In this age of industrial food it is refreshing to find a restaurant that’s focus is on wholesome meals that incorporate as much locally sourced ingredients as possible. There is a growing disconnect between food sources and ourselves, but the recently opened Beautiful Day Cafe is trying to re-establish the connection one plate at time. There is a certain piece of mind that comes from knowing your food was grown/raised by someone in the local community.
Beautiful Day’s location at Central and Grove seems rather dubious, as a trendy little cafe seems out of place in this area, but perhaps it is all part of their plan. A glance at their website reveals that the intention is to eventually develop a sizable garden, complete with composting and a hen house in the adjacent lot. So then maybe it makes sense to place this restaurant in an urban environment to show Wichita what can be accomplished amidst the concrete jungle.
The interior of the cafe has a great rustic vibe to it and is perfect for a quiet breakfast or lunch outing. Much of the furniture and decorations appear to be repurposed. All the plates, cups, utensils, tables, and chairs are comprised of a hodgepodge of garage sale deals, which adds to the unique ambiance of the cafe. The eating area is cozy, but since orders are taken at the counter, the area does not feel cramped.
The menu is small, but offers a good variety of both breakfast and lunch options, some of which are vegan or gluten-free friendly. Whenever possible Beautiful Day tries to use ingredients that are locally grown, raised or made. Their menu is also one of the more healthy you will find in town. With an emphasis on whole grains and veggies your tummy will thank you. The breakfast offerings include buckwheat pancakes, porridge with nuts and fruit, frittata, and a breakfast burrito. For lunch there are daily soups, a couple of salads, several sandwiches, and a beef or quinoa burger. A small offering of healthier dessert options are available as well.
We started off by sharing a cup of white bean and chicken chili, which proved to hit the spot even on a warm summer day. The broth was rich and full of flavor and there was plenty of tender shredded chicken. This soup ranks up there with some of the offerings from Tanya’s and Cow and Sow. A slice of oiled and seasoned crusty bread did a nice job of soaking up the remaining broth.
For our meals we ordered the BLAST sandwich with a side salad and the grass fed beef burger with potato chips. The BLAST is a combination of a BLT with homemade guac smeared on. The quality and freshness of all the ingredients really came through in this simple, yet delicious sandwich. The bacon and tomatoes were especially flavorful and the
guacamole added a nice layer of creaminess. My only complaint was that the sandwich could have been larger. My side salad consisted of mixed lettuces, shaved carrot, and a creamy dressing. Again the vegetables were excellent, but the dressing needed just a little more zest to it. The burger was a bit of a let down due to the small and slightly overcooked patty. Now obviously since they are using grass fed beef the fat content is going to be lower and I assume that the meat has probably been frozen, since grass fed cattle are only slaughtered at certain times during the year. Both of these conditions will lend themselves to create a drier and more dense burger, but with good locally raised beef you should be able to cook the burger to a medium doneness to try to offset the lean meat. The burger toppings including grilled onions, cheese, whole wheat bun, and photogenic tomato slice were good enough to compensate somewhat for the beef. The veggies are certainly the stars of Beautiful Day and I will certainly be back to try the popular breakfast burrito and other sandwiches.
I really like what Beautiful Cafe is trying to do in Wichita, I just hope that the city will embrace the concept. It seems like smaller portion sizes and higher prices are both common complaints when it come to restaurants that try to serve local ingredients. You must keep in mind that you are paying for quality and wholesomeness. The beautiful thing about these types of restaurants is everybody from the supplier to the customer wins.