So what am I so excited about? Derby has a new restaurant. For those of you who are scratching your head and wondering what a Derby is and why a new restaurant is so exciting....I will tell you. Derby is a small town just to the south of Wichita. It is quickly becoming the gateway town to the town I live in. It is where I work, have doctors and do most of my shopping. Now Derby has been full of fast food for many years and has one truly outstanding home grown pizza place, a great home grown bar/burger place and recently with the expansion of Derby....we have been inundated with many chains such as Applebees, but Derby has lacked a really great down home, comfort food type of restaurant. Well I am pleased to say...no not even pleased...let's say ecstatic....no ecstatic isn't even strong enough. Let us say OVER THE MOON....that Derby now has a FANTASTIC new home town restaurant called Riverside Cafe of Derby.
I had heard from several friends that it was there. It is on the main drag which is K-15/Baltimore in the old Post Office strip mall. You can see the sign from the road, and although I knew it was there....I really figured it was just a flash in the pan type place. Perhaps I should pick up a Wichita Eagle from time to time and actually read. If I had....I would have known that Paul and Heather Cohlmia had opened this fabulous little place (3000 sq. ft. of little) in September and it has been doing land office business since. Maybe the reason for it's success is the fact that before Derby, the Cohlmia's opened the original Riverside Cafe in Wichita, on West 13th (in Riverside) and with it's success then opened another one in Wichita on Woodlawn in the old Livingston's building. From that success they decided upon Derby as their next spot. Lucky us!!!!!! By the time it made it to Derby...it was a household name amongst the connoisseurs of fine down home comfort food. Again....perhaps if I ever ventured beyond the borders of Derby....I might have known all of this. The fact that I didn't though....made today a wonderful surprise.
Z had more tests this morning...yet again and because of the tests, he couldn't eat before we left the house. By the time the tests were through....he was starving and there is little to eat up by Via Christi St. Francis, so we made our way back to Derby, dropped off a prescription and decided to try out this new little restaurant that everyone was raving about. To see it from the outside, you would think it would be small and I was expecting maybe a little soda fountain type place with a couple of tables. Boy was I wrong. Now mind you....we walked in at 10:15 in the morning....and the place was busy. It has a nice ambiance of restaurant, soda fountain and friendly gathering place. It is meticulously clean and you get to seat yourself...something I like very much as I like to put myself strategically to watch people. Yes...I am a people watcher. Almost the moment you are comfortably seated in either a booth or at a table.....your drink order is taken and you are handed a menu, and believe me....this is SOME menu. They serve breakfast all day and have everything from appetizers to desserts and salads, burgers and full meals. It is the meals that really get you though. Talk about comfort. You can have ham and beans, chicken and noodles, goulash and swiss steak and this is just the beginning. Every comfort food you can think of was there and if you couldn't find what you were looking for on the menu....all you had to do was look on the back chalk board wall where everyday of the week offered three palate pleasing choices. I was drooling before I even ordered. Honestly.....I almost couldn't decide what to order. I wanted it ALL!!!
Z ended up settling on 1/3 pound hamburger with fries and I got the hot meatloaf sandwich. Honestly....the key ingredients here were the french fries and the meatloaf. A place is only as good as its fries and if you can make a good meatloaf.....then everything else is a piece of cake. The fries were wonderful. They were not greasy, nor were they wimpy. They were simply perfect. And as for that meatloaf....oh yum. It was about a 5-6" slice of meatloaf over two slices of white bread covered in brown gravy. It was also served with "real" mashed potato's complete with chunks of potato. It was to die for.
There was little conversation going on between Z and I as we were much too busy snarfing. Once done though I asked Z what his opinion was as if I didn't get a hint from the speed and accuracy in which he chowed his bruncheakfast. He let me know that this burger surpassed all others and being the burger snob he is.....he will likely never eat a burger from anywhere else. The fries he guarded like a pit bull and after my first taste I was no longer allowed to even gaze upon them. They were his.
The experience....and yes I say experience because that is what it really was. You simply don't expect to find something this wonderful in a town of fast food and chain restaurants. But the experience was amazing. After eating I just sat there looking around and planning my next visit back. I was so impressed that I even asked to speak to the owner and let her know that this blog was in the works. A place like this needs to be cherished and supported as Derby is now one lucky little town to have such a culinary establishment and I guarantee I will be dining there whenever money permits. And speaking of money....the menu is very reasonably priced. A family can enjoy a wonderful meal and not break the bank or have eaters remorse afterwards.
So you see....good food and a great atmosphere can do wonders for a broken spirit and this morning....thanks to Riverside Cafe of Derby and the wonderfully friendly staff....my spirit was soaring. To all the locals....do yourself a favor and give this place a try and for anyone not local that decides to travel down Derby way....the Riverside Cafe is a must try.