Clifton Square’s French restaurant not happening after all

A new French restaurant is opening in the old John Brown’s space this summer.

Au Paris-Bruxelles, a French and Belgian restaurant planned for Clifton Square, isn’t going to happen after all.

Owner Jo Zakas said she recently heard from Florence and Didier Fraikin, who had been in the process of moving to Wichita from Belgium to open the restaurant.

On their way to Wichita from California, their car broke down, and they ran out of money, they told Zakas. Despite having paid on their lease at Clifton Square, the couple decided they had to scrap their plans.

It’s the second deal to fall through for the space that last held John Browns. Previously, Kevin Brown and Tracy Fahrbach had announced they’d open Mortimer’s Piano Bar there then changed their minds.

Clifton Square is on a dining upswing, though. Both Ziggy’s Pizza (one of my favorite places to eat in Wichita) and College Hill Creamery drew big crowds throughout the summer.

French restaurant to open in Clifton Square

A new French restaurant is opening in the old John Brown’s space this summer.

A French and Belgian restaurant called Au Paris-Bruxelles will open in the old John Brown’s space in Clifton Square in June, the center said today.

Florence and Didier Fraikin are relocating from Belgium to open the restaurant. They’ve visited the United States several times over the years and say they have dreamed of opening a restaurant here, too.

This means that Mortimer’s Piano Bar, which Kevin Brown and Tracy Fahrbach had previously announced they’d open in the space, won’t go there. Several calls over the past few months to Brown have gone unreturned.

Florence is a graduate in cooking arts of the Citadel in Namur, Belgium. The couple also has a restaurant in France, located one hour south of Paris, called Le Vieux Bruxelles.

The restaurant will offer Belgian specialties such as fish soup, terrines and salad nicoise. They’ll also have French specialties such as  bœuf Bourguignon.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information.