By Ken and Angie Locke
Gerrard’s is the fabled restaurant in the city of Goddard. We’d seen it. We’d heard about it.
We finally got to drive out there (barely 8 miles), pick a table, study the menu, talk with the people, and walk away both stuffed and with food for the next day. If you can find Highway 54, or you are already on Kellogg in Wichita and know which way west is, you can find Gerrard’s Restaurant.
Located at 20201 W. Kellogg in Goddard, Gerrard’s is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Their phone number is 316-794-8606. They still have a smoking section, although that will go away when the state law is enacted later this summer. Community support is obvious; both the placemats and the menus are edged with advertisements of local businesses both large and small.
The wall behind the cash register is full of funny posters, plaques, and pictures – things like “TV and remote for sale. Husband included.” It didn’t take long to pay, but we must have stood there for 10 minutes reading all the funny stuff on the walls. Plan that time into your own visit; you won’t be able to leave until you’ve read them all.
The first smiling face we saw was that of our friend Chelse, who we’ve known since she was little and came to the Cub Scout meetings at our house with her dad and brothers. The next smiling face was our waitress, who turned out to be the day manager, Melissa, who has worked at Gerrard’s for 15 years. Suzy, the cashier, won the prize of the day, though, for working there an amazing 24 years. Tom Yun is the owner, and has been since sometime around 2003. He used to be a part owner of a few other restaurants in Wichita, but is now concentrating on Gerrard’s.
Did you know there is a buffet six days a week? Monday through Friday is a lunch buffet, 11 to 2, and the Sunday buffet is all day. The Sunday buffet switches from breakfast to lunch/dinner somewhere late morning. There is usually a daily special, too. Monday is meatloaf and homemade chicken dumplings; Tuesday is pot roast, fried chicken, and bierocks. Yes, bierocks, only a few miles from the Wichita city limits. Wednesday is cook’s choice, Thursday is baked steak and fried chicken, and Friday is seafood. Saturday is reserved for T-bones, or ribs, or something nice along those lines.
Grilled Tilapia comes in a whole order (two filets) or half order (one filet). Angie got the whole order and thoroughly enjoyed the perfectly crisped tilapia, served with choices of sides. Angie’s choices?
Classic mashed potatoes and green beans cooked with bacon. No way to get a better meal than that! Even though I am not a huge fish fan (which you may remember), I love the flaky goodness of that poor lil fishie. Thanks, lil fishie!
I ordered about three people’s worth of food, because I couldn’t stand not to try it all. The combo appetizer basket included cauliflower, mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, and mozzarella sticks, all battered and fried with blue cheese dressing and marinara sauce. Biscuits and gravy followed, along with the “potatoes and egg bowl,” with choice of eggs and type of sausage. I had to try the chicken fried steak, served with mashed potatoes and gravy and black-eyed peas. Loved it all!
The restaurant is large and it was right at lunchtime so the cooks must have been working hard to keep up. Our wait for the food seemed really short, and the food came out piping hot. Kudos to the kitchen for keeping up with chilly patrons who had just beaten the rain on that Saturday.
Our server said the normal crowd that she cares for doesn’t need a menu and she doesn’t need to ask them what they want, assuming they want their normal orders. She even remembers tables of 6-8 and asks them (with a smile), “Do we need to talk?” If they say no, she just puts the memorized order in without need of reminders.
Gerrard’s was a homey port on a blustery day. We loved the menu choices and we loved the leftovers. We loved catching up with our longtime friend Chelse, and making some new ones too. Have a great time when you go, and remember to cross it off your list of “things we simply have to do” after you get home.