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Back in September a new sushi restaurant opened in Wichita and recently started something that I have rarely seen in Wichita. It's All You Can Eat Sushi!

It's a concept I've seen more on the coasts in cities like Washington D.C. and Orlando. The rarity for me is they've all been buffet style which sometimes makes you question how long they've been sitting out. My first experience with this was in Austin, TX. Years later I would find out the place closed down because of health violations. Kelly Clarkson was right when she said, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". My experiences in other cities like New York and DC were much more pleasant though.

Mizu Sushi now brings that concept to Wichita but let it be known, it's not buffet style. Everything is made as you order it so you can sleep well knowing it hasn't been sitting out all day.

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Quick Scoop:
2140 W 21st St
Wichita, KS 67203
316-260-9996

Monday - Thursday 11am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday 11am - 10:30pm
Sunday Noon - 9:30pm

Website
Facebook

Cash/Card Accepted - WiFi Available

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Before we talk about the food, let's get into the times and prices for the All You Can Eat because let's be real here, that's why you are reading this.

The All You Can Eat is offered for lunch Monday - Saturday from 11am - 3pm for $12.99. From 3pm - 10pm Monday - Saturday and on Sundays, it's $19.99. For kids ages 7-11, it is $8.99 and ages 3-6, it's $5.99. They have a special on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday where it is 2 people for $30.

The menu is not just limited to sushi, there's a variety of different appetizers, soups and rice & noodle dishes to choose from too. Here's a look at their dinner menu:


The moment I found out about this deal, I immediately contacted my family. I knew they would have no problem driving to the 21st and Amidon area to try it out.

The six of us all met for dinner and were ready to go. We all ordered something different at multiple times throughout the night. To say we got "Sushi Wasted" would be an understatement.

We ordered soups, dumplings, crab rangoon, many different rice dishes, and an unhealthy amount of sushi. The mercury was very real that evening.

Mizu Sushi limits you to two hours and if you don't finish what you order, they have the right to charge you for an unfinished dish. I've read some comments online about people being charged but for our group, this wasn't an issue. 1.) We don't waste food  and 2.) We certainly don't waste sushi.

Here's some sample pics of what we ordered. 




I was too busy gorging myself with sushi, I forgot to take note of the exact rolls that were ordered. But the ones that stick out were the Beach Spicy Roll (spicy tuna, salmon, crabmeat mixed with avocado), Alaska Roll (salmon, cucumber, avocado), Dragon Roll (crabmeat, cucumber topped with eel, avocado, and fish egg), Godzilla (fried oyster, eel topped with tuna, red snapper and avocado), Volcano Roll (tempura roll with tuna, crabmeat, cucumber), Spicy Rose Roll (spicy tuna, spicy salmon, honey wasabi sauce, and fish egg). There were plenty more we had but that's all I can recall. 

We ended the meal with dessert which was also on the menu: fried ice cream!


By the end of the meal, everyone was done for and ready to go home knowing full well they would be hungry again in about ten minutes because that's what sushi does to you. 

The sushi isn't exactly the nicest and highest quality you'll find in town. I think anybody going to an All You Can Eat Sushi place should know that but you definitely get your money's worth. None of it was bad by any means and everybody enjoyed their dinner. Each person was able to get something they haven't had before. It's a great concept with larger groups so you get little bits of everything. 

If you have kids, there are also kid options besides rice and noodles dishes such as chicken nuggets, corn dogs and french fries. When I was a kid, my mother would have scoffed at me ordering any of those items and forced me to try something different. 

I had some friends concerned about the area of town but don't. It's fine. If it's one thing about Wichita, I'm never worried about the location of a restaurant. I'll try anything at least once. For sushi lovers, this is right up your alley and worth at least one stop to see if you like it.

....now I'm getting hungry again.

Happy Dining!
Eddy

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There are certain people in the community who make the city so much better.
Jan Haberly with The Lord's Diner

Our latest guest in the Q&A series is one of them. I had the pleasure of meeting her back in 2007 when my friends and I first volunteered at the Lord's Diner, a local soup kitchen that serves meals out to those in need 365 days of the year.

That lady is Jan Haberly who has been the Director of the Lord's Diner for the past five years. Under her leadership, the Lord's Diner has grown immensely and now has a larger footprint in the city. With the holiday season ahead of us, I couldn't imagine a better guest than Jan. She's certainly someone whose work in the community deserves more recognition and appreciation.

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Eddy: Jan, welcome to the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jan Haberly: I was born and raised on the west side of Wichita near Friends University. I attended Catholic schools. I have 4 siblings. My husband Ken and I have been married 43 years (11/24/16). We have three children all married with 8 total grand-kids 10 years old and under. Our family had been in the restaurant business for the last 20+ years. We decided at some point we'd like to move in another direction. This meant I took the job as Volunteer coordinator for The Lord's Diner in 2005 and later the Director position in 2011.   

