By Courtney Klaus, Editor-In-Chief
Hungry for a quick bite off campus? Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t always have to drive to Ridge Road for one. Newman is immersed in a foodie hotbed, a smorgasbord of savory lunch options that often tragically go overlooked by the rushed college student.
I know sometimes we all get stuck in a bit of a routine, but it seems to me like all students want to eat nowadays are Freddy’s, Chick-fil-A or Chipotle. And while those places are great on occasion, where’s the variety? The truth is you are going way farther out of your way than you need to for some delicious food. Not only that, but I hate to see so many wonderful little restaurants so close to us often get skipped over. Perhaps we think their close proximity makes them too easy? Too convenient? Too quick? BLASPHEMY. We are college students! We LIVE for food that is cheap and close by.
Here’s a list of just a few of my favorite cheap and tasty restaurants that are within less than one mile from Newman:
Qdoba, 583 S. West St.
Chipotle loyalists might be disgusted with me, but I don’t really care. Here’s why you should start going to Qdoba instead. 1. It’s closer, save gas. 2. It’s nice in there, and not as loud. 3. The guacamole HAS NEVER COST EXTRA. 4. The queso is better, and there’s two kinds. 5. They have a mini bowl for just $5.
I’m going to gush on this mini bowl a bit more for a second. It is a great deal, and you can pile your bowl high with meat, guacamole and queso to the point where there’s more than enough for you to eat. My gripe with Chipotle is that I’m basically forced most of the time to spend $10 every time I go, and I’m left with a bunch of leftovers.
Yes, those with larger appetites may be able to devour a Chipotle bowl in one sitting, but many of us try to turn the thing into two meals to convince ourselves it’s a reasonably priced option. Newsflash, reheated guac, cheese, lettuce, and corn salsa SUCKS, and if you could just order half the amount fresh for half as much, you’d be much more satisfied with your purchase. Qdoba. Do it.
Taco Fajita, 1004 S. Meridian Ave.
Every day is Taco Tuesday at Taco Fajita, where they’re always serving fresh juicy street-style tacos for just a dollar. This little hole-in-the-wall is easy to miss, just off the corner of McCormick and Meridian in a little strip mall. But it truly is a hidden treasure. I recently ate there for lunch and grabbed myself four tacos, one chorizo, two beef, and one pork, all for only $4.
It’s the perfect combination of speedy, greasy and tasty that makes any broke college student’s stomach happy. I’d highly recommend, and it’s less than a half-mile away from campus, so you really have no excuse not to try it.
The most expensive thing on the menu is a $10 melty corn tortilla flatbread delicacy called “The Machete,” served with the customers choice of meat, bell peppers, onions and gooey mozzarella cheese. Rumor has it, this burrito-flatbread-sandwich-hybrid is enough food for three people.
Next time you’re in the mood for Mexican, take a break from Taco Bell and give this place a try.
West Street Burger, 130 S. West. St.
Are you a fan of those drive-through burger places where you can count on something delicious and greasy to arrive in a conspicuous paper bag? You know, the kind where the cheese is so melty it sticks to the wrapping the burger comes in? The kind where people take Snapchat videos of the first bite? Okay, that’s the kind of place this is.
Now I know Wichita has no shortage of good ol’ American burgers and fries places like this, but if you go to Newman and still haven’t been to West Street Burger, I think you might be doing something wrong. If you’re a fan of Sport Burger, Bomber Burger and the like, then this place is likely to be right up your alley. If you’re a connoisseur of only the finest Angus beef, pretzel-bun, fancy-pants cuisine, you might be disappointed. But if you just want a damn good burger, I can promise you West Street Burger can deliver.
You’ve probably driven past it millions of times on your way to Sonic. My advice, stop short next time and swing by West Street Burger.
Cinnamon’s Deli, 209 S. West St.
Anyone who frequents Panera has not had a proper Cinnamon’s Deli experience. First of all, unlike most bread and deli options, which evoke an image of a dry dainty sandwich paired with colorful but unremarkable salad, Cinnamon’s Deli is full of biga$$ soft, cheesy, delicious sandwiches with enough meat to make Guy Fieri blush.
The price, at first, might seem daunting to some, but for the amount of food you get, I’m telling you, it is more than reasonable. And unlike a Chipotle bowl that tastes like the bottom of a shoe when reheated, these sandwiches are perfect for dividing and saving for later. I promise, the taste can be preserved.
Or, if you’re trying to eat small, you can do what I do, and recruit a “sandwich buddy.” If you and another person can agree on a sandwich, (I recommend the Smokestack because I’m a gouda cheese fiend) you can order a full size sandwich for just about $10 and ask for them to split it. What you will be left with is the perfect amount for a classy lunch, for only about $5.
Cinnamon’s Deli used to have three locations in Wichita, but now they’re down to just one, ours, on the west side. Let’s keep the last standing Cinnamon’s alive and show it the love it deserves.
PHOTO: Courtney Klaus, Editor-In-Chief