The baby's getting bigger.
When Timirie and Patrick Shibley opened the Doo-Dah Diner two years ago, they figured Patrick's cooking would attract a lot of customers. They didn't realize there'd be lines of 50 or 60 people waiting outside the door for seats on weekends. And that even more people would see the lines and drive on by without stopping.
The solution: a new entrance and indoor waiting area that means folks won't have to sweat or freeze through Wichita's weather extremes.
The expansion, which doubles the restaurant's total area, also gives them room to sell more of the Doo-Dah Diner T-shirts, hats and other merchandise that have proven almost as popular as the place's food.
We want to be the next Eskimo Joe's, Timirie said, referring to the Stillwater, Oklahoma, restaurant and merchandising pioneer. "We're nowhere near that, but we sell more than we ever expected."
The expansion didn't add any more seats to the restaurant, for a couple reasons: the restaurant's kitchen and parking lot are both maxed out. And the Shibleys want to keep all their tables in view of their bustling open kitchen, at least for now.
The cozy dining room is now lined with big black-and-white photographs of the diner's customers, well-known and otherwise. The plan is to hang blowup food shots in the waiting area as if the aroma of Patrick's creations isn't torture enough.
Patrick has continued his inventive takes on simple classics. A special added for Mother's Day, for example, has now become the diner's biggest seller: Crab Cakes Egg Benedict, which pairs crispy seafood patties with poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, grilled asparagus and jalapeno bacon bits.
The Shibleys have food-related ideas for the new space as well, including an in-store bakery, take-out counter and space where Patrick can cure his own meats. Hoodies and more new merch are on the way, too.
Timirie says the Doo-Dah still has plenty of room to evolve.
"We're in our toddler years."
Doo-Dah Diner | 206 E. Kellogg | 316-265-7011 | doodahdiner.com