Completed in 1922, the one-story James C. Smyth Hyde Company Building anchors the southeastern corner of Wichita’s historic Old Town. Like other brick buildings in this district, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, although it has been altered multiple times during its lifetime so that it hardly resembles its original form, when it was constructed as a commercial and manufacturing building. At one point it was a dry cleaner, but it was renovated as a restaurant in 1991 and now it’s the wonderful Larkspur Bistro & Bar.
Only a couple of blocks from Hotel at Old Town (itself a converted warehouse, and a fantastic place to book your accommodations), I passed by Larkspur’s patio, bordered by generous shrubbery and purple flowers, and entered this pleasant restaurant with a cream and brick interior and wood beam ceiling. Friends were comfortably perched on the barstools, engaged in easy conversation, a happy vibe that flowed through the restaurant, to the hostess who greeted me and the waitress who served me with politeness and a genuine smile.
At my table, my attention was drawn away from the menu to the excellent sketches of architectural details of old Wichita buildings hanging on the walls. Once I refocused on the selections before me, I was fully prepped for a delicious meal.
Try This: Go old school with a contemporary twist by ordering a crispy iceberg lettuce wedge with grape tomatoes, Yoder bacon, crispy onions, scallions, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese, drizzled with a ranch and tomato vinaigrette. The marinated chicken breast is grilled to perfection and served with a parmesan cheese cream sauce, asparagus, mashed potatoes, and roasted pistachios, but the pork tenderloin with apple mint salad and the pepper-crusted Kansas City strip steak with gorgonzola cheese and Bordelaise sauce both looked just as tempting. For dessert, you’ll love the Swiss chocolate cake.