Last week, I took two days off work to travel with my husband to Wichita, Kansas. He was in the area for business and I tagged along. In the interest of simplifying and packing as little as possible for an overnight trip, I decided to leave my camera at home. Bad idea, because once there, I discovered that we were mere minutes from what is, I believe, the only 100% vegan restaurant in all of Kansas — the Garden Grill Cafe!
Warning: lots of iPhone photos (some even taken after dark) ahead.
While Erik was working, I ventured out of the hotel to grab a little take-out for lunch. The Garden Grill Cafe is a casual restaurant located inside the Historic Occidental Hotel building. If you didn’t know the restaurant was tucked inside, it would be easy to miss.
The standard menu is comprised largely of tempting comfort foods — sandwiches, pizzas, pastas (the menu currently posted on their website is a tiny portion of the full menu).
I decided on the Chipotle Bean Burrito, which comes stuffed with pinto beans, salsa, a chipotle chili, pieces of their veggie burger, and their own sour cream. And it came with fries. Those fries!
For dinner that night, Erik was excited to try the restaurant as well, so we ordered a smorgasbord of items to take back to the hotel. It was some serious takeout, and we had plenty leftover for the next day. Clockwise, from top left: Haystacks (basically nachos with all the fixings), the Beef & Onion Pizza (vegan beef, olives, onions, basil, herbes de Provence and a house tofu cheese sauce), and the Grilled Basil Végétalien (grilled tofu, eggplant, onion, tomato, scallion dressing and basil sauce served on focaccia).
And, of course, we had to top it off with something sweet…a brownie.
What did we think? Color us impressed! The chef, who is classically trained, really knows how to combine and work with ingredients so that the flavors in each bite are delightfully complex and satisfying. Everything was cooked and prepared well, but the dressings and the sauces really took it all over the top. And the brownie was three layers of perfection — a little crunchy/crinkly on top, super moist in the middle and a tad gooey on the inside.
One other thing that stood out? The people! They were so nice and friendly, chatting us up while we waited on our order. Everyone we spoke with was super enthusiastic about the restaurant and the food. Not only did they seem excited to be there themselves, but they seemed genuinely excited that we were there, too.
Next time we’re in Wichita, I know where we’ll be eating.
The Garden Grill Cafe is open for lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Wednesday and Thursday and brunch on Sundays. It is located at 300 North Main Street, Wichita, Kansas.