Doo-Dah Diner

Cooked from scratch Breakfast & Lunch, Open Tuesday to Sunday

Downtown is closed for remodeling until Summer 2019. Doo-Dah Diner East is opening January 9th. Same hours as downtown.

*** CALL AHEAD SEATING RECOMMENDED via NOWAIT App

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

VOTED WICHITA'S BEST BREAKFAST IN
2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018!

PEOPLE Magazine, Oct 8, 2018 Favorite Breakfast Restaurant - State of Kansas!

Filtering by Tag: Richard

WELCOME TO THE DOO-DAH COUNTER

   Richard, Issue #9

   The new east Doo-Dah Diner appears to be doing well. There is considerably more seating room, but it is still smart to call ahead to get your name on the list. You may not park any closer to the door, but there is plenty of parking space. The Counter is a bit cozier, but, along with good conversation, it still affords a front-row seat for observing the cooking. The window between The Counter and the kitchen has a distinct advantage over the old one. You can see the faces of the cooks, so it is no longer necessary to learn to recognize them by their arms. Nor do you have to wait until one leans forward to flash one of your beautiful smiles and say “Hi.” You can time it to when he or she is looking his or her busiest and needs a break.

   The air force member on the counter stool to my right was flying back to San Jose, California that evening after spending the week working with a computer server at the air base. He showed me a picture of him and his wife and three children, who were, in chorus, savoring the word “cheese.”  While I was thinking how lucky he was, he was bemoaning how unlucky it was that he had not discovered the Doo-Dah Diner earlier in the week.

   He says his decisions in evaluating commercial buildings are subjective. That is how he makes his living. He came half way across the country to attend a property-tax convention. He was here three years ago for the same reason, and he was happy to have a chance to eat at the Doo-Dah Diner again.  His subjectivity may be allowing him to eat, but it seems to me that it has a serious flaw. It takes me ten minutes to get to the Doo-Dah Diner, and I get to go almost every day.

   He lives in Dallas, where he got his college degree in electrical engineering a couple of years ago. The FAA pays him to travel around the country helping airports to keep their electrical systems up to date. Before trying his first meal at the Doo-Dah Diner Counter, that was his main reason for being in Wichita for about six weeks.

   The forty-year-old was driving from Chicago to her home in Las Vegas. Her brother lives in the Windy City, so she makes the trip quite often and brings in some money as an electrician while she is there. She enjoys taking different routes, and this was her first time at the Doo-Dah Diner. She plans to come this way more often. The food was good, and she was pleased when the waitress, realizing what had happened, offered to put her leftovers into boxes for later. We had a very enjoyable conversation, so when she said she hoped to see me next time she comes through, I gave her my email address. If you are there, I’ll introduce you. You will like her.

   The young man was taking advantage of the opportunity to sit on the warm counter stool next to the kitchen before its disappearance during the remodeling. The Counter will stay, but the north end of it will make way for another passageway for the servers. After attending public school in Cunningham, which is 60 miles west of Wichita, he trained to become a fireman. A back injury ended that plan, so he went to Newman University and became a history teacher at a magnet school in Wichita. His fire-fighting education did not go to waste, however. He teaches a class in it at the school. As long as he moves around while he is standing, his back behaves itself. It complains if he sits too long. I later met a fire fighter at The Counter who said he worked with a former student of the teacher.

 

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

WELCOME TO THE DOO-DAH COUNTER

Richard, Issue 8

My niece and her cousin joined me for breakfast at The Doo-Dah Diner, where they experienced the pleasure of meeting some of the interesting people who find their way to The Counter. The endearing young couple next to us, who ordered Tanya’s Benny and Chicken and Waffles, were married one year ago at the ages of 31 and 28. That seems pretty young to be taking such a step, but they appeared to be mature for their age. He started life as an Okie, and she as a Texan. They have been living recently in Montana, where he was a fire fighter. She, after teaching seventh grade for a while, worked more recently as a nanny for the owners of the fire-fighting company. They had become acquainted with the Doo-Dah earlier when he was helping to build the Quik Trip on the other side of the freeway. When they are in Wichita, that is where they eat. Why look any further? The waitress remembered not only them, but what they liked to eat, as well. They were on their way to Stuart, Florida for a wedding. She was looking forward to the Florida sunshine after living in Montana. They own a sailboat in which they will live while they go on to Bermuda, and then south through the Caribbean Sea. They have adopted a life style of wandering wherever life takes them next. They live simply and work and save, when they must, to support it. They say it is not as expensive living on a boat as you might think. I don’t mind sharing my envy with you.

