Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita Restaurant Week starts Jan. 22, offers three-course specials

District Taqueria’s tacos are on the menu during Wichita Restaurant Week, which starts on Friday.
District Taqueria’s tacos are on the menu during Wichita Restaurant Week, which starts on Friday. The Wichita Eagle

You can have Public at the Brickyard’s shrimp and grits any day.

But only during Wichita Restaurant Week, which starts on Friday and runs through Jan. 31, can you get shrimp and grits with a side salad and chocolate beignets for one price.

The third Wichita Restaurant Week, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas, invites diners to visit a list of 25 local restaurants. At each one they’ll find special menus, most offering three-course meals for a single price. The meals range from $9 for lunch at Molino’s to $35 for dinner at Wine Dive. The restaurants were permitted to set their own prices.

The three-course approach is new to this year’s Restaurant Week, and organizers at Visit Wichita say they hope it will give visitors a full restaurant experience rather than just an entree.

The restaurants like the change, said Cynthia Wentworth, vice president of marketing for Visit Wichita.

“It gives a lot more variety,” she said. “I think a lot of them felt like they’d have more freedom in what they designed.”

Most restaurants designed menus that offer an appetizer, soup or salad with choice of entree and choice of dessert. Public at the Brickyard, for example, is giving customers a choice of salad or French onion soup followed by an entree choice of five-spice fried chicken or shrimp and grits followed by choice of creme brulee or chocolate beignets for dessert. The price is $30 a person.

A few of the restaurants are offering lower-priced lunch options. Delano BBQ, for example, will give lunch visitors a choice of sandwich plus two onion rings and a side for $9.25. Several other restaurants are offering dinner-for-two deals. Delano BBQ is one of them, and Siena Tuscan Steakhouse inside the Ambassador Hotel downtown is another. Siena is offering a soup or salad followed by choice of lasagna or chicken cacciatore and pistachio gelato for dessert.

Other participants include District Taqueria, Chester’s Chophouse, The Monarch, Firebirds, LongHorn Steakhouse and Cafe Bel Ami. A full list of restaurants, their menus and their restaurant week hours is available at wichitarestaurantweek.com. Each participant has agreed to donate 10 percent of Restaurant Week proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club. The last restaurant week, which happened in October 2014, raised $16,300.

The biggest challenge in the first several years, Wentworth said, has been getting Wichita diners to understand what a Restaurant Week is. The concept is popular in bigger cities, like Kansas City and Dallas, but it’s still something Wichita is trying to figure out.

“Restaurant Week is obviously new in Wichita,” she said. “As people talk about it, and as they understand it more and as they experience it, that’s what will help it grow.”

Wichita Restaurant Week

What: 25 restaurants will offer special, price-fixed menus

When: Jan. 22 through Jan. 31

Participants, hours and menus: http://wichitarestaurantweek.com