The Staff
Eddy: And a very well deserved position for you after all the hours you spent working as a Volunteer Coordinator. For those that don’t know about what the Lord’s Diner is, could you delve into what you guys do?

Jan: The Lord's Diner established in 2002 is a non-profit "soup kitchen". We serve a hot meal each day, no question asked, to the homeless, mentally and physically disabled, the unemployed and underemployed including many children. This is accomplished with the cooperation of over 75 volunteers each day and an amazing staff of 11 dedicated individuals.  

Eddy: How many locations are there now?

Jan: We have 2 fixed sites. 520 N. Broadway which is in our 14th year and at 2825 So. Hillside which is in the 5th year. Our first Mobile truck has been serving the neighborhood around the Evergreen Rec. Center for three years while our second truck has been serving the Hilltop neighborhood  for two years. We also have a third Truck that will be serving the area around the Atwater Neighborhood Center starting this month.  


Eddy: And there's more isn't there?

Jan: And in mid December 2016 we will open a fixed site in Pittsburg, KS. Crawford county, where Pittsburg is located, is one of the poorest countries in Kansas.

Eddy: It's amazing how much The Lord's Diner has grown. When I first served, it was just one fixed location on Broadway now you have expanded to multiple locations and even the trucks. Exactly how does the Mobile Food Truck work out?

Jan: The mobile feeding program has been a great new concept for us. We are able to reach more in our city experiencing hunger; some with very few resources while others needing our services only on occasion like the end of each month when money is tight. We locate at the same 3 sites Monday through Friday 4:00 to 6:00pm.    

Eddy: For all the time you’ve been with The Lord's Diner, what has been your favorite part of your job?

Jan: The very diverse group of people we serve including our volunteers who are given the opportunity to serve. All ages, all religions, all backgrounds and professions come together to serve or be served.    


Eddy: I can attest it's a very rewarding experience. Wichita is one of the more giving and thoughtful communities. People in our city have always done a great job in showing support for great causes. How does one get involved with volunteering?

Jan: The process is fairly simple. We match our needs with your schedule to find a spot for you to join us serving others. The requirements are a food handlers, card and a class on safe environment. 

We have several different shifts to choose from. Contact our volunteer coordinator Sheryl at 266-4966 for details. 

Eddy: Are there other ways people can help without showing up?

Jan: We always need financial support or in kind gifts of items we use. You can visit our website for our "wish list".

Eddy: You mentioned earlier your family has been in the restaurant industry for quite some time so this next question should be very simple for you. Outside of work, where are your three favorite places to eat in town?

Jan: The Pump House, Mediterranean Grill, and our daughters house. She is a great cook! 

Eddy: Well that does it from my end Jan. I want to thank you again for taking part in our Q&A Series. It's people like you who really make our city so much better. Any final words?

Jan: Wichita is an amazing community and we are blessed to be a part of it.

Eddy: .....and we are blessed to have you a part of it.

The Lord's Diner has always been one of my favorite organizations in town. The many years I spent there volunteering are times I'll always cherish. If you're looking for ways to give back to the community, the Lord's Diner is a great way. Whether it's once a month, every other month, they can fit around your schedule. Check out their website for more information.


If you know of anybody that would be great as a guest of the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series, feel free to e-mail me at wichitabyeb@gmail.com. I'm looking for anybody who impacts Wichita in any sort of way whether they be business owners, restaurateurs, volunteers, whomever. Thank you!

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Back in June my family and friends reviewed the only Escape Room in Derby. Puzzle Plez. We thoroughly enjoyed their original room called The Office of Dr. Ian.

Months later Puzzle Plex would open up their second room called Project 403.


On their website, their Overview for the room was:
The United States military has contracted us to test the effects of high stress on the human mind. They do not want to risk any of their own personnel, so that is where you come in! You will be subjected to various stimuli, while testing, and AIDA will monitor your progress. Not to worry, she will record every moment so that if anything happens, we can give a detailed visual record to the paramedics. Do your part and submit to testing today!
After having our Q&A with owner Eric Petre and learning a little more about the room, our curiosity was peaking and we decided to end our short break from Escape Rooms and get back out on the fun past time we have come to love doing as a group.

For starters, Project 403 is a six person room. It costs $20 a person or you can do a private room for $108 which covers six adults. Up to two children under the age of 7 are allowed and don't count towards the total in the private room. If you do it individually, you could be placed in a room with strangers.

Personally we like to book the room for ourselves. We've done it with strangers before and its just more fun when you're doing it with people you know.

As for the room itself, Project 403 does a FANTASTIC job of making themselves unique from the other rooms in town. I took a picture of the door but decided against posting it because it sort of gives away the surprise of the room.

