Category Archives: Restaurant closings

Fans of Thai Smile not smiling today

thai smileFans of Thai restaurant Thai Smile are definitely NOT smiling this morning.

The restaurant’s owners announced on Facebook on Saturday that it was closing for good. “Unfortunately we cannot keep opening for personal reasons,” the post read.

It also said that if owners could find a way to reopen the restaurant in the future, they would.

Last summer, owner Sakunphan Pongphan moved the restaurant from its original spot 1524 S. Seneca to a bigger location at 1601 E. Pawnee, the former Li’l Mexico building.

When it first opened four years ago, Thai Smile was called Thai Five.

Red Beans closing Thursday, auctioning off decor next week

logoAs word has leaked out that Red Beans Bayou Grill at 7447 W. 21st St. will close at the end of business on Thursday, people have been swarming in for a last taste of jambalaya, etouffee and pork loin Thibideaux, said owner Bill Rowe.

Rowe, who has owned the restaurant since he bought it from founder Richard Waite in 2008, said that the Cajun/American restaurant is “just doing okay.” But his Blue Moon Caterers is doing more than okay.

“My catering company is just exploding,” he said. “I’ve more than tripled my sales since 2000, and it deserves all the attention I can give it.”

The Red Beans building lease was up, Rowe said, so rather than renew, he decided now was a good time to close the restaurant and focus on Blue Moon.

Richard Waite  (left) and Rick Jeffrey, just as they were about to open Red Beans in 1998.

Richard Waite (left) and Rick Jeffrey, just as they were about to open Red Beans in 1998.

Waite and some partners opened Red Beans in 1998. Rowe previously had owned  Willie C’s Cafe & Bar.

Next week, Rowe said, he will be auctioning off the wild Cajun decor that hangs in the dining room as well as the kitchen equipment.

The decor auction starts at 9 a.m. Monday at the restaurant and will include all the colorful items on the walls, including stuffed fish, animals and a stuffed boar’s head. Rowe says he also has an extensive beer can collection that might be worth something.

The kitchen equipment auction is at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

For more information, call 316-721-4100.

Anna Murdoc’s closed, but only until Monday

downloadAnna Murdoc’s Cafe, the coffee shop and restaurant at 209 E. William owned by Gerard Rodriguez and family, has been closed since last Wednesday, June 11.

But the shut-down is only temporary, Gerard said. The restaurant will reopen with its normal hours on Monday.

The restaurant needed a good scrubbing, said Rodriguez, who now also is running the Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria at 2411 N. Maize Road.  And there’s a lot going on at the moment with the family, which also includes R Coffeehouse owner Angelo Rodriguez, who just had a baby. R Coffeehouse is at 1144 N. Bitting in Riverside.

Gerard hinted that there’s a big concept change in the works for Anna Murdoc’s but he’s not ready to share details yet, he said. It’ll continue to exist as is for several months.

Stay tuned for updates.

HomeTown Buffet on West Central is closed, could open elsewhere

The Hometown Buffet at 6820 W.  Central closed suddenly last week.

The Hometown Buffet at 6820 W. Central closed suddenly last week.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE

Overnight, I heard back from the marketing firm that represents HomeTown Buffet, who indicated that it’s possible that Hometown Buffet could eventually return to Wichita. (The restaurant closed suddenly a week ago.)

“The location was at the end of its lease and we could not come to terms with the landlord,” said a statement, signed “HomeTown Buffet management.” “We are currently exploring other possible locations to reopen new, renovated restaurants in the future.”

The statement also said that managers and crew who had at least 90 days on the job were given severance packages.

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(First posted Monday, June 16) Wichita’s HomeTown Buffet at 6820 W. Central closed suddenly last week. All the signs are stripped from the building, and on the door is a sign that reads “This location has permanently closed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we sincerely appreciate your patronage over the years.”

In 2012, Buffets Inc., which owns HomeTown Buffet, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed restaurants across the country, but at the time, Wichita’s was spared. The company changed its name to Ovation Brands last year.

It’s been a bad year for buffet restaurants in Wichita. In January, the last location of Furr’s also closed. Until late 2003, Wichita also had an east-side HomeTown Buffet at 6160 E. Central.

I have a call into the restaurant’s marketing manager and will update this post later if I get an explanation.

Last chance for Chinese: Two long timers closing

Farewell, Golden House. Photo by Julie Mah.

Farewell, Golden House. Photo by Julie Mah.

Fans of Chinese food in Wichita are running out of time to eat at two old favorites.

Golden House, a carryout Chinese spot at 504 S. Broadway that’s long been a favorite of downtown workers (including many at the Wichita Eagle) is closing at the end of the day on Saturday. It’s been in business for 16 years, but the owners are retiring and moving to Atlanta. A Sonic will open on the property by the end of the year.

Also, Yen Ching — which was my favorite Chinese restaurant when I first moved to Wichita — also is closing after 30 years at 430 N. Rock Road. The lease is up on the space, and the landlord has decided to give it to Qdoba Mexican Grill. Owners aren’t exactly sure when the restaurant’s last day will be and say it depends on how quickly the stock runs out. It’ll at least be open through Sunday, Mother’s Day, but will close sometime between Monday and May 18.

