near downtown Wichita and on the east side as well. She wants to make it as easy as possible for customers to get their carryout orders.

A possibility in the works: A Kanai food truck that would be stocked with some of Chef Kanai’s specialties that it could dispense around town. I’ll keep you posted.

Listen to our daily briefing on Google Home or Alexa:

Kanai carryout menu

Snacky Size- 4 PIECES EACH

A) CrabAvo roll: $4.50- crab mix and avocado

B) Spicy Tuna roll: $4.50

C) Philly: $4.75- smoked salmon, avocado and cream cheese

D) Mucho: $5.50- spicy crab mix with tempura crunchy and unagi sauce

E) Majide: $5.75- spicy tuna, avocado, topped with crunchy, jalapeno and unagi sauce

F) Fisherman’s Wharf: $5.75- crab mix, shrimp and masago wit salmon

G) Roppongi: $5.75- spicy tuna, shrimp with spicy tuna, masago and green onion

H) CALI2: $4.75- crunchy crab and avocado

Grownup Size- 8 PIECES/Full size

I) Harmony: $9.25- color bell pepper, cream cheese, asparagus tempura

J) Golden Bear(5 pc): $10.75- fried spicy tuna and cream cheese

K) Kawaii: $11.25- shrimp tempura with crab mix

L) WSU: $11.25- crab mix and avocado with cream cheese and QP mayo

M) Yamato: $11.50- crab, avocado and shrimp tempura with sauce

N) Pumpkin: $11.50- spicy tuna, avocado with cream cheese and seaweed salad

O) Bon Appetit(5pc): $11.50- spicy tuna, avocado, shrimp tempura with masago

P) West End: $11.75- snapper pablo fried topped with spicy tuna, jalapeno, spicy mayo

Q) Soft Shell Crab: $12.75- deep fried soft shell crab with masago

R) Flat Land Dream: $14.95- crab mix, cream cheese, bay scallop, shrimp with chopped albacore, sriracha and ponzu

S) Kinkakuji: $14.95- crab mix& avocado with shrimp, unagi, salmon, spicy tuna, albacore, etc.

T) Shinjyuku(5pc): $14.95- crab mix, shrimp, unagi with spicy tuna and avocado, unagi sauce

U) Dragon Roll: $14.95- crab mix and avocado topped with grilled eel

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.