The theme itself is something that isn't done in any room we've ever tried in town. It really puts your communication and teamwork skills to the test. The puzzles once in the room are also unique. There are some basic puzzles you may be familiar with in past escape rooms but they did a great job of mixing in some new experiences you've never had.

I really wish I could write more about it but I don't want to ruin it for you guys. This room quickly moved up our list as one of the best rooms we've done in town.

You will definitely want to give this one a try!

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Quick Scoop:
614 N Mulberry
Derby, KS
316-512-PLEX (7539)

Making Bookings and Find Specials:
Facebook
Website

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Happy Escaping!
Eddy

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A couple of my coworkers are huge cheesesteak fans so when word got out that an east side location of this Midwest chain opened, it was time to put aside our bias towards local only and give it a try.

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Quick Scoop:
3130 N Rock Road
Wichita, KS 67226
316-831-1288

2616 N Maize Rd
Wichita, KS 67205
316-440-9800

Open 7 Days Week 11am - 10pm

Facebook
Website

Cash/Card Accepted

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For the group of us who went, it was everybody's first time experiencing Pepperjax outside of one person who went the week before. The majority of us really didn't know what to expect.


The experience is very similar to what Chipotle has popularized. You choose the type of meat you want, the type of meal and then you can customize it and add whatever add-ons you would like. Everything is all done in an assembly line style.


Between the six of us, we ordered an array of items from the Famous Philly to the loaded nachos to the rice bowls. It's all very quick to order, have it made and check out.

The ladies in our group were completely enamored by the pure size of the loaded nachos. It came in a large bowl with the bottom being covered completely in tortilla chips. Both of them had steak nachos with a mixture of onions, peppers, mushrooms, black beans, queso, tomatoes, black olives, shredded cheese and sour cream. If it sounds like a lot of food...... IT WAS!

They felt the steak was flavored well and was tender; grilled to order, and nice and fresh. For one of them, it was her second time ordering the nachos in a week's span. She said, "That should tell you how I feel about the nachos." Point taken.


The guys who had the Philly were all pleased to impress with their lunches. For those who consider themselves Philly Cheesesteaks fans, you will be happy to know they use Amoroso rolls; a Philadelphia classic. Pepperjax heats the bun on the grill to make the rolls a little softer which they felt was a nice touch. While there some hesitations on the amount of meat put inside the cheese steaks compared to other local shops in town, they all felt their meals were tasty and filling.




Meanwhile, I went with the Rice Bowl..... I know, so stereotypical of me. If the girls thought the loaded nachos were large, the rice bowls gave it a run for their money. Admittedly I did not finish my lunch. I had my rice bowl filled with steak, lettuce, salsa, peppers, onions, mushrooms and it was indeed wonderful. It was very similar to a Chipotle Burrito Bowl just in a different shape and different meat.


The fries were a hit for everyone, myself included. There is a little condiment area with many different sauces for your fries and sandwiches. As a huge condiment fan, I was trying everything. In all honesty, I would try all of them again.


The restaurant was very clean and the service was excellent. For being a quick style eatery, the manager and other employees were constantly going around making sure everybody was doing fine and answering any questions people may have had.

It was a great time had by all and no real major complaints. Everybody said this was a place they would visit a second time. The best way to describe it is Chipotle but with Philly Cheesesteaks and hopefully no E. Coli.

Happy Dining!
Eddy

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When it comes to local TV jingles that aren't the annoying and obnoxious TV car sales type, Jabara's Carpet Outlet is definitely up there. They're one of the long time family owned businesses that have been going strong for over 40 years.

Jason Jabara
Last year, the family owned business named a new CEO and today we honored to have him here as the latest guest of the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series.

That gentleman, ladies and folks, is Jason Jabara. Please place your phone down or computer mouse to the side and welcome Jason with a warm applause.

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Eddy: Jason, first thank you for joining us. We go pretty far back having gone to college together but for those people that don't know you, could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Jason Jabara: Born and raised in Wichita, Ks. Graduated from Wichita Heights in 1995 and from WSU with a BA in Secondary Education in 2000. I married my high school sweetheart Cheryl Jabara who is a Pediatric Physical therapist at Heartspring. We have 2 daughters, Madelyn (12) and Allison (9). I enjoy gardening, hunting, fishing, traveling, and rooting for my teams (Shockers, Royals, and Chiefs).  

Eddy: So those who have been living in Wichita for a while may recognize the name “Jabara”. There’s a popular TV and radio ad jingle associated with it. What is your role within business?      

Jason: Currently I am the CEO of the company and am in charge of all day to day operations. When I came back to the company in 2004 I started off in sales and moved up until taking over in my current role in January of 2015.


Eddy: Growing up, did you know you were going to be a part of the family business?

Jason: I'm not sure if I knew, but it was probably in the back of my mind. I always worked at "the store" in some capacity growing up. I'd work after school or weekends during high school and college, but I made it a career choice after my wife and I decided to move back from Kansas City to raise a family. Prior to that, I taught high school History, debate and speech for four years.