The closings bring to mind a question someone recently asked me. Where should Wichitans go these days if they want a nice, sit-down Chinese meal and don’t want a chain like Pei Wei?

That’s a hard one to answer. Kwan Court is gone, and Yen Ching soon will be, too. That leaves Wichita with mostly fast-Chinese places such as Great Wall or an array of super buffet restaurants.

My picks are Oh Yeah! China Bistro at 3101 N. Rock Road, which has a nice interior and good food. I also like the retro feel of both Lee’s at 6215 W. Kellogg and Ming’s at 1625 S. Seneca, and the food is decent at both.

Where do you go for sit-down Chinese food?

Oliver’s Little Italy to shut is doors on Saturday

oliversOliver’s Little Italy, the Italian restaurant that opened last fall in the old Angelo’s spot at 1930 S. Oliver, will close at the end of business on Saturday.

The location hasn’t worked out for a variety of reasons, said chef Scott Cosentino, whose girlfriend, Dyan Gordon, owns the restaurant. Cosentino said they hope to find another location but don’t know where that would be. They’ll keep the Facebook page up and running so that customers and fans can keep track of their next move.

For more information, call 316-260-6395.

Food truck turnover: Two trucks calling it quits

Happy trails, Schoenhals. We'll miss your Cake Faces.

Happy trails, Schoenhals. We’ll miss your Cake Faces.

Two food truckers have announced recently their plans to park.

One is Cake Face Bake Shop, whose very nice owners Summer and Dave Schoenhals, are moving to Oregon for a job opportunity. (They explained the circumstances on their Facebook wall.)

The couple is selling the truck, an 18 x 8 upgrade they bought in August. They’ve posted an ad offering the truck and all of its contents for sale on Craigslist. I’ll miss these two, who have been a happy and constant presence on Wichita’s food truck scene since the very beginning. I’ll also miss their delicious food.

Also, the food truckers who last summer bought the Schoenhals original rig also are closing up. Joseph and Cherre Nestelroad, who last fall opened a pizza food truck called The Rolling Dough, posted last week on the truck’s Facebook wall said that they have too much going on in their lives, especially with two small children, to keep the business going. The post indicated that the couple was open to considering giving it another go when their kids are older.

Downtown sports bar is out of business

photo (41)One of  Wichita’s best big screens for watching sporting events has gone dark.

It appears that Fat Tony’s, the sports bar that opened at 417 E. Douglas in spring of 2011  featuring a 26-foot-tall screen, is no longer in business. The restaurant’s Facebook page indicates it has closed as does a sign posted on the door, the giant dumpster sitting out front and the disconnected phone number.

Fat Tony’s, owned by Bryan Shapiro (who also had nightclub Doc Howard’s in Old Town), will be remembered for many things, not the least of which was its crazy food challenges. I’ll never forget watching local foodie Frank White come nearly die trying to complete the restaurant’s lethal hot wings challenge.

I’ll let you know if I hear anything from the owner.

Bali Cafe will close on Feb. 7

I’m sorry to report that Bali Cafe at 2716 E. Central is closing, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Their last day in business will be Feb. 7.

Angga Heinrich, a former accountant, and her mother, Farietni Abbas, opened the restaurant in May, specializing in cuisine from Indonesia. I had several friends tell me that they liked the food, and it was on my “to-review” list.

bali

Famous Valentine diner Brints closed again

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Brints Diner is closed again. But it could reopen soon, said the building’s landlord, Homer Morgan.

The restaurant, which has operated in a Valentine Diner at 4834 E. Lincoln for more than 50 years, has been through several owners over the past year.

Longtime owner Jessie Medina closed it in October of 2012. Shortly after, Neighbors Bar & Grill owner Chuck Giles took it over and ran it until this summer before deciding he was more of a one-restaurant man.

Morgan found new operators, but they recently fell behind on the rent, he said. He served them with an eviction notice a week ago, and by Friday, they were gone. The diner has been closed since.

Morgan says he has another restaurateur interested in running Brints under the same name, but he speculates the diner will be closed for at least a month.

Brints is famous not only for its 2007 inclusion on Guy Fieri’s show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” but also for operating inside a Valentine diner. About 2,000 of the buildings were made by Wichita’s Valentine Manufacturing between 1938 and 1971, and architecture buffs are still passionate about them.

Former Brint's Diner owner Jessie Medina with Guy Fieri back in ???, when the diner appeared on

Former Brints Diner owner Jessie Medina with Guy Fieri back in 2007 when the diner appeared on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Other Valentine diners in Wichita include Grinder Man at 510 E. Pawnee, Sport Burger at 134 N. Hillside, and the now-closed Dyne-Quik/El Maya at 1202 N. Broadway.

Brints first opened in 1960 but was called Hunt’s Diner. Its next owners changed the name to Brints, which has stuck through present day.

I’ll keep you updated on the new owner.