Napoli puts Italian food on the map in Wichita

Written by Kim Dugger Attwater

After 20 years of cooking in other people’s kitchens, Jeremy Wade knew exactly the kind of restaurant he wanted to own.

One where “the food’s high quality but the place is comfortable,” as he put it.

He’s done it with Napoli, the Italian restaurant he opened in Siena Plaza last October. It’s an 80-seat restaurant that manages to feel both spacious and cozy, with room for 24 more in the bar. Outside, the patio seats 120.

The menu features moderately priced appetizers, pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and traditional entrees such as chicken parmesan and shrimp risotto. Wade, who’s cooked in many of the city’s most popular restaurants, knows what local diners like. But there’s a little more going on, thanks to Wade’s confidence in his chef, Jordan Rickard.

Rickard, a Wichita native, graduated from Johnson and Wales culinary school in Denver, then spent several years cooking in Michigan, California and Colorado. When he returned, he sensed a change in his hometown’s tastes. “I think the Wichita dining scene is ready for more innovative, regionally inspired food.”

Wade agreed. “We started talking and it clicked right away. I needed his creativity and talent.”

Which is why Napoli also features dishes such as a grilled carrot salad with pecans, goat cheese and creamy radicchio dressing; a bruschetta board of whipped ricotta, tomato conserva, pesto and more; and spaghetti Nero, made with squid ink pasta, blue crab, pickled Fresno chiles, lemon, garlic and butter.

Rickard also produces specials on a near daily basis, recently ranging from sea bass and lobster over a potato mash to Sicilian beef ragu over house-made cappelletti pasta.

Wade and Rickard have come up with a fun way for diners to experience some deep dives into regional Italian cuisine. “Passport to Italy” dinners are offered after 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The menu changes each month to highlight the food of a different region. In May, for instance, the dishes derived from Calabria, located on the toe of Italy’s boot. They included Nduja Panzerotti, a fried pizza fritter filled with spicy sausage and ricotta; Fileja de Aubergine de Calabrese, a house-made pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant; Polpo di Calabria, charred octopus over warm potatoes and arugula; and Tartufo di Pizzo, chocolate and hazelnut gelato with a cherry center.

The dinners, priced between $35 and $45, come with two glasses of wine specific to each region. Diners get a passport book they can have stamped after each meal, and Wade is promising a special thank-you for patrons who collect all twelve.

Special offers

Napoli offers daily drink specials and a happy hour featuring $3 off pizzas and $2 off appetizers from 3 to 5 p.m. In the bar, pizzas and appetizers are half off from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Napoli Italian Eatery
7718 E. 37th St. N.
Wichita, KS

If you would like to see your restaurant in the SPLURGE! Restaurant Spotlight contact us at 316.267.3678.

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