I stopped out to Gabel’s Family Restaurant or as their sign has it GA ELS Family Restaurant to continue my quest to go to every local restaurant in Wichita. This was actually one of the places I could not talk a single friend in joining in on so was left to try this by myself.
1215 W Pawnee
Wichita, KS 67213
Open Daily: 7am – 3pm
Gabel’s Family Restaurant originally opened in 1989. That closed down and recently reopened in the former Fireside Cafe space in late 2017. I’ve never gone before and after talking to some friends, they were skeptical to try it. So I figured why not just go solo. Gabel’s is one of those family diners where they serve tons of comfort food at affordable prices. They serve primarily breakfast and lunch favorites.
Inside the place looks similar to many south side diners. Old tables, benches with tape sealing them up, employees sitting at tables rolling silverware. Could this be the next great dive?
I started off with a bowl of chili for lunch. It wasn’t half bad; I would say average. Despite my disdain for beans in chili, I still finished the bowl. It was warm, didn’t have much flavor to it but for some reason it hit the spot.
My favorite part of lunch were the rolls. I’m pretty sure they were the King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls brand.
Once my lunch came out, things started to go downhill. I went with the meatloaf which was probably a bad idea. This came with a side of green beans that tasted like they came out of a can and mashed potatoes that had an odd tough texture to them. I like my mashed potatoes creamy unless they are made fresh and am ok with chunks of actual potatoes. The ones at Gabel’s felt like lumps of Playdoh I used to eat as a child…..same flavor too. The meatloaf was a disaster. It was two slabs of unseasoned beef with a gravy that offered nothing to improve it. It needed a lot of salt and a lot of help. This was one meal I did not bother to finish. Yes….this was the worst meatloaf I’ve ever had.
Service was about average. I didn’t get a drink refill and wasn’t checked up on once but the food came out in a timely manner. There was a separate dining hall in the back I noticed. I’m not sure if smoking is allowed there certainly was some cigarette smoke lingering in the air that either came from that room or a nearby customer. I’m not sure.
Needless to say, my friends didn’t miss out on this one. If this style of restaurant is up your alley, I’d much rather go to Fat Ernie’s.
Here’s their menu:
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