   The man on my left was about to drive his rental car to the airport, where he would take off for his home in Indianapolis.  He was here visiting relatives, one being a toddler whom he had addressed that morning by her first name followed by the syllables “Doo-Dah.” He is a Director of Christian Development in Asia, and he enjoys finding locally-owned restaurants when he is traveling. When his search on the internet found one named “Doo-Dah Diner,” it was like a divine message. Not only did he hit the jackpot, but he got the “Scrumptious Sunday Buffet” and a seat at The Counter to boot.

   He came from Virginia to run in the Prairie Fire Marathon Race the next morning at 7:30, October 14. The timing was just right for having the extra fun of doing it in the rain which was forecast along with mid-forties temperatures. He planned to take advantage of a beautiful sunny afternoon for walking to shop for a poncho to wear before the race. He said he would not need it once he started running. When I suggested that he forget the whole thing and wait for nicer weather, he pointed out that he could not do that after traveling halfway across the country for the event. His goal is to run in every state of the union. His age is 37, and this is his 37th state. He must have started at a very early age. As a business consultant, he was going to make a trip to Dallas while he was in the vicinity. His college training was in engineering, and he is retired from the air force. He wolfed down a whole Triple D breakfast (half orders of Tanya’s Benny, Banana Bread French Toast, and Crispy Corned Beef Hash) plus a biscuit with sausage gravy, which gave him away at first glance as a likely first timer at the Doo-Dah Diner. That should have given him enough energy to participate in two or three marathons.

    As she pointed out, when she heard that my birthday was coming up, she is exactly ½ century and ½ year younger than I. I can hardly wait for her to catch up. You would have fallen in love with her; I did. She plays cello in the Wichita Symphony. She makes the third Wichita Symphony cellist with whom I have become acquainted over the years. She says the symphony practices around 10 hours during the week preceding a concert. She teaches 30 cello students, mostly of middle and high school age. She has a couple younger and a couple older ones. She had a 15-year-old student who was accepted in the Wichita Symphony. She loves her work. She grew up in Montana and has lived in Wichita for about 14 years. She got her college education in Appleton, Wisconsin and Wichita State University. She sits at The Counter when she comes to the Doo-Dah Diner alone. How lucky I am that she does; she is a beautiful person and a delight to converse with.

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

WELCOME TO THE DOO-DAH COUNTER

Richard, Issue #7

It was about a year ago that the forty-year-old man scooted down from the other end of The Counter to comment on the first Counter Chat, which he had just read. Whatever he said must have been encouraging, because this is the seventh issue. It makes my day if I happen to see a grin break out on the face of someone reading one. I never did know quite what to call the blurbs until Timirie recently came up with “Counter Chats.” It seems to fit, and I like it. In the ensuing conversation he let it be known that he designed computer software for Wichita State University and for other contracted projects.  He was considering giving up the university work, because he could earn considerably more money elsewhere, and he was concerned about preparing for a possible family and for retirement. For altruistic reasons, though, he really did not want to discontinue the work he was doing at the university. We talked until after closing time, and when we left, he took a spin around the parking lot on my 24-speed Terratrike. I thought he rode quite well for a youngster.

   This was the third time at the Doo-Dah for the young fellow next to me. He was wearing one of those stylish baseball caps with the bill in the back. I wish they made them like that for older people, but I haven’t seen any. It would make it much easier to look up.  He has been driving a delivery truck at night for six years for Casey’s General Store. Casey’s has four locations in Wichita and six in our suburbs. They tend to build stores in small towns. It may surprise you to learn that, nation-wide, they have about three times as many stores as there are Quik Trips. Along with gasoline and groceries, they specialize in selling pizza. My new friend was having the “bat out of hell” meat loaf, which he thought was even better than his former favorite in one of the more expensive restaurants on the east side. I was trying the chicken fried chicken, which was recently added to the menu. You will like it.

   A couple of weeks later, I got a spot at The Counter next to the Kwik Shop District Manager for the state of Kansas. He verified the information about Casey’s in the preceding paragraph.

   This was my second time for having the pleasure of chatting with the 62-year-old woman who is retired from 33 years as Postmaster of Colwich (a portmanteau [use the word three times and it’s yours] derived from the Colorado and Wichita Railroad). Centered around 53rd St. North and 167th St. West, Colwich is a Wichita suburb which covers about 1.31 square miles, has approximately 1310 residents, and is 131 years old. She has spent the past year working with her sister to sell homes.  Her contacts are mainly people who know her.

   I talked to a young fellow who was leaving for his home in Las Vegas the next day. He was here as a mechanic on the F-16 Falcon Fighters being flown in the air show. I heard two or three of the planes flying over my house later and wanted to run out to take a look, but my 87-year-old legs have retired from running, and F-16s, which can fly at twice the speed of sound, are unable to wait around for walking. They had to settle for being listened to, which worked out fine for everybody.

