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[Wichita] Stroud's chicken...flown the coop?

Am new to Wichita, so I'm trying to scope out the food "scene" here...not sure there is one, but still searching for good chow.

After reading rave reviews of Stroud's in KC and here in Wichita, we decided to take my visiting brother to a "landmark" restaurant. My wife told me (I've just move here myself) that Stroud's used to be good, but was no longer, but I insisted...how could the Jane and Michael Stern be wrong??!! Well, maybe the original KC Stroud's is great, but the Wichita location (different owners now as I understand it) should be avoided at all costs. The dining room was hot and muggy. I asked the waitress to try fixing that and a manager went to the thermostat which I could see was registering 79---and at that point the temp went up to 80, then 81...so, did the guy turn on the heat or what?

Then the food came out, in a most confusing fashion, fine, we sorted things out. But the main thing is, the chicken was terrible. Reviews said it would be juicy and delicious, but it was dry and insipid. I remarked that Popeye's would be better any day of the week. The cottage fries were limp and oily, the mashed potatoes were heavy and flavorless (Sterns say fluffy and great...not so, folks), the green beans were nasty, and also devoid of flavor after hours of cooking...canned? Who could tell? The gravy was not great either. My beer was good, but it was bottled and sealed in China, so this place could not mess that up too much, though I guess it could have matched the room temp. And the price for all this mediocrity seemed a bit high. All in all, a bad experience. We were all glad to get outside to cool off (at least the breeze helped...it was probably 85 outside). And all swore never to return. And I promise I never will. Avoid this over-hyped place like the plague! Need fried chicken? Go to Popeye's...the spuds are better too, and the price is much lower.

Here's what my brother reported to the rest of our family in an email:
"The second night we went to a place that used to be owned by the company in Kansas City with the best fried chicken in America. Well neither was true anymore. Chicken was cooked in old or burnt oil and not very good."

Maybe it was an off night, but I don't think so. Sarge says it has not been decent the last few times she's been and did her best to discourage the visit, but she wanted me to see for myself. Now I know I should listen to her more carefully!

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  1. are you sure it was strouds??? they only have one location and its in kansas city...

    11 Replies
    1. re: asiansensation007

      No, they have one in Manhattan too... or at least they did when I was in school three years ago. I was never impressed.

      1. re: asiansensation007

        Stroud's opened a location in Wichita in 1993 or so. I believe they sold it to locals sometime in the past 10 years. Yes, it was Stroud's. The menu is EXACTLY the same as the menu posted on the KC website (or nearly exactly). I have known how to read since 1957 or so, and the sign said Stroud's, the ad in the Wichita phone book says "Stroud's", the listing on CitySearch says "Stroud's". Yes, it was Stroud's.

        By the way, I think Stroud's has two locations in KC now...at least their website has two menus, but another page on the menu hints that one location is in the process of moving.

        1. re: sambamaster

          Stroud's currently has one location in KC -- I would assume the other sites are franchises not owned by the main branch. The South location on 85th Street --the mothership -- closed a couple of years ago as the result of some boneheaded highway construction. The owners have been talking about a second location since before the mothership closed.

          1. re: heatherkay

            The Stroud's here in Wichita is one of those places living on great reviews from over a decade ago. Anyplace that serves gray mashed potatoes and gray 'green' beans can't be good. Yet a couple times a year we end up having to go because some group has decided this is where they need to hold an event.

            I think you might have mentioned a few of these in earlier posts, but here's some of my favorite places in town:

            N & J - Edgemoor & Lincoln - There was a messy divorce a year or so ago among the owners/management, but things are back on track now. Go on Tuesdays for their roast chicken special w/ garlic paste. They bake the pita bread for most of the restaurants in town and supply hummus to many of them.

            Piztros - Webb N of 13th. Scott Blanchard who was the Ex Chef @ Yia Yia's left there to start this place. It's more casual and is quite beautiful inside (amazing ceiling). Nothing fried, but fairly straight forward since the plan is to "chain it".

            Bella Luna - try the one @ Bradley Fair. The original one was great, but since they've started expanding the quality has gone down. We find the one on Rock seems to have their strongest staff.

            Sounds like you've discovered the adventures of N Broadway. It just depends - if grandma's cooking you'll get the most amazing fish stock, but other nights, not so much.

            Good luck in your quest - that's what being a real foodie is all about. Finding those places that make fresh honest food, the kind that makes you want to tell everyone you meet.

