Category Archives: About-to-open

New restaurant in Delano will focus on ‘Eastern Cuisines’

The old Lotus Leaf space on west Douglas will soon be home to Eastern Cuisines.

The old Lotus Leaf space on west Douglas will soon be home to Eastern Cuisines.

A new restaurant is moving into the space that Lotus Leaf vacated in March when it moved to 251 N. Washington in Old Town.

Tumaini Kilangwa, a native of Tanzania, Africa, says she will open Eastern Cuisines in the space at 613 W. Douglas on Aug. 11.

The restaurant will serve breakfast and a lunch buffet that focuses on foods native to countries such as Africa, England, Ireland, India, Italy and the Philippines. It will include items such as rice pilaf, samosas, noodle dishes and kabobs. She’ll also have meat pies, beans, vegetables and many styles of potatoes.

Once open, the restaurant will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except for Saturday. The buffet will end at 3 p.m. each day, but pastries and coffee will be available until close.

Kilangwa, who moved to Wichita in 2000, said she’s been doing catering from home while saving up her money to open a restaurant — and building her own confidence.

I’ll let you know more as the opening date draws near.

Second Wings & Things opens on Saturday

2mwl1.SlMa.80I reported back in May that a second location of Wings & Things, the restaurant owned by football star and Wichita native Kamerion Wimbley and his aunt Valerie Mitchell, would open this summer, and the day arrives on Saturday. The new restaurant is at 331 W. 31st St. S. and just like the original at 2800 E. Central, it specializes in wings with several sauce choices, catfish, burgers and more. It also will have the same hours as the original Wings & Things, which opened a year ago: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m.t o 8 p.m. Sundays.

To celebrate the grand opening of the new store and the original store’s first birthday, both restaurants will offer specials daily from Saturday through July 20. Customers can get 75-cent wings, $5 cheeseburger and fries baskets and $5 one-piece catfish baskets. For more information, visit

New Italian restaurant Albero Cafe about ready to go

IMG_0473I’ve been getting a frenzy of e-mails from College Hill-ians noticing that the new Albero Cafe, which is going into the former Bocconcini building at 4811 E. Central, is about to open.

This morning I stopped by and talked to Hassan Ballout, who said opening day for his Italian restaurant is still almost two weeks away. He hopes to have the restaurant ready to go the week of July 21.

Ballout, who worked for 10 years at nearby Bella Luna Cafe, has remodeled the space, adding new flooring, new tables and chairs and a fresh coat of paint. It looks and smells brand new, and it’s bright and open.

He also has his menu ready to go. It features flatbreads, salads, panini sandwiches and pasta dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, Italian sausage penne and shrimp scampi. Entrees included grilled grouper, grilled salmon, strip steak, chicken Parmesan and eggplant Parmesan. The restaurant also will offer several Italian sodas and will have a liquor license.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

I’ll let you know when Ballout settles on a firm opening date.

Dempsey’s Burger Pub coming to Clifton Square

A burger from Dempsey's Burger Pub.

A burger from Dempsey’s Burger Pub.

The man who got his start in the restaurant business with one of my favorite college haunts is opening a burger place in Clifton Square.

Steven Gaudreau, a Wichita native, is opening Dempsey’s Burger Pub in the old John Browns Space in Clifton Square, 3700 E. Douglas. He’s started work on the remodel of the space but won’t know for several more weeks when he’ll be able to open.

Gaudreau got his start in 1991 with Quinton’s Bar & Deli, a delicious soup and sandwich place on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence. I ingested many calories there in the early 1990s.

He also owns a Quinton’s in Topeka, and there are Quinton’s franchises in Missouri and Iowa, too. He’s a  partner in Bison Witches Bar & Deli, too, which has locations in Norman, Okla., Lincoln, Neb., Tuscon and Tempe, Ariz.

Six years ago, he opened an Irish pub at 623 Vermont St. in Lawrence. Three years ago, he added gourmet burgers to the menu there. A year ago, he opened a Dempsey’s in Lincoln.

Wichita’s Dempsey’s will have all the menu items Lawrence’s does, but because he’ll have more space in Wichita, Gaudreau plans to expand the menu and add more heavy appetizers and sandwiches. The burgers are made with hormone-free beef and also offers Kobe burgers.

The dining room will take up both the upper level and lower level of the space, and Dempsey’s will serve alcohol as well.

It will not, however, have my beloved college staple: Wisconsin cheese soup in a bread bowl. (I plan to visit anyway.)

This is Clifton Square’s third attempt in recent years to get a restaurant in the space, which has been vacant since 2011. French restaurant Au Paris-Bruxelles was slated to open but never did. Mortimer’s Piano Bar was slated to go in before, that but also never happened.

Gaudreau grew up in Wichita, attending Blessed Sacrament and Kapaun Mt. Carmel high school. He remembers frequenting a candy store in Clifton Square as a child.

“This is a homecoming,” he said.

Stay tuned for more details.

Sweet Basil aims for early August reopening

Firefighters battle the April 2 fire at Sweet Basil.

Firefighters battle the April 2 fire at Sweet Basil.

It’s been a long three months for Charli Singh, whose Sweet Basil restaurant at 2424 N. Woodlawn has been closed since early April because of a kitchen fire that resulted in an estimated $400,000 damage.