   It was Tuesday. His two older sisters, ages 6 and 8, were in school. Their daddy, who loves to whistle at work and away, was working on the roof or siding of someone’s home. The 4-year-old and his mother were holding down the north end of The Doo-Dah Counter. He goes to pre-school three hours a day, so in order to be with him, she recently resigned from her job at Coleman, where she was involved in selling large amounts of products to Latin American countries. It was obvious that he came from a happy family. He brightened The Counter. You should have been there. When his two huge pancakes came, garnished with blueberries, his mother mentioned that blueberries, which he loves, were helpful with his asthma. Both his and her eyes lit up when the waitress brought him a cup of them. As you might guess, most of his breakfast went home with them in a supper box. His mother had figured out how, with little effort, to keep him happy for two or three more meals.

WELCOME TO THE DOO-DAH COUNTER

Richard, Issue #6

   The Doo-Dah Counter is well made. If it is only half filled, with everyone sitting toward one end, it does not tilt. Baffling as this may be to anyone who has sat on a teeter-totter, it may be explained by the same magnetism that draws only interesting people to its stools. These interesting people, along with the famous Doo-Dah meals, are what make The Counter so special. To take advantage, just smile, say, “Good morning,” and start asking questions. You’ll be glad. So will they.

   When I thought I heard a giggle from the man on my left, I checked, and, sure enough, there was a grin to go with it. It made my day. He was reading one of my Counter Chats. I learned that he was here from the Seattle area to coach a team made up of exceptional players from around the state of Washington. They were here to compete in the National Baseball Congress, which is located, for the 84th and last time, at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. He had requested fried onions on his bologna and egg sandwich. It brought back memories of his childhood, and you could tell by the look on his face that they were pleasant ones. He arranged to bring about ten more people with him to the Doo-Dah the next day.

 I met a young man from Houston. He sells seismic data to gas and oil companies and comes to town three or four times a year. He has a son who is almost two years old and another baby on the way. He wishes he had brought his wife and son along on this trip before the boy reaches two years old and has to pay air fare. One of his customers is Murfin Drilling, Inc., the president of which I met at the Doo- Dah counter recently. I introduced that president to the teenager on my right who was in town from Kansas City for a baseball camp. While I leaned back out of their way, trying not to fall off the stool, the two of them had fun getting acquainted. (over)

   The charming woman who was dodging my left elbow, as she plucked at her chicken-fried steak,  manages three non-profit funds which award scholarships to top law students at Washburn, Notre Dame, and Kansas Universities. The purpose of the funds is to make it easier for graduates who would like to practice in the state of Kansas to do so. Thanks to the financial aid, they do not have to accept higher-paying work elsewhere in order to repay school loans. A recipient must have lived in Kansas ten years. This seems to be the criterion for having learned to enjoy the feel of the winds of the plains. She says the program has been quite successful, with 87% of the participants having settled here. You will not be surprised to hear that, after surveying restaurants within a 60-mile radius of Wichita, she declares the chicken-fried steak at the Doo-Dah Diner to be the best. The seasoning is just right, but the ratio of the breading to the meat was the cinching factor.

   The person on my left owned a company which designs airplane interiors. On the right was a man who was in charge of fabricating Grasshopper Mowers. I didn’t know such a thing existed. They range in price from about 5,000 to 52,000 dollars.

   The likable 30-year-old had tattoos even on his fingers. After having lived in Seattle, California, and Mexico, he now works at a health food store in Wichita, where he has family. He talked as if he had been through some hard times.  

   There are not as many birds as there used to be below the dam south of the Lincoln Street bridge on the river. That’s all right. It is worth the four-minute drive from the Doo-Dah Diner to observe even a few egrets, ducks, pigeons, gulls, geese, or maybe a blue heron or two, while listening to the roar of the waterfall. Drive south a half mile to Lincoln Street, head west a few blocks, turn south at the east end of the bridge, hook a right at the tracks, and you will find a place to park by the river. Next to the ramp on which kayaks and fish can change levels, there are two no-fishing signs which demark a favorite fishing area for both egrets and humans. If you are lucky, you may even get to count the cars on a train crossing the railroad bridge. It’s a relaxing spot to loll as dessert after savoring The Doo-Dah Counter.

WELCOME TO THE DOO-DAH COUNTER

     Richard, Issue #4

The charming woman on my right was sitting at The Counter next to her son, who is in Wichita for four months as a TV cameraman. He lives in Los Angeles. She lives in North Carolina, where she is retired from teaching small homeless children. Since Wichita is only half as far as Los Angeles, she had to take the short hop to see her son. When you are driving an RV, you can not afford to pass up the savings on gasoline for 2500 miles. The man on my left moved four years ago from his native France to Harlem, where he teaches French. He is in Wichita as part of an extended tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. He is such a fan of the well-known American architect of the last century, that he gave the impression that that was the reason he moved to the USA. I introduced my three Counter companions, and I’m glad they enjoyed each other, but have you ever tried eating while leaning back on a backless stool so that the people on both sides of you can carry on a conversation?

