I didn’t write a single reader questions mailbag in 2020 and wanted to cover some frequently asked questions, comments, criticism, feedback, etc. that I’ve gathered since the last time I knocked one of these out. As you all know this past year has been quite interesting and lots of people had no problems voicing their opinions.
This blog has definitely strayed from its original intention of being a food blog back in 2011. Since then, I’ve written about whatever the hell I feel about. It’s made some people happy and others not so much. Regardless, I enjoy the interaction, hearing what people have to say and just engaging which is the whole point of social media.
If you ever have questions or want to share your thoughts, feel free to e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the past, I’ve tried to reply to every email or DM sent, but that simply cannot be done anymore. My mailboxes get hit quite a bit with all sorts of questions, requests for whatever and more. I apologize I can no longer get back to every single one. But with that said, here’s the latest reader mailbag:
Have you ever been to (insert multiple different restaurants)?
I always have to start with this question because I get asked this every day. As of Tuesday, March 30, 2021, I’ve been to every single restaurant in Wichita. This past week was spent catching up on all the new places that opened and making sure to visit them. If you’d like to see if I have written a blog on them, every single piece I’ve written can be found on my Food & Booze Directory which lists all the places in town.
Do you have a restaurant wishlist?
It starts and ends with soup dumplings. Throw in a dedicated dim sum spot and I’m a happy campy.
What’s something you’re excited to do this summer?
One of my most anticipated things is to check out RiverFront Stadium. I have tickets to the Wichita State/Houston game and can’t wait to go.
Do you help businesses with social media?
I have but not as much due to a limited schedule. I’m a big advocate for restaurants running their own social media. Hiring it out is costly and often the ROI is not proven out. I’ve sat down and done social media audits, worked with them on what to do and teach them how to run it themselves. I have many years in digital media under my belt for small and large organizations in and outside of Kansas and think I have some what an idea of what’s going on.
Why do you choose to alienate readers and make fun of situations that people take seriously?
Last year, I made a couple of posts standing up for the rights of restaurants and chime in on social issues in the city. There were some readers that messaged me to let me know if I continued not just writing reviews they would unfollow me. That moment led me down a path to not let others try to dictate what I should be doing. I realized I need to continue not giving a fuck (to put it as bluntly as possible).
I poke fun at stuff because it’s all in good fun for me. There are some situations in town that I think are overblown, and I’ll try to make a joke of it as not to take it so seriously. If I lose a reader or two or a hundred or a thousand because of it, so be it.
What some people don’t realize is I’m not the Wichita Eagle, I’m not the Wichita Business Journal. I don’t make money off subscribers. People don’t pay me to read articles. Therefore, I’m not tied down to any one person or business nor do I answer to anybody (well besides my daughter). This blog gets over 150,000 monthly readers. I can afford to lose over 100,000 readers and enjoy what I do still. If people choose to go elsewhere to read about food reviews, what to do in Wichita, badass keyboard reviews, video games, and more kudos to them. Wichita By E.B. carries on with 100,000 readers, 1,000 readers or just one. Besides one day, I’m sure I’ll offend the wrong person and be canceled.
Can you please share my GoFundMe?
At least once a week, I get asked to share a GoFundMe and 99% of the time, I’ll say no. I don’t want this platform, publication, blog, whatever you want to call it to be a constant page asking for money. I think in the past 10 years, I’ve shared three GoFundMe campaigns. One to raise money for local restaurants, one for the young girl who died on the highway earlier this year and a third for a close friend of mine battling brain cancer. There are so many unfortunate situations going on in the world and this page just isn’t the right platform to constantly ask people to donate money.
Why would you take your daughter out to eat during the pandemic?
Because I can.
Can I join the Neighborhood?
The Neighborhood was originally limited and kept at just 8-10 local foodies and bloggers. At the start, our dining adventures was left at 8 people because of the rules regarding how many people could sit at the same table. As time goes on, an expansion of including more people in The Neighborhood could be in the works. One big thing I’ve really appreciated is that members all have a platform and utilize for the good of the restaurant community.
Have you ever worked in the restaurant industry?
Yes, I’ve held three different positions at various restaurants. Server, bartender and assistant manager. Those days are long gone but one thing I’m interested in doing is working one day at a fast food restaurant just to see what it’s like.
Are you upset about the Andy’s opening in College Hill?
I don’t live in College Hill, so my opinion really doesn’t matter. But if I did live there, I wouldn’t mind. I get why people are upset, and they are certainly entitled to their opinion. For me, I’d be appreciative of any restaurant wanting to open nearby. There are so many neighborhoods in town that are food desserts. It wasn’t that long ago that Clifton Square was bare-bones and no restaurant really wanted to go there until Ziggy’s made the start.
When are you doing another Most Liked Food Bracket?
Facebook has made some changes to Facebook pages with large followings. For my page, the ability to post polls has been gone for over a year. I’ve been submitting ticket after ticket to see when the polls option would return but have been met with silence. Fingers crossed because I’d love to do another one soon.
What did you learn most about blogging during COVID-19?
LOTS! 2020 was obviously the most interesting year I’ve had blogging.
With the restaurant industry in disarray, I talked to many business owners personally about the struggles. I found out that it was important to be an advocate for them and speaking up when I felt they were being kicked down. Whether it was the forced shutdowns, the business PPP loans, the increased social issues involving restaurants, I couldn’t just NOT say anything. I had to speak up and make my voice heard even though I’d be met with many angry, hateful comments.
I also learned to be the biggest cheerleader for restaurants I love. The last thing I want is to see one of my favorites go under. While I support the restaurant scene as a whole, it’s obvious I’m not going to like every restaurant. It’s like going to a school and liking every single person you come in contact with. Not going to happen.
The absolute biggest complaint I received in 2020 was about bad reviews. People would get so mad about why I’d write a bad review during a pandemic. Restaurants not only struggled in 2020 but people did too. Why should I have to spend $20-40 on a bad meal and be OK with it just because it’s a pandemic? News flash, families struggled too in 2020. While I was out blowing $40 on a bad meal just so I could write about it, that money would have easily been better spent on someone like my own kid. What some people didn’t realize is that I was probably more forgiving in 2020 than any other year of blogging. I had some bad experiences with the carryout only era of dining last March and April but tried hard to overlook many of those issues. In the end if a bad review was warranted, oh well.
Thank you for your extension into writing about local businesses that aren’t restaurants.
As the son of two parents who tried their hands at being entrepreneurs, I get it. It’s tough owning your own business. I saw my parents go through the ups and downs owning a small convenience store and a laundry mat; both of which would close. As a parent myself now, I can’t imagine the stress of losing a business when you have someone else depending on you.
So helping these small businesses is crucial especially in the less prominent areas of town. Many of the largest publications and news outlets may not cover a business or restaurant on south Broadway, in Plainview, off Grove, or at 13th & Hillside. I will. They deserve just as much love.
To nominate your business or event to be considered for a review, please email us with your information. We are always open to suggestions.