What The Neighborhood is most thankful for in the restaurant industry

It’s been an unbelievable year for our restaurant industry. Between the forced shutdowns, masks mandate, public protesting, outlash for owners stating their opinions, vandalism, theft, COVID-19, issues with government assistance, you name it, restaurant owners, employees and the industry in general has had a tough go of it.

There have still been some positive takeaways from our local food scene. It was a discussion The Neighborhood had. As active eaters (and supporters), we wanted to spend the Thanksgiving weekend to share what we are thankful for in the restaurant industry.

Telehue Food (by Lisa Nguyen)

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What I’m Most Thankful For

I am most thankful for the people in the restaurant scene and food industry. It’s great to see them come together and support each other when they could easily treat each other like competition. I don’t think most people realize that behind-the-scenes a lot of the restaurants band together to help each other out. When they work together it gives us, the consumers, more options for good food.

Fert The Foodie

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What I’m Most Thankful For

What I’m most thankful for in the Wichita restaurant industry is the diversity amongst the owners and chefs. The people behind the amazing local restaurants in town come from all walks of life, and their backgrounds play a major part in the food they serve. It’s been great getting to know some of these restaurateurs and their stories, it makes me appreciate their culinary creations even more. I can only imagine how many generations worth of recipes I’ve had the pleasure of eating because these wonderful people decided to share their cooking with the public. So thank you to all the local restaurant owners and chefs, you guys rock!

Wichita Life ICT

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What I’m Most Thankful For

I’m most thankful for the variety of food here in Wichita. If you want quality Mediterranean food, there are several incredible options. Thai food? A long list. Authentic Mexican food? A long list. Sometimes there are too many options to choose, but that’s the best problem to have when it comes to good food.

Just Try it

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What I’m Most Thankful For

What we are most thankful for in the restaurant scene is when restaurants are willing to go the additional mile on dishes. Whether it be a special fusion dish like the ones that you can get from The Fusion Restaurant or Vietnom nom, or dishes outside of the norm like a lot of the specials from Dempsey’s Burger Pub or Dappery Dodo Breakfast Burritos. We feel it provides a break in the monotony of a lot of dishes, and really makes an impression for wanting to go back time and time again.

Lynn Avants

Posts often found in Wichita Foodie Friends

What I’m Most Thankful For

This year has turned out to be a one that I could not have imagined a mere 12 months ago. There have been community-wide shutdowns unlike anything experienced during our lifetimes. It has also been one of the most polarizing election years that I can remember. It can be easy to look around and only notice the anger, frustration, fear, and sadness that people have been experiencing; however life is never that one dimensional!

If you look around and focus on those people that are avoiding all the noise, you will find many amazing people that are finding new ways to navigate these troubled times. Many of these people that are employed by and operate local restaurants have been some of the most inventive that I have seen this year. Can’t have the public dine in? Setup for contactless carryout or delivery! When selling meals has not a feasible option, companies have sold grocery supplies, toilet paper, and other commodities that were not readily available at retailers. When meals were no longer being supplied to programs for the less fortunate, there have been local restaurants that came to the rescue and provided these meals. There are local restaurants that set aside one day every week to close down and volunteer public service. They could have taken the easy route by simply shutting down and staying at home. I can’t blame any restaurants that have. I find it amazing that many have somehow persevered and managed to keep their head above water despite the odds. You don’t see the large corporate chains investing in local communities like this; it is almost exclusively the small family run restaurants that continue to step up to the plate.

So when I was asked “What I am most thankful for within the Wichita restaurant industry” there is ultimately one thing that comes to mind: I am beyond thankful for all the local establishment owners and employees that selflessly help those in need and find solutions when failure seems the only possible option. You are simply awesome and you have my support!

Aaron McMullin

Wichita Food Scene Facebook Group Founder

What I’m Most Thankful For

Perseverance: noun: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

This is what I’m most thankful for among the Wichita restaurant industry. 2020 has been a year that nobody could have predicted and we will hopefully never see. However, through incredible perseverance, not only have many restaurants adapted and survived but several have been born from the pandemic. Restaurants all across the city learned to change with the demanding times and keep providing for their customers in new ways. Yes, we’ve lost some great places this year, but we’ve also seen even bigger support for the remaining local restaurants. I feel the industry may be stronger and closer-knit than ever in Wichita. And it was all through perseverance.

Wichita By E.B.

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What I’m Most Thankful For

I feel like restaurants get taken for granted. People are quick focus on other lines of work like teachers, medical professionals, first responders, etc. While I have a deep appreciation for what they all do, I think it’s important to also give credit to other industries in our community. Who are the first businesses people flock to when needing donations for their fundraisers? It’s usually restaurants. Who do organizations ask for discounts on food or even freebies when throwing their events? It’s usually restaurants.

It’s an industry that has relatively low margins especially for the locally owned establishments. Yet when others come asking, they often say yes with what they can afford to spare.

Then when the pandemic hit, who stepped up? It was many of the restaurants. I saw places like Xing Xing, Big Larry’s Burgers, Taco Locale, and Journey East Asia Grill donate food to those medical professionals. Casa Martinez donated food to assisted living centers, an industry that was hit hard by the COVID-19 clusters. Chick N Max and Bomb BBQ donated food to displaced workers. Kelly’s Family Diner gave food to families affected by COVID-19. Amy’s Pizza Place in Mulvane fed kids who didn’t have regular food service they were expecting from school once it was canceled.

The restaurant scene was a collective group who stepped up to help others and not ask for anything in return. We are talking about the hardest hit industry helping others. The ones who needed the most help were the ones doing the helping. That’s bad ass.

We have some more content coming your way along with future meetups at local restaurants! Stay tuned for more!

If you’re interested in joining the second wave of Neighborhood, you can apply here.

Happy Dining,

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