     The man at The Counter greeted me when I sat down between him and the couple on my left, with whom he was conversing. He asked my age, and I told him to guess. He politely guessed three years too low. Then he asked me to guess his age. Whatever age he was, he was slender and was holding it well. Thinking that he must be several years older than he looked, I guessed 72. He was 70. Aargh! Well, it was encouraging to see again that I am not too old to learn, or at least to be reminded to think before opening my mouth. His hometown is St. John, Ks., which is about half way between Pratt and Great Bend. He moved to the west side of Wichita in 1981, where he has been working as a financial adviser. This was his first time at the Doo-Dah, and he plans to come back. He brightened The Counter for those around him. The man on my left was also there for the first time, but the woman with him had been there a time or two before. His eyes lit up when I told him about the Sunday buffet. 

    Don’t you love it when you find someone who can bring out your best in a conversation? My sister-in-law in California, with whom I communicate by email, is one of those people. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will ever have the pleasure     of running into her at the Doo-Dah Counter, so I gave her an imaginary invitation to the Sunday buffet. I suspect that she just cannot imagine how good that Doo-Dah pork belly is. She changed the subject after only a dozen ensuing short emails:                                                                                    

“Top of the morning to you! Looks as if Friday was a beautiful day in Wichita.” “Top o' the morning to you, too. Do you want to go to the Doo-Dah buffet this morning?” “Sure!” “How did you like the pork belly and grits?” “Awful, but coffee was good! 🤪” “You're joking, aren't you? I've never known anyone who tasted the pork belly at the Doo-Dah Diner and didn't like it.” “Now you do!!” “Could it possibly have been those good grits that you didn't like? Did you taste the pork belly separate from the grits?” “Yep - NASTY” “Everyone else with whom I have discussed the pork belly thinks it is TASTY. Was it the fat that bothered you, or did you actually not like the taste?” “Both! Btw have you tried it?” “Yes, I savor a slice from the buffet every Sunday.  You would really like it if you really tried it. Just delete the word ‘belly’ from your mind and think ‘pork.’ ”

WELCOME TO THE DOO-DAH COUNTER: ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF WICHITA

Richard, Issue #1

What makes the Doo-Dah Counter so special—the terrific food or the terrific people? It’s a rare combination of both that exerts its magnetism on my 2-, 3- or 4-wheeled conveyance (depending on the weather and the degree of hunger) each day. Where else can you find such interesting people to visit while savoring one of Patrick’s consummate culinary concoctions?

     The Doo-Dah Counter can be a delectable experience. Just grin, say, “Hi,” and start asking questions.

     When the 30-year-old automotive technician finished licking his plate clean, the executive from Koch Industries fell heir to his counter stool. He was accompanied by his wife, who runs a fireworks business. They had moved to Wichita from the Pacific Northwest after learning of the Doo-Dah Counter. It was the “bat out of hell meat loaf” that cinched it for him—with good reason. If you haven’t tried it, you must. Timirie is proud to claim it as her recipe. She changed the green peppers to red peppers in her mother’s recipe.

     The handsome young man who climbed onto the warm counter stool next to the kitchen had the looks of a rock star. You would guess that he had the world by the tail.  However, he is recovering from the third operation on his right eye. He is fighting to keep his vision. He grinned as he revealed his plans to sport an eye patch during the healing process.

     The strength and conditioning coach moved to Wichita the first part of August. Judging from his youthful looks, I asked him if he was fresh out of school. His surprising response was that, including five years of internship, he had already practiced his profession for twelve years in Northern California. His personal conditioning makes it obvious that he knows his business. This was his first time at the Doo-Dah Counter, and he polished off a big breakfast burrito and some banana bread French toast. Hmm.

     The regulars know the chiropractor at the Doo-Dah counter as “Doc.” If you are in need of a smile, drop him one. You are guaranteed to get one in return. Do it before he takes that next bite, though.

     The backyard swimming pool is sitting on the delivery truck in front of the house, and there is no way to drive the truck around the house. What do you do? Answer: You call the man with the suave moustache who was sitting next to me this summer relishing the Doo-Dah special of the day, a patty melt with French fries. He was born into his line of work. His father had been a crane operator, and he, the day before, had used his crane to lift a swimming pool up and over a house to place it in the back yard. Can you do that? Would it even occur to you to do that?

     A few weeks ago I struck up a conversation with a 46-year-old, who looked more like 26,  sitting next to me at the Doo-Dah counter. It turned out that he was here from New York City to play a lead part in a musical at Century II. Later Googling found that he has been a lead in one of the longest-running Broadway shows, and he is now the lead in an off-Broadway show.

     Aren’t you glad you came?