            1. re: clsmith

              Clsmith,
              thanks for the tips. went to Bella Luna on Rock the night after the Stroud's debacle, mainly to listen to my friend Jerry Hahn (a legendary figure in the history of jazz, though hardly anyone in Wichita seems to know this)---anyway, the food was ok, actually, i had a burger and asked for it rare...they actually did it correctly...nice and red inside...my wife said it was bleeding...but it was good. My brother enjoyed his food. I've been to their Maize Rd location a couple of times and found their interpretations of "Mediterranean" food quite lacking...flavorless hummous, dry, no, bone dry, pita on sandwiches, and a pretty hopeless salad. The Rock location seems a tad better, but will still avoid their Med food as much as possible...and Jerry Hahn will continue to be a draw for us.
              Want to hit N&J, Sarge says it's pretty decent.
              And guess you and I are the only 'hounds in town! What are your faves on N. Broadway? I'm still looking for a Mexican taqueria that caters to, well, illegals who demand the real deal: crisp carnitas, fresh corn tortillas, and decent salsas...any tips? I'm a Texan and spoiled by far better Mexican food than I've found here so far...

              1. re: sambamaster

                Try the NW side of town, around the Riverside area. Lots of mom and pop Mexican restaurants. Connie's is good too, I think it's on N. Broadway, or close to it. It's been a long time, but if I remember right, Roadhouse Blues had good fried chicken. I think I mentioned Walt's on another board, their chicken is good and tender, I think they soak it in milk or something.

                I'm glad to see some Wichita activity going on. I've been on this site forever and have only seen a few blurbs.

                1. re: shopgirl26

                  Roadhouse Blues has been closed FOREVER.

                2. re: sambamaster

                  I didn't know you could get a rare burger anywhere in the USA unless you made it at home. Are you making this up? It's against health regulations to go anything less than MW or W

                  1. re: aepp

                    i'm not making this up and it is Not against health regs except in some states or cities. calif. might be one of those. can't remember the others that won't "allow" it. it is certainly not a federal law!!!! and sometimes certain corporations won't allow it in their places to avoid liability. but as we all know, nothing protects anyone these days. some places also offer steak tartar, carne cruda (italian), raw kibbe, etc. here you can get raw laotian lahb as well. so, don't forget to ask if you want it rare, you might be able to....depend on where you are eating....

                    1. re: sambamaster

                      About 3-4 years ago Wichita restaurants started absolutely refusing to cook hamburgers less than medium or medium well. I supposed personal exceptions are made, but it's extremely bloody rare (hahahaha) for restaurants to serve less than medium. I don't know if it's a city healthy code, but I believe it is a state issue.

                      Steak, however, is a different matter. Ten seconds on each side and they'll be glad to plate it. With hamburger, it has to do with the fact that the meat is torn apart, increasing the likelihood that bacteria (like e coli) will be introduced.

              2. re: heatherkay

                Stroud's is opening a new location on Shawnee Mission Parkway in Fairway. From the looks of the building, it should be opening sometime relatively soon. It's in the old Torreno's location.

          2. That's a shame about Stroud's. Last time I ate there (probably 2 years ago) the food was quite good, it was just the boothful of drunken inbreds who couldn't keep their lips off each other that ruined our anniversary dinner. I guess it's gone downhill since then.
            And allow me to apologize for not being a vibrant Wichita member -- I signed up a while back, and then forgot my login info, and I could never find anything on the boards. But I'll try to remember to check in and try to contribute something to the Wichita dining scene.

            1. Strouds is still open in Wichita, where I have lived for nearly 50 years. It is true that it has gone completely downhill in the past 3 or 4 years. The chicken was, indeed, dry and without much taste. The chicked tasted like it had been cooked in burnt oil. What we particularly noticed was that the formerly rich flavoring of the gravy was completely gone; perhaps they switched to some sort of "healthy" oil. Service was slow and irregular and bordered on rude. Get this: I have never been a big gizzards fan, but the waiter absolutely refused to bring me a couple of them on a side plate so I could try them! Even the sugary, over-the-top dessert buns that everyone takes home and reheats and eats with joy were doughy and worthless. We have scratched Strouds off our list.

              1 Reply
              1. re: blackdog

                What's up with that? Has increased competition and Wichita's love of chains pushed folks to cut back on quality ingredients? So many of the places I used to love have gone downhill in the last few years.

              2. i am sorry but no one knows how to fry chicken like South east kansas restaurants chicken annies and chicken mary's. I don't even bother in wichita or kansas city.

                1. I've been to the Wichita Stroud's twice. The last time was is September, 2007. I found the food to be every bit as good as the KC locations. The cinimon rolls may be a bit better.

                  Yes it is different owners, but the KC restaurants have had different owners for years, as well.