Roughly a hundred restaurants and food trucks opened in 2021. For the casual diner, that’s a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, I’m here to help guide you to the very best of what has arrived this year. I’ve visited every single opening since January (and gained quite a bit of weight). Out of the ~100 visits, I handpicked 30 of the dining options in town that I think readers would enjoy. I tried to cover the gamut of different genres of food spanning different parts of town. And these aren’t just any dining spots, these are places that are local and can only be found in Wichita and the surrounding area.
If you love dining out and trying new things, this is a must read for you. The beauty of this list is it’s not some lazy effort put together from Yelp data or gathered from googling names of places by someone who hasn’t stepped foot in most of the places they write about. These are all personal recommendations made by someone who took the time to visit every option out there. Enjoy.
Asian Wok – 2929 N. Rock Road
They started Cafe Asia but wanted to start anew and bring something different. Asian Wok was one of the first restaurants to open in 2021. Their menu features many dishes that span across different Asian cuisines.
Cousin Hector’s – Food Truck
You may be familiar with their sister truck, Funky Monkey Munchies. The owners put out a new truck called Cousin Hector’s that serves Mexican/American fusion food.
Slider Shak – 4628 S. Seneca
I love little sliders and that’s exactly what they serve. Not just sliders but sliders of different types like taco burgers, chicken sandwiches, meatloaf burgers, pulled pork and many more.
Vella’s Exotic Egg Roll Food Truck – Food Truck
These aren’t your typical egg rolls you’ll find at a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant. These zany creations include birria, Philly cheesesteak, green chile chicken and more.
Blue Hook Cajun Seafood & Bar – 2244 N. Webb Road
While it’s not your typical Cajun food, this new seafood restaurant has an Asian fusion mix. They have seafood bags along with fried and grilled fish options. It’s all something different and unique from many other restaurants in northeast Wichita.
Gar Joe’s Crawfish – Pop-Up
Available during the summer, Gar Joe’s Crawfish was some of the best Louisiana-style Cajun crawfish I’ve had in town. They held multiple pop-ups during crawfish season and someone to keep an eye on for next year.
Taters N Toppings – Food Truck
A food truck completely dedicated to all things potatoes and the toppings to compliment it. They advertise themselves as more than one way to eat a potato and they aren’t lying.
Donut Palace – 1235 N. Broadway
North Broadway is filled with Mexican restaurants, fast food joints, and Vietnamese options. It’s nice to have something different, like some wonderful donuts. While there are plenty of donut shops around town, don’t sleep on Donut Palace.
Ka Du Ku – Pop-Up
This home-based business sells food from the owner’s native country of Guam. You won’t find anything else like it in Wichita. If you want something new to try, this is one to add to your list.
Kiko’s Mexican Fast Food – 2800 E. Central
If carne asada is your thing, Kiko’s is the place to go. They specialize in all things carne asada and offer you multiple ways to have it: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more. Slide thru to see what you’re missing.
750 Soul – 4601 E. 13th St.
If you remember Rachel’s Kitchen, then you’re going to love 750 Soul. It’s the same owners who brought the same menu with some new additions to add to the soulful goodness that is the local restaurant scene.
Headz & Tailz Whisky Bar – 301 N. Washington St.
Cajun food with Cambodian flare: don’t knock it until you try it. Their crawfish and selection of Cambodian dishes are a knock-out. If you’re looking to really elevate your dinner, grab a party of friends and check out their dirty platter.
Eggroll Express – 331 W 31st St S.
South Wichita received an excellent surprise when Eggroll Express opened in a newly renovated strip center off West 31st street. The owners of the old Hunan Cafe jumped right back into the restaurant industry with this gem of a place.
Travieso’s Food Company – Pop-Up
They brought the taste of California to Wichita. Nearly all of us love French fries. They take the simple dish and make it even more special.
SmokeHouse ICT – Food Truck
While they’ve been in the catering game, SmokeHouse ICT finally pulled the trigger and jumped into the food truck scene. Fantastic service and food made for an excellent addition to the roaming fleet of trucks in town.
