WICHITA BREWING COMPANY
ADDRESS: 535 N. Woodlawn Street, Wichita, KS 67208
The arrival of Labor Day weekend meant trekking out to Wichita, Kansas, where my college friend Lee was hosting a small reunion of our aero engineering friends. It was my second time out to Wichita, with the first being in senior year of college for an RC airplane design competition that Cessna was hosting. Although the first day was absolutely gorgeous for flying the planes around, the arrival of a F4 tornado the second night we were there caused the competition to get cancelled. It was my hope that this second visit would not end the same way the first time did.
Lee and my other friend Dan both work for Cessna and have lived in the area for over three years. I could imagine that they’ve tried quite a few places to eat in the area, so when Lee said that Wichita Brewing Company, or “WBC” as some locals call it, was one of the best restaurants in the area, I had high hopes for the place, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Known for a wide variety of in-house brews, Wichita Brewing Company offers an expansive selection of beers, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, and appetizers. The east side location is also set in a pretty nice space, with a bar off to one side, a wood-fired pizza oven in the back, booths lining the outside, and tables occupying the space in the middle. There’s also seating outside on the patio for the nicer, cooler evenings.
It was an initial group of Lee, Dan, myself, and my other friend Nanda, but we were later joined by some of Lee and Dan’s coworkers. We started things off with the stuffed jalapeños and spinach artichoke dip appetizers, which were both delicious. The jalapeños were wood-fired, cut in half, filled with cream cheese and Italian sausage, and topped off with some chopped sweet pepper bacon pieces. The spinach artichoke dip was served on the side with their garlic cheese bread, which I now prefer over the normal pita or tortilla chips that I’m used to seeing paired with the dip.
I’ve always been a fan of wood-fired pizzas. There’s just something about that taste you get from the wood-fired oven that you can’t from a conventional pizza oven. Lee made a strong case for me to try their pizza, so I went with the Gregorian Feast. (That recommendation came from him having tried all their pizzas, which is no small feat considering that they have 25 different types.) Italian sausage mixed with roasted garlic, caramelized onions, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and the sweet pizza sauce makes for a truly delicious combination. The pizza dough was thin, crisp on the bottom but soft on the top. The spicy Italian sausage bits worked well with the sweet & tangy pizza sauce, and the garlic flavor from the chopped bits of roasted garlic scattered around really helped to tie everything together. I somehow managed to chow down the entire 12″ pizza; in hindsight, however, that probably wasn’t the best idea, since that left me absolutely stuffed even four hours later.
It was certainly a fun weekend to get to hang out with the guys again, and I was glad to get to sample some of the local food as well. The last time I was there we ate at chains and a bad pizza joint that conjures up memories of probably some of the gummiest pizza I’ve ever had. I’m glad that WBC was able to redeem my impression of the local pizza. With a tremendous selection of beers and food, a great dining ambiance, and friendly service, it’s easy to see why people enjoy going back to WBC again and again.
Let’s now take a look at the Wichita Brewing Company Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Wichita Brewing Company:
Food: 5 / 5
The variety offered with just the pizza alone was fantastic, with some great sounding sandwiches and burgers that were tempting to order as well. Lee and Dan are both beer connoisseurs, and rank WBC with some of the best selection and quality in the area.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
With ample lighting throughout the whole dining area and bar, and TVs mounted at various points around the restaurant, WBC provides a great ambiance to sit back and enjoy some sports while downing some great food and beer.
Service: 4.5 / 5
Even though our waitress suffered a few spills while helping us throughout the night, she certainly made the best of it. She came back multiple times to refill our drinks and check up on how the food was. The food also cranked out of the kitchen relatively quickly.
Price: 4.5 / 5
The prices for the pizzas were pretty reasonable at the flat rate of $11 each, even with some of them containing toppings like andouille sausage, spicy capicola ham, or caramelized onions. Some other places I’ve been would normally have an upcharge for that.