Eddy: Since you’ve been a part of it, how has the industry changed? What have you guys done to evolve over the years?

Jason: It's changed a lot. Especially the number of competitors in the market and where your customer is coming from. We still advertise quite a bit, but those advertising dollars have shifted from traditional print and radio to internet SEO and PPC. Whereas a customer used to look you up in the yellow pages and call your store, they now just Google search "Wichita carpet". Luckily we come up number one. It used to be you could be found on TV, the radio or in the newspaper. Now we have to cover not only that form of media in some way, but also our website, all forms of social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), review sites like Google and Yelp, Angie's list or Houzz; the number of places that have eyes to see your business is endless. It also doesn’t help that there is more competition in the market. 15 years ago there wasn’t a Menard's, Home Depot, or Lowe's on every corner like there is now.


Eddy: For those in the market for laminate, wood, carpet, whatever it may be, why choose Jabara’s over other competitors in town?

Jason: I think there are several reasons. The first would be that we are the largest stocking, full service dealer of flooring in town. We're unique across the region like that. Most flooring retailers order all of their material from showroom displays. While we do have a beautiful showroom with every type of floor available, we also have our Outlet that is chalk full of first quality flooring at the best prices in town. We compete against all flooring stores, but our main competitors are the box stores because they are the only other ones who stock much material. Aside from price, selection, etc. I think our biggest asset as a company is who we are as a company. I like to use the tag line's "home grown and family owned" and "we're not a box store or a chain store, we're your store", in some of our advertising spots because I think it's important that consumers know who they are dealing with. Flooring is all we do, so when you come into our store, you know that you are speaking with an expert in their field. I guess those are a couple of reasons why someone should choose Jabara's over our competition.
Jabara's Carpet Outlet

Eddy: You guys have truly been home grown. I have had a countless number of friends work there in the past and one thing that should be noted is the support in the community you guys do. Changing directions, let's talk sports for a moment. It's a common bond we've had from all sorts of sports but let's talk Shockers real quick. Your family are season ticket holders. What are your expectations for this season?

Jason: Same as they are for every season: be entertaining. I like that we win. I like that we are expected to win. I like what we've built at WSU in the last 15 years. I also remember how it was in the mid 90's when I was in college when we didn’t go to basketball games because of how bad we were. This team will be young, but I think we may be a better "team" than last year when all is said and done. We're also season ticket holders in every other ticket offered sport at WSU. We enjoy going to volleyball and baseball games as well. Its good family entertainment and winning doesn’t hurt.

Eddy: I know you’re a big foodie and you know this was going to be asked. You have to choose just THREE restaurants in town. What are they going to be?

Jason: Man three types of food would be easier than whittling it down to three restaurants. It would probably all change the next time you ask me, but today I'll go with: N&J's because I think it probably the most authentic Lebanese food in the city and reminds me the most of my grandmother's cooking. Pho Hein because I just ate there and I think they have the best bowl of noodles in the city. Lastly, I'll go with Red Rock Canyon Grill. I think I've ate everything on the menu once and have never had a bad thing there. Plus my wife really likes it and I don’t like to eat alone.

Eddy: Well Jason, keep up the great work at Jabara's. We definitely appreciate you having here and being a good representative for local Wichita businesses.

For those looking for more information on them, check out their website: http://www.jabaras.com/

If you know of anybody that would be great as a guest of the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series, feel free to e-mail me at wichitabyeb@gmail.com. I'm looking for anybody who impacts Wichita in any sort of way whether they be business owners, restaurateurs, volunteers, whomever. Thank you!

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There's a new speakeasy in Wichita that is a throwback to the old days of prohibition. It's tucked away in the basement of a hotel that most people may not even know about it.

It's called Dockum Apothecary.


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Quick Scoop:
Basement Ambassador Hotel at 104 S Broadway
Wichita, KS 67202
316-719-7119

Open Tuesday - Saturday - 6pm - 1am
Closed Sunday & Monday

Website
Facebook

Cash/Card Accepted

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Located in the basement of the Ambassador Hotel, Dockum Apothecary focuses on two things: craft cocktails and a classic ambiance that you probably won't find anywhere else in Wichita.

Getting there was part of the fun. We walked inside the Ambassador and trying to find Dockum was a very small challenge but exciting nonetheless. We didn't know what to expect at all.


Just look at their rules, discreet phone usage, no ball caps, do not disturb other patrons, have patience...

These are rules you rarely find at other bars and if so, they are rarely enforced.


The menu has an array of craft cocktails that do take some time for the Apothecarians to make so patience is certainly required. In all honesty, for how crowded Dockum was in our visit the wait for drinks wasn't long at all. One thing that should be noted is many of the craft cocktails are a bit more costly than some people may be used to paying. The range was $10-15 for drinks. This is NOT a place where you go and have 8-10 drinks and call it a night.

