Downtown restaurants offer diversity of styles, flavors

Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant

 

Address: 732 S. Kansas Ave.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday

For 22 years, Lupita’s has been the staple of authentic Mexican cuisine downtown.

Owner Luis Fernando Muñoz took over the business after his mother and brother died.

Muñoz said Lupita’s stands as a testament to his mother and the amazing dishes she brought with her from Guanajuato, Mexico.

“All of the recipes are handmade. They’re all created by her,” Muñoz said. “When moving to the United States, it’s really important to everyone to represent where you came from. Everyone’s proud of their different regions and have to represent their state, and that’s what she did here.”

A traditional Guanajuato dish is huarache, which is similar to a tostada. It’s a thick, flat-fried corn tortilla topped with a choice of chicken, beef, tinga (shredded roast beef with onions, tomatoes and homemade red sauce), Al Pastor (diced pork with onions and pineapple), Papas Con Chorizo (potatoes and Mexican sausage) or Frijol y Queso (beans and cheese).

A few customer favorites are Monster Burrito, a 10-inch tortilla with rice, beans, chicken, beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese; David Burrito, named after former manager and Muñoz’s deceased brother, David Muñoz, made of pork, rice and cheese; and Chili Con Carne, which Muñoz said was his father’s personal favorite, with chunks of pork in spicy red sauce served with rice and beans on a flour or corn tortilla.

Globe Indian Cuisine

Address:117 S.E. 10th Ave.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday,

Promoted as one of the only family-run authentic Indian eateries, Amarpreet Singh’s Globe Indian Cuisine restaurant opened in November 2002. He said there was no Indian cuisine available in the area, and the spot developed a loyal customer base.

Singh said they get all types of people in his restaurant — different ethnicities, races and religions. He estimated nearly 90 percent of customers are repeats, including some who visit more than once a week.

In the back of the kitchen, Singh gives a demonstration of the tandoor, a clay oven used for some of the most popular dishes.

With a few quick twists of his wrist, Singh unballs some naan, a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, and quickly slaps the bread against the curved walls inside the oven. In a few minutes, the bread begins to bubble and brown. With a few deft moves, Singh uses a metal rod to peel the bread away, and then butters and cuts it into four pieces for serving.

The naan is just the tip of the authentic cuisine iceberg, Singh’s restaurant also offers classic favorites such as meat samosas, the equivalent of meat-filled empanadas; Chicken Tandoori, chicken marinated in a spicy yogurt baked on skewers in the tandoor; Special Biryani, basmati rice cooked with fresh shrimp, lamb tikka, chicken tikka, vegetables, nuts, raisins, spices and cilantro; and super-spicy Chicken Vindaloo, boneless pieces of chicken cooked with potatoes in a special hot tangy sauce.

Field of Greens

Address: 909 S. Kansas Ave.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays

Even before Field of Greens became a reality in 2002, owner Chris Schultz’s mother, Diane Schultz, said she’s been involved in the restaurant.

Diane is the creator of the Field of Greens’ famous no-bake cookies, one of the many touches that mark the establishment’s individuality.

On their website, fogreens.com, the Schultz family said choosing their location in the heart of downtown Topeka was more important than the draw of heavier populated areas. Between their hand-painted wall-hangings, garden-themed tablecloths and rustic-kitchen-style buffet lines, Field of Greens offers a quick and healthy lunch that brings its own style to downtown.

During a recent Wednesday lunch hour, Diane was busy. She hustled from table to table clearing dishes, stopping to wipe away stray lettuce on the buffet line and continuing to the kitchen to help prepare some of its made-to-order sandwiches and quesadillas.

Field of Greens offers salads, soups and spuds at the buffet. In addition to the no-bake cookies, the restaurant also has chicken, chicken club or cheese quesadillas and about a dozen different sandwiches, served with chips or its signature pasta salad, which Diane said is another customer favorite.

RowHouse Restaurant

Address: 515 S.W. Van Buren St.

Hours: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday

In 2007, owner Greg Fox began his first restaurant: the RowHouse Restaurant at 515 S.W. Van Buren St.

Fox described the house-turned-restaurant as “magical,” and a home you have to see to believe. When he was searching for properties, he said he walked past the house one afternoon on his way to the YMCA, went in to look around, and by the next morning had put in an offer.

“I was just drawn by the comfort of the house. It’s got these great windows on all four walls, which is really unique in a restaurant,” he said.

The RowHouse offers a rotating menu, with specialty dishes that change with the seasons.

Fox said it’s known for surprise courses and vegetarian dishes, which are always a weekly option.

Each week six courses are prepared, including three different entrees (vegetarian option, seafood option and usually a beef entree), as well as soup, salad and three choices for dessert.

The house is cozy, with seven different dining rooms that can seat from two people to 16. Fox said business has always been steady, and reservations are the norm.

“There’s never really been a huge shift in business, but I am anxious to see the changes that the city has been working on for some time now,” Fox said. “But I’ve always loved Topeka, I’ve never been one of those people who’ve been negative, I’ve always liked it as is.”

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