Mr. Miyagi Japanese Grill – 3920 E. Harry
Talk about one of the hottest new restaurants to hit the Wichita scene. The quick-service Japanese restaurant has gained such a following, they are getting ready to open a second location out west.
Social Tap Drinkery – 4510 E. 19th St. N
Located on the Wichita State University campus, Social Tap Drinkery is more than just a bar that holds one of the largest selections of beers in town. They are also home to the new Sungrano Pizza and Wheatly’s burgers. It’s like a 3-in-1 special.
Arthur’s Creations – 3012 E. Harry
While Wichita has seen many shake and smoothie shops pop up all over town, Arthur’s Creations makes theirs from scratch with fresh vegetables.
Mi No Bakery – 2528 S. Oliver
I have a lot of love for Mi No Bakery. They are a Vietnamese pastry shop that goes beyond pastries that are hard to find in town. They have bánh mi’s and other delicious dishes such as their unique breakfast items.
Quita B’s Soul Food – 1760 N. Poplar
There are some lazy efforts out there when it comes to soul food restaurants. Quita B’s changes that with some excellent comfort food. Highly recommended…..oxtails.
Sojourner’s Coffee House – 7130 W. Maple
Coffee with a cause. This is a coffee house started by a veteran and gives back directly to the military in our community.
Viola’s Pantry – 156 N. Cleveland
Handmade pastas and sauces you can take home with you and prepare at your leisure? Give me this all day long!
Tianluo Bistro – 11309 E. Kellogg Dr.
They have a menu filled with Sichuan cuisine that you won’t find anywhere else in town. When it comes to Chinese food in town, Tianluo Bistro is one of the most unique options.
T’Geaux Cajun – 8977 W. Central
They may not be good enough for Cajun purists and Louisiana natives, but for a quick-service set up, T’Geaux Cajun can hit the spot for those looking for a convenient Cajun meal on the go. I feel like I should say the word Cajun again so you get an idea of what they serve at the restaurant….. Cajun.
Alzavino Wine Tavern – 1001 W. Douglas Ave.
There’s nothing else like it in Wichita. Alzavino Wine Tavern lets customers pour their own glasses of wine in increments of 1, 3, and 5 ounces. Find the wine you like and drink on it all night, or sample different ones throughout the evening. The choice is yours.
Local Flavor: Grill and Tapworks – 5400 E. Central
BBQ, Mexican, you name it and they have it. Not only do they have it, but they do it well and offer you many local beers to pair with your meal. This is a very welcome addition to the area of town that could use some more sit down restaurants.
Sesame – Mediterranean Kitchen – 2755 N. Maize Road
Owner, Youssef Youssef, brought Wichita restaurants like Mediterranean Grill, Le Monde, and Marbella. Sesame is his latest creation and worthy of your visit.
Hiro Sushi & Hibachi – 240 N. Main St, Haysville
While the city of Haysville lost themselves a breakfast restaurant when the Easy Egg moved to Wichita, they scored big with Hiro who brought a fast casual Japanese restaurant to the city.
Tacos Jalapenos – 336 Oliver
A LOT of taco trucks opened in 2021. If I had to choose my favorite one out of them, Tacos Jalapenos just might take the cake.
Old School Tap House & Social – 210 E. Kechi Road
There’s not much of a nightlife in Kechi. So, when Old School Tap House & Social, it finally gave nearby residents something to do. The atmosphere and ambience inside is definitely special and worth checking out.
I have to give a couple special nods to some “new restaurants”: Birria tj 664 and Albero Bistro. Both are essentially extensions of restaurants many of you know in town, i.e. Tacos tj 664 and Albero Cafe so they aren’t completely brand new but worth mentioning here.
In the world of chains that aren’t exclusive to the Wichita area, the two most notable arrivals to Wichita were HTeaO and Tropical Smoothie Cafe.
Any restaurants listed or not that stick out as your favorite? Leave us a note in the comments below!
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