For us, this was a great place to have some sippers, sit down and hang out like the days before the age of cell phones. The music playlist was a mix of old swing music that was just loud enough to catch your attention but not interrupt your conversations. Looking around, everybody was dressed dresses, jeans, business casual, suits, and other formal to semi-formal attire. No tables bothered other tables. Everyone acted mature and it made for a great time.


Each table had a reserved sign on it but do not let that hinder you from sitting there.

Inside the bar, it's all dimly lit with candles placed at every table thus the reason for no flash photography.

Their snacks are limited to mostly meat/cheese trays and nuts. If you get extremely hungry, Siena Steakhouse is just a staircase away.

Our first visit was a fun and relaxing time; somewhere we would definitely go again.

I'm pretty sure Kool-Aid Man had been here before as well......

Who else would cause damage to the walls?

Check out Dockum Apothecary sometime when you have a chance. You'll enjoy it.


As always, Happy Dining!
Eddy

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In an effort to help more local startups, I came across one by the name of Good Eat Street. It was by happenstance that I saw their jams while browsing around Instagram. Funky Monkey Munchies had a little blip about them and it turned into this newest blog on Good Eat Street.

The Packaging
I did some research on them thanks to their slew of social media pages like their Facebook page.

Starting this year, they began to make their own jams. Thanks to the help of YouTube, they were able to really refine and fine tune their processes. Friends and family really loved their product and at their suggestion, they started to sell it on a smaller scale.

Good Eat Street has an eventual plan to start up a food truck so this jam venture is just the beginning of things for them.

I met up with the owners of Good Eat Street to purchase all the flavors of the jams they had in stock. Those flavors were Peach Pie, Blackberry, Mixed Berries, Strawberry and  Raspberry Jalapeno. The jars run $3.50 per 4 ounce jar.

For those inquiring, their jam is all homemade; no preservatives. For instance, they use such ingredients as organic blackberries, fresh lemon juice, you name it.

I had a little barbecue at a friends house later that day I purchased them and figured it'd be the perfect chance to get some input from others on just how good this jam was. Anything left over, I took in to work the following day for even more opinions.


We sampled them with biscuits, crackers, bread, straight off the soon, everything. There were definitely a lot of ooh's and ahh's in the crowd of friends and coworkers on the two days we sampled it all.

Two of the biggest crowd-pleasers were the Peach Pie and Raspberry Jalapeno. In talking with the owners from Good Eat Street, they were very excited for it as it was their newest product they had.

The Raspberry Jalapeno had a nice spicy kick to it while still preserving that sweetness. A handful of people said it'd be great mixed in with some cream cheese.

The Peach Pie tasted exactly like Peach Pie; almost like a dessert in a jar.

One coworkers who is really big into healthy foods was very excited by it all and said she will definitely be ordering some jars in the near future.

Not a single flavor was disliked by the group but as with any sampling of multiple items, there were some clear cut favorites as mentioned earlier.

This is one product we can all give a big thumbs up to. We look forward to their upcoming food truck in the future. If you're looking to order, they currently accept orders through their social media outlets as seen below and they do deliver.


As always, Happy Dining!
Eddy

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Sometimes for dinner you're craving something simple and that's exactly what the situation was for my niece and I over the weekend. We had some options on what to do for food but figured why not give something new a try.

That led us to our latest food truck review on Lil'Bit Gourmet Burgers.


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Quick Scoop:
Location: Varies
316-573-7284

Facebook
Menu Available in this blog

Cash/Card Accepted

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On the stop to get some food to go, the menu looked very simple with burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.



I ended up going with the House Burger with a side of hand-cut fries while my niece had the Risean Grilled Cheese Sandwich. From ordering to time of arrival, everything took well under ten minutes.


The Risean Grilled Cheese consisted of mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and spinach on sourdough. It came with a side of marinara which was the perfect dipping sauce for my niece. At six years old, she wasn't at the age to really appreciate the high quality grilled cheese sandwich but the fact that she finished it was the highest of compliments any restaurant or food truck can receive from her.

Meanwhile I had the House Burger and was very pleasantly surprised by it all. While a bit greasy, there was loads of flavor packed into the burger. The sauteed onions, bacon and most importantly the house sauce really made for a fantastic burger. It's very rare I have burgers these days especially after doing my 30 burgers in 3 months blog. But I'm glad I took a brief break from my burger hiatus because Lil'Bit Gourmets offered a great one; possibly one of the best I have ever had from a food truck.

While my preference usually isn't hand cut fries of the thicker quality, they may be for you. Regardless we finished our fries with some spicy ketchup that I had hiding in my fridge.

From my niece finishing her grilled cheese sandwich and the House Burger, Lil'Bit Gourmet Burgers was one of those trucks that really took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting much from my visit and they certainly exceed my expectations.

