Dining With Denise Neil

Which Wichita restaurants made list of state’s 35 favorites?

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que topped a survey of Kansans’ favorite non-chain restaurants in the state.
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que topped a survey of Kansans’ favorite non-chain restaurants in the state. Kansas City Star

A new survey by the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association lists Kansans favorite 35 non-chain restaurants in the state, and six Wichita restaurants made the list. (Sort of. The survey counts Mulvane’s Luciano’s in Wichita’s column.)

The online survey, conducted by the Wichita-based organization, polled 500 Kansans.

The state’s favorite restaurant, according to the survey, is Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Lawrence’s Free State Brewing Co. came in second.

The first Wichita restaurants on the list are Connie’s Mexico Cafe, and Doo-Dah Diner, which are tied for sixth place with four other restaurants. Wichita’s Bionic Burger, DeFazio’s and The Anchor were tied for seventh with 22 other restaurants, as was Mulvane’s Luciano’s.

Lawrence had the most restaurants on the list, and Kansas City and Wichita tied for second with six apiece. Hutchinson had three, and Hays, Topeka and Salina each had two on the list.

I’ve been to all the Wichita restaurants listed plus Free State, Chicken Mary’s, Gella’s Diner and La Bodega. But that’s not many of the 35, surprisingly. Looks like I have a lot of statewide eating to do.

Also, I was struck by a couple of things, mainly that Lawrence has gained so many good restaurants since I graduated from KU two decades ago. Free State is the only one of the Lawrence restaurants that was operating when I lived there. For mid-1990s Lawrence dwellers, the hot restaurants were The Mad Greek, Teller’s and Mass Street Deli.

Here’s the full list. What do you think? Did the best Kansas restaurants make the list? Who’s missing?

First place

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, barbecue, Kansas City

Second place

Free State Brewing Co., brew pub, Lawrence

Third place

The Burger Stand, burgers, Lawrence, Topeka

Fourth place

Anchor Inn, Mexican, Hutchinson

Tied for fifth place

Chicken Mary’s, fried chicken, Pittsburg

El Potro, Mexican, Paola, Lawrence, Bonner Springs

Limestone Pizza, pizza, Lawrence

Tied for sixth place

Bogey’s, burgers, Salina

Connie’s Mexico Cafe, Mexican, Wicihta

Doo-Dah Diner, diner, Wichita

Harry’s, steakhouse, Manhattan

Mi Ranchito, Mexican, Kansas City, Lawrence

Pullman Place Family Restaurant, family-style, Leavenwworth

Tied for seventh place

Bionic Burger, burgers, Wichita

DeFazio’s, Italian, Wichita

El Mezcal, Mexican, Lawrence

El Potrillo, Mexican, Hutchinson

El Sol, Mexican, Ottawa, Larence

Gella’s Diner, gastropub, Hays

Golden Q, sports bar, Hays

Hays House, steakhouse, Council Grove

Jalisco, Mexican, Kansas City

Jiffy Burger, burgers, Smith Center

La Bodega, tapas, Kansas City

La Fiesta, Mexican, McPherson

Luciano’s, Italian, Mulvane

Martinelli’s Little Italy, Italian, Salina

Merchant’s Pub & Plate, gastropub, Lawrence

Nick & Jake’s, sports bar, Kansas City

Panzon’s, Mexican, Kansas City

Skaets Steak Shop, family-style, Hutchinson

Terrebonne Cafe, Cajun, Lawrence

The Anchor, gastgropub, Wichita

Tortilla Jack’s, Mexican, Topeka

WheatFields, bakery, Lawrence

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