Dining With Denise Neil

Celeb chef Alton Brown visits nine Wichita food stops, names his favorite on stage

Alton Brown sips coffee in Reverie Coffee Roasters during his two-day tour of Wichita.
Alton Brown sips coffee in Reverie Coffee Roasters during his two-day tour of Wichita. Courtesy

During his two days in Wichita, food celebrity Alton Brown visited nine Wichita food businesses, met countless fans and put on one heck of a funny stage show.

Brown, famous for his Food Network shows “Good Eats” and “Cutthroat Kitchen,” brought his “Edible Inevitable” tour to Century II on Tuesday night. But he’d been in town since Monday, which he revealed from the stage was his first day off of the tour.

He stayed busy, popping up on Monday at five Wichita restaurants and posting pictures from his stops on his Facebook page and Twitter account. He stopped first for coffee at Espresso to Go Go then continued to Old Mill Tasty Shop for a chocolate malted, Little Saigon for a banh mi and Riverside Cafe for...everything. His Facebook post showed photos of chicken fried steak and a lot of pie. He also stopped at Reverie Coffee Roasters on Monday, where he ran into owner and fan Andrew Gough, who posted his own picture of himself mugging with Brown.

“I'm just a bit giddy,” Gough wrote in the post. “My TV hero just hung out with me and our staff.”

At the Riverside Cafe stop, Brown wasn’t recognized, and those are his favorite kinds of stops, he said.

“I went to the counter and said, ‘I want to order something to go,’” he said. ‘And they said, ‘Okay, what do you want?’ And I said, ‘Everything.’”

On Tuesday, Brown went to Reverie again and also made stops at the Donut Whole, where he took one bite of a powdered sugar doughnut, Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, where he ordered some tomato bisque, Public at the Brickyard, where he sampled sliders, wings and homemade potato chips, and Nifty Nuthouse, where he sampled everything. He also stopped by Reverie – again.

“I want to thank Wichita for the seven pounds I’ve gained in the last 24 hours,” he said. “I’ve eaten and eaten and eaten.”

During the show, he took questions from the audience via Twitter, so I had to ask one, and he answered it from stage.

My tweet, which included a selfie with my daughter, Alexis (part of the rules were you had to include a selfie from inside the theater), asked Brown to name his favorite of the restaurants he stopped in while visiting Wichita, and he did not hesitate in naming the Nifty Nuthouse, where he said the helpful employees forced sample upon sample on him. He jokingly compared them to drug pushers.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “That’s a national treasure.”

During the show, Brown recruited a volunteer, Crystal Hough, from the audience to help him make pizza in a giant Easy Bake Oven he designed as a teen and built as an adult. When it was time to put sauce on his pizza, Brown pulled a container from the refrigerator which he said was filled with Tanya’s Soup Kitchen’s tomato bisque. He said he’d had it for lunch and saved his leftovers and wanted to use it in place of sauce on his pizza.

Brown also thanked the audience for coming to his show despite the fact that the Royals were playing in the World Series.

“How could I have known when I booked this place eight months ago that you would be in the World Series?” he said.

Brown encouraged people to keep their cell phones on to check the score and frequently asked for updates throughout the evening. As the Royals’ lead mounted, Brown insisted that he was the good luck charm.

When it was time for him to leave the stage, an audience member shouted in protest.

“The game’s not over yet!”

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