Chef Kyle Dalka and his family came to Wichita Falls and found a home. Now he is the owner and operator of Progress and Provisions Craft Kitchen, a unique restaurant located downtown on 900 8th Street in the Hamilton Building on the ground floor. Chef Kyle describes it as “a new American restaurant serving locally sourced and ethically raised items. We are pushing food in Wichita Falls to a different standard with our eclectic menu. Everything that is here in Wichita Falls is great, but we want to show people what else there is to offer, and what other ingredients are out there.” The menu has all kinds of surprises like the steak frites, which is pastrami spiced strip steak served with duck fat fries and herb butter. It also has some old fashion comfort food like the bread pudding with fresh whipped cream and house made candied pecans sprinkled on it. It has entrees for the vegetarian as well as the vegan, and to counter that there is the Texas Wagyu Burger.
Chef Kyle went to a culinary school in Austin. “When I went to school it was all about French cooking, so everything I do here always goes back to that French influence, but we make it our own way. The most popular thing on our menu is the meat loaf, but it isn’t your traditional meat loaf by any means. We braise short ribs, peel them off the bone, and whip them together with caramelized onions. Then we press them in a pan and cut squares out, so that is where the meatloaf comes in. We char it off on the grill and top it with tomato jelly instead of catsup, so you get that fresh tomato flavor with the sweet. We serve it with potatoes and whatever vegetable we get from the farm that week,” he explained.
“All our vegetables are locally raised. We use Becky Morath of the Morath Orchard, and what we can’t get from her, we try to get locally from somewhere else, but if not, we use Texas grown vegetables,” Chef Kyle said. They also use cage free chicken and grass-fed Texas beef.
When Chef Kyle and his wife Christina Enriquez came to Wichita Falls, they started out with a food truck. “The food truck was called DeDe’s Sweets and Eats, for my wife who is a wonderful baker. It didn’t take long for us to realize that it wasn’t sustainable on just pastries. I was a little less mature as a chef, and I had items on the menu that were what we would like to eat, but not necessarily what everyone else was interested in. When the local food truck gathering spot, The Yard, first opened, we were over there. We had it for two years before selling it,” he said.
“We knew that we would do something again when the time was right. And then the owner of the Hamilton Building, Mr. David White, contacted us to see if we were interested in this space. He said that the space was going to be available, and we sent him a menu on what we thought would work for the building. There are so many tenants in this building that don’t want to leave the building to go eat, and we wanted to show what we could bring to the Hamilton Building and downtown, too,” Chef Kyle said. “Mr. White didn’t just want to space filled. He is really supportive of whoever is in here, maybe like an entrepreneur who can’t go out and renovate a building. I think the menu and some of the things that were said about me by some of the other restaurants I have worked in helped, too.”
Chef Kyle started out in the food service business in high school, because he needed a job. “I did that basically until I was eighteen. I got out of it for a couple months and realized that I really missed it. I had a great childhood and cooked with my Grandma on Saturday mornings, but it was more about a reason to eat, and less about celebration. As I got older, I fell in love with it. You are constantly doing something different; and it is never the same thing every day,” he said.
“Our farmers are always bringing us something new or different and our suppliers and butchers are always giving us a different cut of meat or a vegetable that we have never seen before. That is kind of why I love it. It is always something new and exciting, and you are never done learning,” Chef Kyle said passionately. “I just want people to know, if they come in, I want them to have a great time. Whether they come in by themselves or with people, or on a date, from the moment they walk in, to the moment they leave, we want to make sure they are happy. That isn’t just about the food. It is from the front of the house to the back. We are all a team, and we want to make sure that people have an experience that they have never had before. We hope that every time someone comes in they feel this way,” he said.
“We also really want to push the fact that we support local. I know it is a big saying right now, especially downtown. It is about supporting the local farmers and local butchers, and those that are working hard every day to support their families and to give you something different. That is why we go into detail about what is in this, or what is in that. When you go to the Farmer’s Market or to the local butcher, you are supporting the local economy.” Progress and Provisions Craft Kitchen does that well. “Give us a try. It might not be everyone’s first thought to come in here to eat, but if you come in and you try it, you will like it and want to come back,” Chef Kyle confidently explained. Their operational hours are Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00. The evening schedule often has specials like prime rib.
-Cindy Kahler Thomas