But when the restaurant reopens, possibly in early August, customers won’t recognize it.

Singh is working with an architect to re-imagine the interior of the 23-year-old restaurant. He’s adding a bar on the south wall, which the restaurant never had before, and he’s also getting all new tables and chairs. The paint job will be different, too.

“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “I wish I didn’t have to do it, but it’s also exciting.”

Singh has been asking his customers for feedback on what he should change and keep the same on the Sweet Basil Facebook page, where he also posted a remodel blueprint.

Stay tuned for updates.

New airport terminal will have Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A, River City Brewing

The new airport terminal will have an all-new lineup of restaurants.

The new airport terminal will have an all-new lineup of restaurants.

Can we all agree that the dining situation at the current Mid-Continent Airport terminal is beyond sad?

That will change when the new terminal opens next spring.

The Wichita City Council is expected on Tuesday to approve a plan for food and beverage service in the new terminal that will feature a food court filled with Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A and a branch of River City Brewing Co., complete with its craft beers.

That’s worth buying a ticket.

Read more about it in this story I just whipped up.

Anchor’s Schane Gross opening new College Hill restaurant

The Anchor's Schane Gross is planning to open Fork & Fennel in the old Taco Tinga space in August.

The Anchor’s Schane Gross is planning to open Fork & Fennel in the old Taco Tinga space in August.

The Anchor’s Schane Gross, who just opened her Douglas Avenue Chop Shop at 1113 E. Douglas, is about to open another restaurant.

Fork & Fennel is the name of the restaurant Gross is putting in to the old Taco Tinga/ Taco Tico building at 3425 E. Douglas, which is right next door to College Hill Deli & Catering.

The restaurant will showcase the locally produced products Gross has become excited about while supplying her new butcher shop: Creekstone Farms beef, Red Wattle pork, Good Shepherd poultry and Heritage eggs. She also plans to plant a garden near the restaurant and grow her own herbs and other produce. She’s already hired a gardener to work on that part of the project.

The menu will feature Parisian-style sandwiches on baguette plus entrees made with the local meats. She’ll have locally-made beers on draft and bottled craft beers and also will feature a menu of cocktails.

Fork & Fennel will be open for lunch and dinner, and Gross, who lives nearby, is hoping to attract a neighborhood crowd. She’s even planning to turn the area where the drive through is now into a bike rack.

The building needs a lot of cleaning, Gross said, but she is planning on an inexpensive remodel. She’ll document her efforts at “opening a restaurant on a dime” on a blog that she’s setting up.

Gross hopes to have the restaurant ready by August. Stay tuned for details.

Pie Five Pizza opening a second location

pie fiveBy the end of fall, Wichita will have two Pie Five Pizza Co. restaurants.

Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens already announced that he will open the first one in August at 334 S. Ridge Road, right by his Applebee’s at the corner of Maple and Ridge. Construction is underway on that location.

Then, in September, he’ll begin work on his second Pie Five. This one will be in a strip center in front of the SuperTarget at NewMarket Square. That one should be done by October. A second Firehouse Subs is going into the same strip center.

Pie Five is a build-your-own pizza restaurant, with four different kinds of crust, including gluten-free.

T.O.P.S. Steaks and Hoagies will open next week


Bernard Knowles knows Philly cheesesteak sandwiches because he grew up in Philadelphia.

He also knows the restaurant business because his parents owned a barbecue place in Philly for years, and helped run it.

Now Knowles, who works in his regular life as a general contractor, is opening a business that will utilize all that knowledge.

T.O.P.S. Steaks and Hoagies at 2251 E. 21st St., near 21st and Grove, is set to open next week, probably on Wednesday, Knowles said. The title stands for “Taste of Philadelphia Style,” and the restaurant will specialize in Philly cheesesteak sandwiches made with meat shipped in from The Original Philly Cheesesteak Co. in Philadelphia. The restaurant also will serve chicken cheesesteak, several styles of hoagie sandwiches and breakfast items such steak and eggs, omelets, home fries and grits.

The restaurant’s initial hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. On Friday nights, the restaurant will serve dinner specials such as barbecue ribs with collard greens, Knowles said. He’s planning a grand opening event for June 21.

Reach the restaurant at 316-239-6403.

Sweet Willy’s restaurant opens May 28, food truck in a month

Sweet Willys

Sweet Willy’s Redneck BBQ should open on May 28.

Sweet Willy’s Hillbilly BBQ will open in the next couple of weeks at 4628 S. Seneca, said owner Randy Hare, and in about a month, he also plans to add another barbecue food truck to the growing fleet.

Next week, Hare said, he’ll build his barbecue pit and accept delivery of his smokers. He’s aiming for an opening date of May 28 for his 36-seat restaurant,

In the meantime, he’s put out a menu that features standard barbecue fare plus items such as meatball subs, corn on the cob on a stick, and an interesting invention called “Redneck Tacos,” which feature polenta topped with pulled pork, coleslaw and mustard balsamic barbecue sauce.

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 11 a.. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Hare said that within the month, he also plans to have a Sweet Willy’s food truck parked and serving around Wichita about five days a week.

Here’s a look at the menu: Read More »