Archive | March, 2012

Southeast Carryout

22 Mar

In need of a quick and convenient lunch I stopped by Southeast Carryout the other day. This simple burger joint has been a staple in SE Wichita for over twenty years. Their original location was right across the street from Southeast High, but now they reside on the northeast corner of Harry and Oliver.

The Cleanest Burger Stand in Wichita

Although the name  implies it is strictly a carryout operation, there are a few tables if you would prefer your car to not smell like a cheeseburger for the next week. Unlike some small burger joints, SE Carryout is impressively clean and tidy inside. So much so that I am going to award them, “Cleanest Burger Stand in Wichita”.  The menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, fried sides, and snow cones. Coke AND Pepsi products are both served in harmony here as well.

I went with the 1/3 lb double cheeseburger meal with fries and a drink for the low price of $4.20. There is certainly no debate that they make their burgers fresh to order as I watched them slap a couple of patties down onto the flattop grill. I was a bit disappointed that they appeared to be preformed thin burger patties though. For the price I got a decent amount of french fries, although they were nothing special. The burger came fully loaded with ketchup, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, and onions. Despite all the added condiments I thought the burger was average. There was nothing wrong with it, but then again I wasn’t blown away. It was certainly a better burger than most fast food chains.

Your Average Burger

In an age when it is hard to find a basic hamburger for under $5, SE Carryout makes it possible. While I would not put it on my list of top burgers in Wichita, you won’t be disappointed with the value at Southeast Carryout.

Southeast Carryout

Southeast Carry Out on Urbanspoon

Fat Ernie’s (A Lenten Special)

15 Mar

Going down our list of options for a Friday in Lent, the iconic Fat Ernie’s came up. This southside diner is classic Americana pure and simple. Fat Ernie’s longtime location is way down there at 2806 S. Hydraulic, where they are known for daily all you can eat specials and possibly the largest selection of pies in Wichita.

Fittingly, Fridays are all you can eat fried catfish, which makes it a popular destination during Lent.  It had been several years since we had been to the diner, but it appears that little has changed there, except for the addition of a Bar and Grill next door. Since Fat Ernie’s does not serve alcohol you have the option of going into the separate bar and having your food delivered through a window that links the two establishments.

Classic Lenten Comfort Food

Ernie’s has plenty of seating inside the no frills dining area, where the daily specials are proudly listed on the wall. It was nice to see that they had not given into the large TV craze like so many other restaurants. The only set in sight was small, fuzzy and looked out of place perched atop of  a fridge. The menu at Ernie’s is straightforward with just about every comfort food you can think of from meatloaf to salmon patties to chicken fried steak. They even have a food challenge in the “Belly Buster Burger”. Nothing like downing a full pound of meat with bacon and cheese  as well. Both of us ordered the catfish meal which comes with “your choice of potato”. If you think that sounds rather ambiguous just go ahead and order any type of potato dish you can think of, chances are they will probably have it. We ordered mashed and fries for our “potato”. The meal also comes with homemade rolls, a salad, and a small plate of canned vegetables. On a side note Fat Ernie’s may be the only place in town that serves its salads in retro wooden bowls. They are very classy looking.

The Retro Salad: Was This Picture Taken in 1978 or 2012?

Although the sides were nothing spectacular, the catfish nuggets were pretty solid. The batter was light, crunchy and well seasoned. And the fish pieces were large enough that they were not dried and crispy after being fried. Served with a jug of homemade tartar sauce they were a guilty treat.

Fat Ernie’s is one of a few classic diners that still exist in Wichita and for that reason it should be given some respect. They may not serve the best food in town, but there is good comfort food to be found there. If large all you can eat dinners of fried catfish and chicken fried steak are not your cup of tea, you can at least stop by for some homemade pie.

Fat Ernie’s Website

Fat Ernies Family Dining on Urbanspoon

When Pigs Fly(A New Favorite for Ribs)

8 Mar

I strongly approve of any restaurant that incorporates anything pig/pork related into its name. Such a noble and delicious creature is sure to attract attention to any dining establishment. That was one of the reasons I have had the newer BBQ place When Pigs Fly on my radar for quite some time now. This westside eatery is located on the southeast corner of Central and Ridge Road. A long haul from the safe confines of northeast Wichita, but one that I will definitely be making more regularly for their Cue.  After spending some time working at Pig In Pig Out, the manager/pitmaster decided to branch out on his own and opened WPF in late 2010.

After getting out of my car I was immediately met with the aroma of smoke wood, probably Oak or Hickory, wafting along in the strong south wind. Always a good sign when going to a BBQ place.  Inside, the space is appropriately adorned with swine related accent pieces and artwork, that coupled with the plaid tablecloths creates a comfortable and homey environment. On the menu you will find the typical BBQ fare as well as one of their specialties, loaded baked potatoes. The spuds are topped with meat, cheese, and other goodies.

A Quaint Dining Environment

On my first visit to a BBQ place I like to order the 2 or 3 meat combo dinners, so I can get a sample of the big three of Cue: Brisket, Pork Butt, and Ribs. WPF only offers a 1 or 2 meat dinner so I opted for brisket and ribs. Anyone can smoke good pulled pork, but good ribs and especially brisket are art forms that can be difficult to master. For my side dishes I went with baked beans and some steamed corn on the cob.  After ordering at the counter I found my way to one of the many tables that are available to dine-in customers. Each table is properly equipped with two very essential BBQ eating components, a large bottle of sauce and a napkin dispenser.

Two Meat Dinner of Deliciousness

The portions sizes of meat and sides were decent  for the $9.50 price tag, although the plate was kind of small for the amount of food placed upon it. The corn was about what I thought it would be, just regular steamed corn, which was fine. The beans on the other hand were very good.  I prefer sweet BBQ beans and these did not disappoint. There was also a hint of chili powder to give them some bite. The only thing that would have made them better would have been some pieces of brisket or pork. The brisket looked very similar to what is served at Pig In and Pig Out, nice thick-cut tender pieces of meat. It had a mild smokey flavor and was moist. It was not the most flavorful brisket I have had, but it was certainly solid. The only thing left to sample were the spare ribs. With the dinner combo I received 3 plump, delicious ribs. They were perfectly cooked, which means they weren’t fall off the bone.  Like the brisket they had a well balanced smokey flavor and the salty rub was great. After having these ribs I can safely say they are the best I have had in Wichita so far. The only sauce on the table was a typical sweet style sauce, although I think they might have a hotter sauce upon request.

In the world of Wichita BBQ I would have to say that Pig In and When Pigs Fly are tied at the top of my list right now. The ribs at WPF are top notch and I have tried my fair share of ribs(Top Ribs: Oklahoma Joe’s and The Salt Lick). WPF is definitely a good place to try if you are in the mood for some tasty Cue.

<img alt=”When Pigs Fly Barbecue on Urbanspoon” src=”” style=”border:none;width:200px;height:146px” />


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