You can definitely label them another winner of a truck in the Wichita Food Truck Scene.

Happy Dining!
Eddy

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Previous Food Truck Reviews this year
Charlie's Pizza Taco

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Mark Adams
Wichita State basketball is essentially here now. If you've been watching the Shocker games on TV, there's one voice you may be familiar with; that voice belongs to Mark Adams. 

Some people call him the "Voice of the Mid-Majors". He is the guy whose excitement has been sticking out during his commentary in this golden era of the Shockers basketball. 

Having broadcast college basketball games for twenty years, Mark Adams started off his career coaching basketball. In those 17 years, Adams spent time as the head coach at Central Connecticut State, Rocky Mountains College and Western Oregon State University, an assistant head coach at Idaho State as well as an assistant coach at Washington State University. He built a reputation for rebuilding teams. In three teams he took over, those teams were a combined 28-54 (.341). In his final season with those three teams, the combined records were 59-32 (.648). 

As a college basketball analyst with the American Sports Network and ESPN, Adams has called some of the most significant games in college basketball including Wichita State's march to an undefeated season and Gonzaga's first #1 national ranking in 2013. He has also done in studio appearances and NBA Summer League broadcast.

 This season you'll be hearing him call games with Mitch Holtus.


 It is my pleasure to have Mark Adams as our latest guest on Wichita By E.B. With the college basketball season officially kicking off this week, I would like to thank Mark for taking the time from all his season prep work to be a guest with us.

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Eddy: First of all Mark, let me say it's an honor to have you be a part of this small time operation of a blog. You have been a college basketball analyst with ESPN since 1999. After you left coaching, at what point did you decide that's what you wanted to do with your career? Do you miss coaching? 

Mark Adams: When I was fired in 1996 I decided it was time to focus on rebuilding my life as a father as I had focused on rebuilding college basketball programs. It was an easy decision and I committed myself to building a new life not as a basketball coach but to use my talents in another way. I never looked back and moved to Springboro, OH to pursue a business career.

Mark Adams and some legends
you may recognize 
I spent an entire year away from the game and concentrated on being a great sales professional for a manufacturing company in Ohio. I was the top salesman for 6 years. During that time in summer 1997, Oliver Purnell was the head coach at Dayton and he knew I lived very close by. Because of his recommendation out of the blue I was offered the opportunity to host a local post game call-in show for the Dayton Flyers. That opportunity and the coaches, players and fans at UD changed my life. The show was a huge hit in the local market and suddenly I started broadcasting Dayton games on local TV. Then the A-10 Network saw my work and I joined that network. From their ESPN saw my work and the rest is history.

During this entire time my goal was to broadcast full time. It took me 18 years before that dream was realized in 2014 when American Sports Network made me their Lead National College Basketball Analyst and ESPN and I have continued our relationship as well. It took a long time but I never gave up or lost faith. Many people think it happens overnight. Maybe it does for others but I’m a grinder and I am persistent, but not patient. I knew I could do it but without the unwavering support of my wife and family I would have never made it. It was and is an Adams Team effort!

Eddy: It's great to already see your excitement shining through in this Q&A. That's what so many fans have already come to expect from you. As our program continued to get better and better, Wichita State's exposure on ESPN has grown significantly. That meant more time for you in good ol' Wichita, a city I hold near and dear to my heart. What has your experiences been like in Charles Koch Arena?

Mark: I LOVE THE ROUNDHOUSE!!! Koch Arena and UD Arena are my two favorite venues in college basketball. Why? It’s simple, the fans. I feel at home at both arenas and the fans embrace me and I am humbled by their embrace. I know that not every fan likes me for one reason or another but when I am in Wichita I’ve never heard a cross word or felt unwelcome. The fans are knowledgeable, passionate and loyal. The students are very special. I’ve visited Marshallville when it’s 0 degrees and they make me feel like a member of their family. It is a special place and it has become a home away from home for me. I want to personally thank the fans for how I have been treated all these years! 

Eddy: That's very heart warming to hear. I have been to college basketball arenas and professional sports stadiums all around the country and one thing I always pay attention to is the respect level of which ever team or school's fan base I'm visiting. Looking ahead to the season, it's no surprise this is a new era for the men's basketball team. We have some nice returning pieces along with some athletic transfers and freshmen; lots of potential. What is your outlook for the team this year? How far can they go?

Mark: This team is young and will need time. Wichita State has no recruited scholarship seniors as they embark on an ambitious schedule. The Shockers will travel to Oklahoma City to play the Oklahoma Sooners. The Battle 4 Atlantis will test this young team. WSU also plays in Wichita versus Oklahoma State at Intrust Bank Arena. Shaquille Morris, Zach Brown, Rauno Nurger, and Rashard Kelly are the only true seasoned veterans as this junior class will need to fill a leadership void. Morris can be a load down low and his maturity and improvement are huge keys for the Shockers to remain relevant on the national scene.

