The best of the rest

Off the beaten track

By Joe Stumpe

Since March, we've been highlighting some of the best local restaurants you might never have heard of. But not all of our favorites fit into the designated categories we covered, which were burger joints, Mexican, Asian, Mediterranean, barbecue and diners. So for the final installment of "Off the Beaten Path," here's the best of the rest.

There's a lot to like on the menu at Neighbors Bar and Restaurant, 2150 N. Amidon, including burgers, steaks, pork chops and breakfast on weekends, all of it served in big portions at reasonable prices. But if you've got the time, order the house specialty: pan-fried chicken. It's made to order in cast-iron skillets, the way few restaurants do anymore. The result is chicken that's hot and juicy on the inside, light and crispy on the outside. Bring a friend, as you'll need help finishing it all in one sitting.

For pizza, our choice is another bar (see a pattern here?), Mulligan's Pub at 8343 E. 32nd. The pizza might have slipped a little since Clint, author of the fantastic Clint's Special, was in the kitchen, but it's still great, with a thin, chewy crust, perfectly-seasoned sauce and cheese combo and more toppings than anyone needs. Best of all, it seems like either the pizza or drinks are half-price every day of the week.

For a completely different kind of pizza, but also a great deal, try Po Boy's Pizza, 5619 E. Lincoln. The owner calls his version a pizza roll. It's a long strip of pita-like dough (he also sells freshly made pita loaves) that's covered in pizza toppings, partially folded over and baked. They go for less than 5 and easily feed two. The huge Greek salads are also good. (Note: this place is for eating only. The decor, last time we checked, consisted of a single pinball machine).

Two places that feature Italian food with more of a family-feel are Marchello's, 3107 S. Seneca, and Savute's, 3303 N. Broadway. Marchello's serves a wide variety of Italian in a casual atmosphere, from fettucine and paninis to seafood ravioli. What really stands out, though, are the rich baked pasta dishes like manicotti, lasagna and cannelloni. And, if your sweet tooth needs a serious fix, try the cannoli, a pastry tube filled with sugary mascarpone cheese and topped with chocolate.

Generations of families have been coming to Savute's, the city's oldest full-service restaurant, although north Broadway is no longer the entertainment district of old. Before or after sitting down to the dinner, have a cocktail in Savute's Stick and Rudder Club with its airplane seats and assorted aircraft memorabilia.

Wichita doesn't have a plethora of soul food restaurants, but one that gets high marks is Da Louisiana Chicken & Waffle House at 1555 S. Bluffview. Here fried chicken is served with waffles, a combination that will leave you feeling like you've just eaten breakfast and dinner (which you have).

When it comes to sandwiches, on the other hand, the city boasts of lot of home grown favorites with decades of years in business. Down south are Mo's Sub Shop, 2815 S. Hydraulic, known for its tasty fresh-baked bread, and the Grinder Man, 510 E. Pawnee, where the subs come out hot and toasty.

Up north, the Tropics Lounge at 2705 N. Broadway specializes in overstuffed Reubens and icy schooners of beer. In Delano, there's Merle's Place, 440 N. Seneca, which also has great sandwiches and, reportedly, the oldest beer license in the city.

That wraps up Splurge's "Off the Beaten Path." If you've got a favorite we missed, you can let me know at the email address below and maybe we'll revisit the topic in the future. In fact, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Joe Stumpe is former food editor of the Wichita Eagle. He can be reached at

Review the entire "Off the Beaten Path series" here.

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