Doo-Dah Diner

Cooked from scratch Breakfast & Lunch, Open Tuesday to Sunday


Hours: Tue to Fri 7am to 2pm, Sat & Sun* 8am to 2pm

*SUNDAY BRUNCH (NO MENU SERVICE) $19.99 ea, includes a beverage.  Kids $9.99 - 8am-2pm

Patrick & Timirie Shibley voted 2017 "Restauranteurs of the Year" by the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association

Doo-dah (doo' dah) n. - Another nickname for Wichita, KS. Origins unknown, but perhaps it references the laid-back, whimsical attitude felt by some visitors to the city.
Source: Urban Dictionary

2015, 2016 & 2017!





Richard, Issue #5

       The woman on my right showed some interest when I told her that I have the privilege of writing the diary which is spread around the Doo-Dah Counter. She writes about education for The Wichita Eagle. I mentioned the last item of the first issue, because it is about Matt Bogart, the star of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Century II Concert Hall last year. He is back for Guys and Dolls this week (the end of June.) While she and I were conversing, Matt came up from his table to greet me. It was a pleasure to learn that he remembered me from last year. It was an even greater delight when he invited me to join him at The Counter for breakfast the next morning. Both the reporter and the server Laura, who drives The Doo-Dah Counter, took a picture of the two of us and sent me a copy. It was an unfair photo, because, although his face is that of a musical star, it is unable to boast the lines of maturity which mine has acquired in an additional 40 years. There was a rather long line waiting outside the door when The Diner opened Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, but seating was immediate for everyone.

      We sat at The Counter where, thanks to my pokey eating habits, we got acquainted with two different young men who took turns sitting to my right. Both were here from faraway places on aircraft business, and both seemed to enjoy being a part of the conversation. I learned that, along with being a star on Broadway and off, Matt has participated in two dozen musicals in Wichita. In my ignorance, I did not know at first that Matt was a star on the stage. I took to him, as you would, because he is one of these people whom you cannot help but like.

      The 28-year-old at The Counter works for Universal in Florida. He is in Wichita to coordinate with Chance Manufacturing on the creation of a ride to be used in a new amusement park in China. It is his job to see that the park gets built. He has previously lived in California and worked for Disney. When asked what kind of ride Chance was making, his only response was that it was “awesome.” He apparently wants to surprise us. (over)

      The husky New Mexican who sported a big black cowboy hat, no longer rides bulls. That is for younger people whose bones knit more quickly. He owns and manages the bull-riding show which was to take place at the Intrust Bank Arena that evening. It has been seen in 32 states and in countries as far away as Brazil and Australia. He provides the bulls for the contestants. His North Carolinian lunch companion with the baseball cap is the announcer for the shows. Their Triple D fare, half orders of three of the most popular breakfast items, Banana Bread French Toast, Crispy Corned Beef Hash, and Tanya's Benny, plus a biscuit with sausage gravy, gave them away as probable first-timers at The Doo-Dah Counter. Their hotel had sent them there.

      It was her second time at the Doo-Dah Diner Counter, and she was able to relish the second half of a breakfast burrito, but she had to ask for a to-go box for the first half. She will spend two more weeks in Wichita to complete residency in her family-medicine training, which has taken eleven years. She chose family practice because of the variety. Her plans are to specialize in hospitalized adult patients in Oklahoma City. Having been interested in artistic painting all her life, she made her first attempt at doing one herself last night. I was so impressed with the result, that she gave the picture to me. I felt quite honored. When I suggested that she might have to forget about being a doctor and become an artist, she explained how she could do both. As a doctor in a hospital, she will work just every other week. That gives her twenty-six weeks a year to paint if she wants to.

     Have you ever had breakfast with the city manager of Wakeeney, Ks, population 1800? Well, I have. I timed it just right at The Doo-Dah Counter one day. He was eating a waffle with chicken and chocolate syrup. He came to Wichita with his wife, who, as a member of the Wakeeney school board, was attending a conference at Century II. He was looking forward to bringing her to the Doo-Dah buffet the next day. For 21 years he has enjoyed the variety of problems that present themselves to a city manager.

Smile, say, “Good morning,” and start asking questions. You’ll be glad.


Richard, Issue #3

     Beam one of your radiant smiles, say “Hi” to your neighbor, and start asking questions. You may never sit away from The Doo-Dah Counter again.

     When the apparent 25-year-old boy on my right turned out to be 46, I began to wonder if my advanced age was making everyone else seem young. It was a relief when he informed me that his youthful looks fooled lots of people. He has worked the last couple of years at a plastics company which hires 300 people and makes hundreds of products. He is one of a dozen inspectors who check samples to make sure they are the correct size, shape, and quality. If you buy one of those samples, you should be reasonably sure of not having any problems with it. We were both glad that we had ordered the blackened-chicken hash special. He was looking forward to taking his full stomach home for a nap during the only half-day that he gets off work throughout the week. He is putting in almost as many hours as I do at my job, which I have thoroughly enjoyed for 24 years. I am a retiree.

