Restaurants in Wichita tend to pop up in one of three places.
They’re out east, adding to congestion on Rock Road or gobbling up prime real estate at Bradley Fair and the Plazzio.
They’re out west, joining the food fray at NewMarket Square and spots nearby.
Or they’re downtown, drawing after-work crowds, downtown dwellers and people looking for a bite before a show.
But there’s another part of town that’s packed full of restaurants that, while not as glitzy or high profile, are just as delicious and more than worth discovering.
Those who live or regularly travel south of Kellogg know that area of town is full of hidden restaurant gems: diners that have been operating since the 1960s (RIP, Don’s Restaurant), ethnic food from Vietnam, Thailand and El Salvador, sub shops, throwback Chinese places and other best kept secrets.
I’m interested in making a list of the best Wichita restaurants that operate south of Kellogg. Just nominate your favorite restaurant on my Dining With Denise Facebook page. Tell me where it is, what it serves and why you like it.
The most-mentioned places will make my top 10 list, which I’ll publish in the paper during the next several weeks.
A few years ago, I stumbled across Fat Ernie’s, a throwback diner at 2806 S. Hydraulic. It has well-worn orange booths, a lunch counter, waitresses that call you “sweetie” and “hon,” and a menu populated with bacon and eggs, chicken fried steak, open-face roast beef sandwiches, chicken livers, homemade pies and more. On Mondays, Fat Ernie’s will sell you all the spaghetti and meatballs you can eat. The food is good, and the vibe is fun.
What say you, Wichita? Tell me about a place I’ve never heard of.