Dining by the Alphabet: Riverside Cafe

What’s a pirate’s favorite letter of the alphabet? Aaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh!!!!! (I crack myself up way too easily).

So with that said, Dining by the Alphabet Letter R is in the books! There were plenty of options for Letter R with the most popular being Red Rock Canyon Grill. At first, I was tempted to go there but I’ve been there so many times and it probably would have been a biased review. It’s one of my favorite places in Wichita; possibly the best pork chops ever.

I wanted to go somewhere I’ve never been before and I went with the second most popular suggestion given by the readers through Facebook and Twitter. I bring to you Letter R…………….

Riverside Cafe

739 W. 13th St.
Wichita, KS. 67203
Ph: 316.262.6703

924 S. Woodlawn
Wichita, KS. 67218
Ph: 316.682.9265

824 N. Baltimore
Derby, KS. 67037
Mon-Sat – 6:00AM – 8:00PM
Sun – 6:00AM – 2:00PM

Of the three locations, I was told to go to the West side location on West 13th street so that is where we went. FYI, there is a Buy 1 Get 1 free coupon on their website and DealSaver has a $20 gift certificate for $10. Not sure how long either of those last though. If you’re interested, go check that out soon.

My Special Guest Diner (notice that’s in all caps now like it’s a proper noun or something) was Samantha. She is a first time guest diner with Wichita By E.B. Along with Samantha; we were joined by two others who were going for their first time as well to Riverside Cafe.

When we arrived, we were politely greeted and told we were welcome to sit anywhere we’d like. The decor inside had great character. Samantha said the place made it feel like a hometown cafe. They had all sorts of decorations on the wall, very busy but in a good way. All the booths had a little jukebox that played music. Ours got off to a great start with classics but then slowed down with too much slow romantic music.

Fried Goodness

We looked through the menu and decided to order some appetizers. For $8.99, you can order a Fried Combo Platter that includes your choice of any three different appetizers, served with French fries. Our options were Green Bean French fries, mushrooms, okra, cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers, onion rings, sweet corn nuggets, deep fried pickles, or 2 chicken strips. With four of us, we went with the green bean French fries, cheese sticks and deep fried pickles. When the plate came out, it looked like a big plate of fried food……because it was. Of the three, my favorite was the green bean French fries. Very tasty. The cheese sticks were just cheese sticks and like I said in the Letter Q blog, “Is there even such a thing as a GREAT cheese stick?” The fried pickles were ok as I’ve had better elsewhere. Samantha thought both the green bean French fries and cheese sticks were good. She enjoyed the appetizers as a whole.

Ummm yeah so when I unrolled my silverware this is what came out. I grabbed a new set.

What’s that green thingie?

For dinners, Samantha ordered the Steak and Shrimp combo (6 oz. dinner steak and 4 shrimp). Hers came with corn, baked potato, a roll and a side salad with ranch. I debated back and forth between the special which was a hamburger steak or the homemade meatloaf. I must interject that I absolutely love meatloaf. It’s quite possibly in my Top 5 favorite home cooked meal; actually getting hungry right now just thinking about it. In the end, I went with the homemade meatloaf smothered in gravy. It came with a baked potato, green beans, a roll and a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette (definitely needed spell checker on that word!). The salads came out right away and it was like any side salad you’d find at a small diner or bar. Little bowl, side of dressing and not many toppings. Not terrible, Not great.

Food came out in good time and it was chow down time.

Samantha was straight to the point. She wasn’t a big fan of the steak and shrimp. She compared it to lunch served in the cafeteria of a middle school. She said her steak did not have much flavor. The corn and baked potato weren’t anything to write home about. The shrimp was big and actually pretty good though. The appetizers unfortunately were the best part of the meal for Samantha. She was upset she didn’t go with her gut and order off the breakfast menu that is served all day.

Now it was my turn to dig into the homemade meatloaf. (First off, how is it homemade? Was it made at home and brought to Riverside Cafe? Because if it was made at Riverside Cafe could it technically be called homemade meatloaf and not restaurant made meatloaf?) I first tried the baked potato and it was like any other potato. The green beans were good. The roll was decent. Then the moment of truth as I bit into the meatloaf. Yeah…… can’t say I was a big fan. I took another bite to verify and my initial reaction was right. I think it might have been the gravy or something. It tasted very salty. I was kind of upset by it all and only ate half of it so not to waste a lot of food. I should have went with my gut and ordered the hamburger steak. One of my friends told me a long time ago, “Never order meatloaf at a restaurant.” He might be right. I just wasn’t impressed with my meal and Samantha had the same sentiment.

