Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita will be just like the big cities when its first downtown Starbucks opens

What exactly is ‘pumpkin spice?’

Every year when fall rolls around, pumpkin-flavored items begin to pop up everywhere you look. Most notably is the return of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte, but what makes something 'pumpkin spice?'
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Every year when fall rolls around, pumpkin-flavored items begin to pop up everywhere you look. Most notably is the return of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte, but what makes something 'pumpkin spice?'

The corner of Douglas and Topeka in Wichita is suddenly taking on a big city look.

Those who pass by the intersection and look at the southeast corner, focusing on the ground floor of the new Hilton Garden Inn that’s been under construction forever, will notice that a new Starbucks store looks finished and ready to open.

It almost is. I stopped by on Thursday, when lots of new baristas were inside being trained, and was told that the new downtown Starbucks is slated to open on Sept. 23. That’s a week from Monday.

Wichita has plenty of Starbucks, even a fairly new near-downtown location. But the city has always lacked a downtown Starbucks, something that’s common in bigger cities.

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A neon sign hanging inside the new downtown Starbucks in Wichita reads “All Things Coffee.” Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

In March, Sumit Patel announced his plans to add a Starbucks to the ground floor of the hotel he’s opening with his father, Mitesh Patel, and their partner, Raju Sheth. It’s not one of those Starbucks kiosks found in many hotels, either. This is a full-sized version with its own entrance, a cozy couch and some bar seating along the wall. It’s not a huge store but appears to be about the size of the Kellogg and West or 21st and Amidon ones.

There’s no drive-through, though there are several two-hour spaces just outside on Topeka.

The new shop also has some eye-catching wall decor that can be seen from the street: a neon sign in script writing that reads “All Things Coffee.”

The hours for the new store will be 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

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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