It took nearly four weeks, but we now have a 2020 National Champion. From 68 restaurants all the way down to one, Tanya’s Soup Kitchen was the victor of Hunger Games – The Wichita Restaurant Bracket.
Tanya’s Soup Kitchen bested Bella Luna by 90 votes. Over 4,500 votes came pouring in over the last 24 hours. It was a back and forth battle with the margin being single digits throughout most of the day. The lead went back and forth with Bella Luna leading the charge even with a few hours left. But the fans of Tanya’s helped push them to one late surge to win by 2 percentage points.
I had a chance to reach out to Bella Luna owner, Matteo Taha, and he said, “To be honest, I love that place (Tanya’s Soup Kitchen). I was a very good friend with Tanya so I am happy for them too.” It was a great show of class from two restaurants who wished each other the best of luck. And given a signature on the wall, it was apparent, the love was the same in return.
I had a chance to talk more with the now owner of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen owner, Kelly Rae Leffel replied, “Bella Luna kicks butt!! I can definitely get behind their amazing food!”
The 2020 winner located at 1725 E Douglas had quite the stretch of victories in the tournament. Coming out of the loaded Central Region, TSK had to go through Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, Molino’s Cuisine, Doo-Dah Diner, La Galette and HomeGrown just to get to Bella Luna. That was a list of Who’s Who in the dining scene.
After the win, Leffel had this statement she wanted to put out:
Anyone who’s familiar with TSK and has spent time around the restaurant knows that we do everything we can to make it all about love. I know I say it a lot and it can sound cliché, but it’s true! TSK has always been that way, from day one.
It’s really just such an honor to have been voted into first place. There are so many fantastic restaurants here in Wichita that go above and beyond and excel at what they do. To have even been considered part of the conversation would have been enough!
It seems especially meaningful right now, during this trying time that we are all going through together. So many restaurants are stepping up to the plate, pivoting and making the adjustments necessary not only to survive financially, but to provide food for our community as we all work to get through this COVID-19 pandemic. More than just food too… but support, comfort, and well…. LOVE!!!
We all at TSK want to thank everyone who voted throughout the contest, not only for us, but for any of the other amazing restaurants! There are so many wonderful, different places to eat in Wichita, there’s no way to have a favorite! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my amazing TSK family, WE LOVE YOU!!!
And if we are going by their Facebook post, more thanks are in order. Congrats to the rock star staff, Jordan Patrick, Shauna Mcnally, Kyle J Tinius, Chelsea M. Overfelt, Monte Riegel Wheeler, Taeko Clonts, Megan LeAnna Olson, Martin Brown, Ash, Tay Tay, Jessica, Samantha, Jenny, Mikey Nguyen, Rachel Rosell, Jack McIntyre, Ben Forte, her beautiful niece Braxtyn Louise, and her Ernatt Boys!
From Wichita By E.B., I want to give one last congratulations to Tanya’s Soup Kitchen. Another round of applause to the entire crew at Bella Luna who behind their fans put up an amazing fun match up to watch finalize. And thanks to everybody who saw this whole thing for what it was, just an online competition to have a little fun.
What’s next? An N.I.T. bracket? Perhaps…..
So with that said, here’s the final bracket. For better viewing, download your copy here.
To nominate your restaurant or event to be considered for a review, please email us with your business information. We are always open to suggestions.
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