Ma!!! Where’s the meatloaf?!?!?!?

The other two in the group ordered a steak and shrimp meal which he thought was kind of tough. The other was a chicken fried chicken meal with mashed potatoes which she liked a lot. I actually had some bites of the chicken fried chicken; I should have ordered that instead. It wasn’t too bad.

I should have went this route. Looked much better!

I’ve heard many good things about Riverside Cafe and think it would have been best served to go with the breakfast menu. They were busy when we arrived. They obviously have many loyal patrons that frequent the place. This possibly could have been an experience where we just ordered the wrong thing, I don’t know.

The service was pretty good. Our server did her best to be friendly and taking care of any request we had. Samantha thought it was a little much at times but I suppose it all depends on the person.

The price is all right on. Anywhere from $5-12 for most dinner meals. The breakfast menu was all extremely affordable especially if you use their Buy 1 Get 1 free coupon.

The total for Samantha’s meal, mine and the appetizer ran $28 not including tip or the use of any coupons. You can easily eat there for much less, probably in the $7-10 range for two people.

In rating the place, Samantha wasn’t impressed and was a bit disappointed by it all. I definitely had the same sentiment. On the Super Scientific Scale, Samantha gave Riverside Cafe a 2. I think with a different meal it could have been better, I liked the service and ambience of it all but was disappointed still. But with the whole experience I had to rate the place given what I went through. My final rating? A 3. Service was good, value was excellent, ambience was excellent but the food was subpar. That gives Riverside Cafe a final rating of 2.5 (out of 5).

If any of you decide to go to Riverside Cafe, give the breakfast menu a try. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I’m sure there are plenty of people that will disagree with the review given but it is what it is.

Up next is Letter S where I bet there are plenty of suggestions for.

Happy Dining,

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0 thoughts on “Dining by the Alphabet: Riverside Cafe”

  1. Riverside bought out Livingstone's at Lincoln and Woodlawn. That was our "go to" place for breakfast on the weekends. I said WAS because since Riverside took over we don't go there much. The menu was expanded but the quality of the food has suffered. The service is still good because they kept almost all of the waitresses. The only redeeming thing is the coupon deal.

  2. I love the one you went to, the chicken fried steak is excellent and that's the only thing I go for, was excited for the one in Derby to open as that is where I live however after having gone several times, I will not go back after having been open now for several months the food still comes out cold and nothing worse than eating cold food that is suppose to be hot, but then again Applebees in Derby is taking lessons from Riverside in Derby as lately their food is coming out cold also so what's up with the quality of food from some of these restaurants?

  3. We visited once on a Sunday. They were quite busy. The food was awful. Salad was 98% lettuce drowned in dressing. Potatoes tasted left over from several days prior. The chicken fried steak was very average. The vegetables of the day were green beans and spinach which the waitress referred to as "Yuck and Yuck". Another waitress ate from a bag of chips as she waited on customers and never once washed her hands. Desert special was pie for half price but the waitress did not ask us if we wanted any. There was nothing postive about any of the experience. We will never go back.

  4. Another case of a legendary Wichita 'you gotta go!!!'.

    Yuck. Been there a few times, not sure what people see in it. I think it's a combination of 'we're crazy hipsters and won't do chains' mixed with 'just like Mom makes'.

    Don't know about you, but when I go out to eat, I don't want my Mom's cooking. (Truthfully, don't really want it at Mom's house either….:^))

    Go to Scotch & Sirloin next if you want another case of "Hmm, we musta just ordered the wrong thing…"

  5. I happend to go to Riverside a lot. Not because of their food, but more for convenience. They have a lot of regular customers, you can normally get in and out pretty quick, and they always have the buy 1 get 1 meal free coupon. The food is average at best, I have couple regular items I usually get. One is the Chicken fried chicken smothered in white gravy, Its definitely not the best I have ever had, but it is one of the better items on their Menu. Most of the time I always get breakfast food, its the safest. But IHOP is much better.

  6. I ate breakfast there once. I ordered poached eggs. The yolk was rock hard, and the white was undercooked, really undercooked. I'm not even sure how the cook managed to accomplish this. The rest of the food was so-so at best. I'll never go back – Copper Oven is much better.

  7. Actually I went to Copper Oven once (keyword: once) I thought it was quite nasty, good thing we're all entitled to our opinions :))

  8. Food has gone from bad to worse no matter what location you go to!! Have given them several chances nut no more. Hang it up!!

  9. Our daughter and her husband went to the Riverside on South Meridian 2 different times and both times she and her husband got food poisoning from there. She had us promise to never, ever go there after her experience

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