Six newcomers dot this roster along with a bunch of one year guys and while there is talent, it is untested at crunch time talent.

Markis McDuffie underwent right knee surgery in late August but is back. McDuffie was the 2015-16 MVC Freshman of the Year averaging 7.4PPG and 3.3RPG and became a rising defensive star. (Landry) Shamet had a nice run in Canada when the Shockers went 3-1 on a Great Wheat North Tour. He can play, trust me and just might be the most talented Marshall recruit ever in Wichita. (Conner) Frankamp went through a season of adjustment last season. The sharp shooter from Wichita will be counted on heavily as the apprenticeship is now over and he needs to at least partially fill the void left by Fred (VanVleet) and Ron (Baker).

Eddy: Just how far can they go this season?

Ron Baker and Mark Adams in the Roundhouse
Mark: How newcomers and veterans mix and who takes on the leadership roles for this new addition will determine how good these Shockers will become. Early, I expect a team full of guys who need to think versus just play and react. There will probably be early season bumps in the road but in the end I expect another championship level team in Wichita even without Ron and Fred.

Eddy: Is there one player you feel that needs to really step up this season and take the leadership role left behind by Ron and Fred?

Mark: The obvious choice would be a guard but I think Shaq Morris is the biggest key. When he plays big tough and strong the Shockers truly play angry.

Eddy: It just wasn't Wichita State this year that went through some makeovers. This is a year where the Valley lost other big names like Egidijus Mockevicus, D.J. Balentine, Anthony Beane, and Wes Washpun. What two teams in the Valley pose the biggest threat to the Shockers this year?

Mark: Illinois State Senior Paris Lee is a tough defender and heady leader who could put the Redbirds in position to win an MVC title. Paris averaged 11.1PPG and 3.7APG last season. If Lee can add a more consistent scoring rhythm to his game he could be the next Player of the Year in The Valley. MiKyle McIntosh has been on the verge of stardom averaging 10.9PPG and 4.8RPG last season as a sophomore. (Deontae) Hawkins had similar numbers, 10.3PPG and led the team with 5.8RPG. I love these guys and their talent and for Illinois State to win this thing these two have to step up even more especially with the graduation loss of last season’s leading scorer, DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (14.1PPG). Defensive dynamo Tony Wills also returns but off court issues have haunted this program in the past and even now. We’ll see..

Eddy: And the other?

Mark: Jeremy Morgan for Northern Iowa is a Swiss army knife of basketball fundamentals (11.3PPG, 5.3RPG and 2.3APG) in a well-schooled, well-planned, and well-coached system. Morgan scored the most points ever for a UNI player in an NCAA Tournament game with 36 points vs. Texas A&M. Morgan is one of those guys I wish I would have coached myself. He works hard, never talks, always delivers and is a flat out winner. Morgan is the best returning defender in The Valley. He is battle tested. Wyatt Lohaus is now a 6-2 junior who is smart and ready to step up. Lohaus could become a quiet and calming influence with solid guard play. I’m hearing rumblings about a freshman named, Juwan McCloud. McCloud is a 5-11 point guard who could step right into the starting lineup. Bennett Koch and last season’s sixth man along with Klint Carlson make UNI a potential championship level team. Koch was named to the MVC’s Most Improved Team last season and Carlson made the MVC’s All-Bench Team.

Mark Adams at GameDay
(Coach Ben) Jacobson always finds ways to mix and match his way to the NCAA tournament. Jacobson has guided UNI to four NCAA Tournaments and has posted a record of 4-4 in those appearances. Jacobson ranks second in MVC history with four tournament titles. Jake (Jacobson) is a perfect 4-0 in MVC title games. You can’t count him or the Panthers out.

Eddy: Having been to St. Louis countless of times, I don't count anything out when it comes to the MVC Tournament.

 Taking things back to Wichita State, you've called so many Shockers games in your career. Is there any one favorite moment at Charles Koch Arena that sticks out for you?

Mark: 31-0 game was so special. Not many people know this but I was almost not even there. There was talk that Dick Vitale would take my place for that one. I will never forget when my boss called me and said, “Mark we want you on this historic game. You earned it!” I cried.

#10 UNI vs #11 Wichita State was a blast as Game Day came to town and my wife Judy and my son Robby joined me on the trip. It was really a special time for me and my family.

Fred and Ron’s last home game was very special. Rich Hollenberg warned me three weeks in advance that I was not allowed to cry. BTW, I cry at nearly every senior day celebration even for guys I don’t know! I can be a little emotional. I didn’t cry until the team took the championship picture and Gregg Marshall invited my son, Robby to be in the picture. Gregg knows first hand my love for The Valley and someday I had hoped to win a Valley Championship myself. I never won one but my son was in that picture. I lost it! That was very kind of Gregg! Thank you!!!



