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.