We ventured out last weekend for our first real adventure in Wichita eating. Rendered peckish by the nonstop moving of our earthly possessions, we took a break between major weather events to dive into a genre of food that I’ve been dreaming about ever since we decided to move back to south-central Kansas: Mediterranean food.
First, a very abbreviated background that deserves more research and far more attention, but should suffice for now: Wichita has a strong Mediterranean influence, as immigrants from Lebanon and neighboring countries came here to put down roots. They became doctors, merchants, and restaurateurs.
M.I.F. Deli, at the corner of Central and Edgemoor, has been putting out homemade “Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine” since 1969, according to their website. I first learned about them the summer I worked at Great Harvest Bread Company, when a co-worker would occasionally pick up their hummus during his bread deliveries and bring it back to the bakery. I’d never tasted hummus before then, and remember marveling at its texture as we spread it on to fresh bread for an afternoon snack.
But I’d never been there before last weekend. Happily, the spotlessly clean diner with pink booths and clearly a regular crowd was, honestly, worth the decade-plus wait. Chris and I, who try to order different things so we can sample a variety of dishes, were both smitten with the potato pie on the special board: a deep, flaky pie crust loaded with slivers of russet potatoes separated by layers of a savory sour cream sauce.
And on the side: M.I.F.’s version of fattoush salad, which I consider the Official Salad Of Wichita: shredded romaine lettuce with feta cheese, a Greek vinaigrette, black olives, tomatoes, and the hallmark of the fattoush salad… crispy pita chips.
Since then, I’ve learned of at least four more Mediterranean places to try. I’m accepting any and all recommendations. Leave a comment if you have a good one!