Wichita is one of those places you wouldn’t expect to be a foodie town. Tucked in to one of the flattest spots on the prairie in the heart of beef country, with a blue collar populous that’s generally pretty laid back, Wichitans have an appetite for very good food.
I know this because I concluded a ten-year residency there last month. I also know this because Alton Brown just ate his way through the Air Capital and seemed pretty happy about it. He recently wrapped his wildly popular Good Eats on Food Network and took the show on the road. Alton Brown’s live Edible Inevitable made a stop in Wichita last night and there wasn’t a foodie in attendance who left disappointed. Fortunately, we don’t think Alton’s appetite left town disappointed either.
“I want to thank Wichita for the seven pounds I’ve gained in the last 24 hours,” he said, reported the Wichita Eagle. “I’ve eaten and eaten and eaten.”
Like I said, Wichita loves to eat, with 27 percent of the population being obese. The food’s just that delicious! We hope Alton’s seven-pound souvenir doesn’t hang around too long!
The celebrity chef stopped at nine Wichita restaurants, according to Denise Neil at the Eagle. And they were mostly a tour of my favorites, too. The only one he missed that I think was a huge disservice to his stomach was The Flying Stove, a nationally recognized food truck that we named a favorite vegetarian restaurant in 2013.
Alton’s favorite? The Nifty Nut House. It’s not even a restaurant; it is, however, the most epic candy and treat store in all the land ever of all time. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” the Eagle reports him saying. “That’s a national treasure.”
- Tanya’s Soup Kitchen. Another vegetarian favorite in Wichita, and possibly one of the best soup shops around. It’s all local, small batch, hand-crafted, made with love comfort food that even Alton wasn’t immune to. He even saved his leftover tomato bisque — what they’re famous for — and used it as pizza sauce during his stage show.
- Reverie Coffee and Espresso to Go Go. He made a few stops at these downtown coffee shops, both arguably serve the best cup of joe in town.
- Old Mill Tasty Shop. This century-old downtown diner should be on a national historic roll. The bowl of green chili is my favorite, the chicken salad is famous, and Alton tweeted out his love of the chocolate malt.
- The Donut Whole. Wichita has its own crazy donut shop, with breakfast cakes topped with bacon, Fruity Pebbles, and even a meth-inspired version for the Breaking Bad fans last year. Alton loves a classic though and grabbed a powdered.
- Public at the Brickyard. My favorite restaurant in Wichita and Alton played it just right. He ordered their espresso-encrusted beef sliders — which are a no-brainer. I’m also a fan of their brisket tacos served with the best black beans and yellow rice. Public is another vegetarian fave in Wichita, despite this meaty recap.
Two final stops included Little Saigon, a treasure of Asian flavor, and Riverside Cafe, another cozy neighborhood diner experience that locals love.
Wichitans are buzzing over Alton’s love of the city and its culinary offerings. Don’t write off this Midwest town on your next road trip, the pit-stop is well worth your time. Just don’t go so hard you leave with a seven-pound souvenir like the city’s new favorite celebrity chef!
image via @AltonBrown