The Wichita dining scene in 2016 is pretty vibrant, filled with hundreds of restaurants serving steak and tacos and pho and hummus.
But Wichita’s dining scene has a past – a long past – and it’s pretty interesting, too.
While doing research for a story I wrote last week about the popularity online of historic photos of Wichita, I stumbled across several in the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum’s collection that captured images of restaurants that operated before many of us were around.
The dining room of the Occidental Hotel in 1887, filled with white tablecloth-covered tables and elegant wood chairs. A 1926-era lunch counter in Delano, fitted with spindled stools and bow-tie-wearing employees. A neon-lit diner from the 1950s that specialized in loose meat sandwiches on oversized buns. Dairy Queen employees from the 1970s in neat uniforms, smiling near the giant soft-serve machine.
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I’ve included 15 fascinating old restaurant photos with this story.