Officially opening to the public on Monday, June 29 will be the first Pizza Ranch in Wichita. There are some locations nearby in Emporia and Hutchinson but this save people from having to drive over an hour for buffet pizza and chicken. The new restaurant opened in the former Tommy’s and Jimmie’s Diner space at 21st and Tyler. Many family-themed entertainment and restaurant venues like Dave & Busters, Chicken N Pickle, and the upcoming Round1 are all out east. So this has been a highly anticipated opening for many families who didn’t want to drive to the other side of town.
2121 N Tyler Rd
Wichita, KS 67212
Daily: 11am – 9pm
If you’ve never been to a Pizza Ranch before, it’s a national chain that was founded in 1981. They are most popular for three things, a pizza buffet, their arcade room and the chicken on the buffet line. I’ve heard a lot of hype surrounding the chicken so that was quite intriguing for me upon arrival.
Soft Open Disclaimer. I was invited out to a soft opening before they opened to the public. Sometimes in those instances, the service is very personal, the food can be free, and/or the event is set up for training purposes so it could really skew the experience even more. So instead of giving a full-blown out review, I decided to give you an idea of what to expect. Then once the newness has died down, I’ll go back in for a real review with some friends who’ve never been to get different perspectives.
The new restaurant was gutted out and completely renovated. This was a restaurant that was close to two years in the making. They did a great job of everything inside.
To start the buffet price runs $10.49 during the week for lunch. In the evening and on the weekend it is $12.49. Kids are free from 0-2, $3.99 for 3-6 and $6.99 for 7-12.
Their buffet line has essentially every staple you’ll see at a pizza buffet place. You can always ask for any particular pizza to be made and on top of that there’s dessert pizza, salad, some noodles….
….but the big key difference is this: The Fried Chicken.
I had completely planned on focusing just on giving you all an idea of what to expect when you go inside. But when I tried the chicken for my first time, I was blown away. There was something about the skin that really got me. It was a light thin breading that pulled off with ease and was so flavorful. I tend to avoid ordering fried chicken unless I can get it spicy but it was not needed. The meat was also juicy and tender. It was easily top 3 best fried chicken I’ve had from a national chain.
The pizza was about what you’d expect from a buffet. It was definitely a huge step up from Cici’s, seasoned well and plenty of toppings on each slice. But I’m not going to try to make it sound like it’ll blow any of you away like the chicken. Put it this way, it was decent enough that I wasn’t turned off by going back for seconds which in turn gave me a reason to get more chicken too. And I totally forgot to get dessert pizza, I failed myself!
For the kids and the adults who act like kids, there’s also a FunZone complete with many redemption games which use a reloadable card similar to what Dave & Buster’s does.
Pretty sure I registered a “Too Soft” on this whack & win game. HUGE confidence booster for myself. Let me tell ya!
Here’s a full walk-through of the FunZone:
If you have kids, I really think they are going to love this place. I was upset that my family couldn’t make it as I think they’d also really enjoy not just the arcade games but the chicken. I inquired about buying a box of chicken to take home with me and next thing I know they gave me a box.
The kids who can be really picky on their chicken really liked it and had no problem crushing what I brought home.
Personally I’d like to see this place succeed. There’s nothing wrong with having more family options in Wichita especially in an area of town that seems to have fewer options. No doubt I’ll be back with an army to do some damage on more chicken and arcade games.
Here’s the menu:
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