Eddy: That doesn't surprise me about Coach Marshall. Having known Marshall for quite some time now, he's great with kids. My niece just adores him.

Now, I asked for one moment and you've given me three. Is that all?
New Year's Eve with Fred VanVleet

Mark: New Year’s Eve when I dressed up like Lloyd Christmas. So it’s 20 minutes before game time and my play by play partner Rich Hollenberg and I are getting dressed. I told him we should take a selfie in the locker room. As I stretched out my hand to take the picture my hand was shaking so bad I couldn’t take the picture. I was scared to death! Rich took the picture. As we entered the tunnel I could hear the crowd and I thought this was my last broadcast EVER! I was scared to death until I turned to Rich and shouted, “Let’s own this blanking place!” As I came on court in my orange tuxedo the crowd first kind of hushed in shock but then the students went nuts. Thank God for those students!

Eddy: I was actually quite jealous of the Lloyd Christmas suit. It's one of my bucket list items to do one year, buying the Lloyd or even Harry suit from Dumb and Dumber.


Eddy: Stepping outside of Wichita State, is there any one team in college basketball that could really surprise fans? For instance, someone currently not ranked in the Top 10.

Mark: UCONN- Kevin Ollie has leading scorer Rodney Purvis coming back along with a defensive stopper and ever improving Amida Brimah. Jalen Adams has a valuable year under his belt and a top-10 recruiting class makes these Huskies not only AAC contenders but also NCAA contenders.

St Mary’s- A top 5 nationally defensive team (60.9PPG Allowed) returns their top 8 scorers led by Emmett Naar (14.0PPG, 6.4APG).

Dayton- Josh Cunningham is a Bradley transfer who will rock the Dayton Decibel Dungeon. I loved his talent level at Bradley, now he’s older and even better after a redshirt year. Archie Miller also returns Charles Cook who is an elite scoring talent who creates mismatches. Watch these Flyers!

Cincinnati- Mick Cronin likes this team led by All-AAC Troy Caupain (13.0PPG) and Gary Clark (10.4PPG). The Bearcats also welcome NC State transfer Kyle Washington and talented freshman Jarron Cumberland. UC is loaded with athletic and rangy talent. The key question, can Cincinnati score enough to beat elite teams? They have the talent, turn it loose.

Rhode Island- Danny Hurley only needs these Rams to stay healthy to make a national statement. EC Matthews, is a dynamic talent now back after an injury riddled 2016-17. EC could play anywhere and his talent makes Hurley’s Rams special.

Middle Tennessee State- The #15 seed Blue Raiders beat #2 Michigan State in the NCAA tournament and Kermit Davis returns a strong cast including sharp shooter Giddy Potts (50.6% 3PT). MTSU plays at Ole Miss and will take on Vandy in Murfreesboro. Expect an upset or two.

Gonzaga- Przemek Karnowski is one huge dude with a high ceiling. Injured after 5 games last season but the Zags have a proven BIG TIME BIG AGAIN!!! Nigel Williams-Goss, is a University of Washington transfer who averaged 15.6PPG and assisted on 33% of the Huskies Pac-12 baskets. He is now eligible.

VCU- Will Wade has the luxury of a Mo Allie-Cox as a cornerstone to build around this season. JeQuan Lewis and Justin Tillman also return to give Wade an athletic trio plus freshman guard, De'Riante Jenkins ranked #59 by ESPN. The Rams have reloaded again.

UT Arlington- Scott Cross is putting the Mavs on the map and this season put a star on Arlington. Kevin Hervey is a stud. Before his knee injury last season, I pegged UT Arlington as a Cinderella. I love his game! HIGH MAJOR TALENT AND THEN SOME!

Eddy: Mark, I'm a big foodie in Wichita and eat out at as many restaurants as possible. It's something I ask anybody who participates in a Q&A here. In your visits to Wichita, are there any restaurants that stick out for you?

Mark: This one is easy: Doo Dah Diner and Public

Eddy: Good choices for sure. Anything else you'd like to add?

Mark: I just want to thank Eric (Sexton), Darron (Boatright), Gregg (Marshall), all the coaches, players and fans in Wichita. I am blessed to call many of you friends. I have friends across The Valley and it is such a privilege to do what I do. Commissioner (Doug) Elgin, Jack Watkins, Mike Kern and all the coaches and players around the Valley are first class. I appreciate the Valley’s history and I am honored to be a small voice recalling that history and watching new history being made. I am the luckiest guy on the planet. I never mail it in, I never take short cuts, I always announce ANGRY! THANKS FOR WATCHING!!!

Eddy: Thanks again Mark. I don't need to tell you this but don't change how you do things. Your style is what got you to this area in the first place. For someone on the National level to take their time for a something like this is greatly appreciated.

 We will all see you soon! 

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