     The youngster on my left, who may have been as old as the one on my right, but didn’t seem like it, lives in Switzerland where, as a native, he has developed a cool accent. Have you noticed that Kansas is the only place in the world where most people do not speak with an accent? Although he is here for some training at Cessna this time, he accompanies aviation customers to Wichita several times a year. He likes the people here and at The Doo-Dah Counter, which he frequents whenever he has a chance. I had the good fortune of getting the stool next to his at The Counter again the next day.     (over)

     The young septuagenarian holding down the next stool at The Counter had done occasional accounting work over the years, but her main career was making a home for her family. When they moved to Wichita in 1980, they settled on the west side, because her husband had a job at Learjet. He works on the other side of town at Spirit now, but they are not moving. Their three grown children all live in the Wichita area, and they enjoy being able to visit their childhood home. Besides, how can they move without discarding the things which their children have left behind? And how can they throw those things away? This was her first meal at the Doo-Dah Diner. She tried coming once before on a Monday and learned that the Doo-Dah weekend fell on Monday and Tuesday.  I was not that fast a learner. When I started, I came on both Monday and Tuesday before I wised up. I see that the Doo-Dah is open Tuesday through Sunday now. Hot diggity!

     Many people from the downtown hotels wend their way to The Doo-Dah Counter. The woman from Atlanta was quick to smile and had a captivating aura which is difficult to acquire before the age of sixty. She was here to give one of the lectures on communication disorders which she provides to several universities. Her husband is retired and plays golf. They spend part of each week together.   

      Last year I sat next to a 35-year-old man with a large book of music spread in front of him. I asked if he was going to sing us a song, which got the conversation started. He turned out to be Lucas Meachem, who had come from New York to sing the title role of the William Tell Opera at Century II. Upon googling him later, I learned that he was singing lead roles not only around the country, but around the world. One article called him America’s best baritone. We got acquainted and ate together several times. When he learned that I was going to be out of town at a bridge tournament the night of the opera, he invited me to the dress rehearsal. It was quite an experience having the auditorium almost to myself. After the rehearsal, we made arrangements to have lunch at the Doo-Dah on his last day here. Karla Burns, a local singer who has also made a name for herself around the world, plays bridge at the Wichita Bridge Center where I play. I called and invited her to join us, thinking they would enjoy each other. They did. If you look for them on, you will, too.  


Richard, Issue #2

 Your neighbors at The Doo-Dah Counter are some of the most interesting people you will ever meet. Don’t miss the opportunity. Give them one of your beautiful smiles, along with a Good Morning or Hi or Howdy, and start asking questions. You will be glad you did, and it is almost certain that they will too. If, however, you happen to scare someone, and he bites you, call the server and ask to have his breakfast put on your bill. It will be far more effective (and safer) than biting him back. 

     When a 40-year-old woman sat down next to me the other day, I put on one of my prettiest smiles and greeted her with a Good Morning. Durned if her smile wasn’t even prettier than mine! If she hadn’t been so charming, it might have made me mad. With a degree in mathematics, she used to work in Finance at Learjet. She said she likes her current position as Dean of Academics at a local high school even better, because she can sing and dance without being deemed weird. I asked her what a Dean of Academics does. Her response was that she gets to tell the teachers what to do. That young woman got my day off to a beautiful start, and I think I made a difference in hers, too.

     At a Sunday buffet, a father showed me a photo of his two children and confided that marital problems keep him from seeing them as often as he would like.  He seemed more cheerful when he left The Doo-Dah Counter. Another man, a biomedical engineer, was accompanied at The Counter by one of his 12 children, ages 8-18, 9 of them adopted. Marital problems do not seem to be one of his options.

     My home, which was built several years before WWI, was bought by my daddy during WWII. I learned long ago that its nocturnal creaks and knocks are just ghosts, so I normally ignore them. However, one recent night, when it sounded as if they were getting a head start on Halloween, I decided to do some checking. All I found was a deceased cricket stuck to a mouse glue trap. When my computer finally gave me permission to go to bed, I happened to glance at the thirteen-inch-high empty plastic waste basket in the bedroom. Upon picking it up to examine the dark gray spot in the bottom, I spied a pair of small eyes pleading with mine. It was then that I learned a fact that I thought might interest you. A mouse can jump surprisingly high, about nine or ten inches, but thirteen is beyond its capabilities. I dressed and carried the basket with leaping mouse to the street. The neighbor on the other side had a trash barrel on the curb ready for pickup, so I dumped it in with her trash and closed the lid. Hopefully, it was hauled to the landfill, but if it escaped, I felt reasonably safe that it would no longer be my house that served as its home. You may wonder what this has to do with The Doo-Dah Counter. Nothing, but aren’t you glad to learn how high a mouse can jump?