New restaurant, new patio, new owner

Luca Italian Kitchen in Old Town Square should be open in about 15 days.

There’s all kinds of news in Melad Stephan’s dining world

Stephan, who owns Oeno and Sabor and the soon-to-open Luca Italian Kitchen in Old Town Square, plus Press out east at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb, recently sold one of his restaurants — Egg Cetera, the breakfast restaurant at 242 N. Mosley that he’s owned since June of 2005. (I’m working on getting information on the new owner. So far, all I know is that his name is Manuel.)

“I just need to not worry at 6 o’ clock in the morning,” Stephan said of his desire to sell the breakfast and lunch restaurant. “I have enough worries from 9 to 2.”

I drove past Luca today, and it’s coming along nicely. Stephan says he hopes to have it open by June 14 or 15. When I visited, workers were painting shelves, and when I peeked inside, I could see that Stephan is reconfiguring the space to make it look different from its former incarnation as Uptown Bistro. The menu is coming together, created by Gianluca Sciagata, the restaurant’s new Italian chef, who moved here from Aspen, Colo. Stephan says he’s most excited about tasting the chef’s homemade mozzarella and homemade pastas.

Sabor's pretty new patio, which faces Old Town Square.

Also, Stephan finally has his patio at Sabor opened, with seating for about 25. It’s a very pretty little patio, and Stephan says he has approval to put one on the front side of Luca as well. He also has obtained approval to expand his Oeno patio all the way back past the side of his new banquet room, and once he prices fencing, he’ll get started on that project.

Once Stephan sends me the Luca menu, I’ll share more details.

Chef Pitts’ new gig

The hardest working chef in chef business, Doug Pitts, has a new job.

Schane Gross, owner of The Anchor at 1109 E. Douglas, has hired him to get her kitchen in order. This is his first full week on the job, and people are starting to notice his presence, she said.

Gross wants to give Pitts the freedom to offer beer dinners and other special events and to show off his creativity. He’s putting together a small Mother’s Day brunch as one of his first head-of-the-Anchor-kitchen activities.

Pitts most recently headed the kitchen at Press but left in January. Since then, he’s been working on the wait staff at Bonefish Grill.

The rest of Press

Press, the month-old cocktail lounge and restaurant in the old Sabor space at 1720 N. Webb Road, is getting started on one of its promises — to put on regular wine tastings and wine dinners.

Two are scheduled for this month. On Jan.20, the 12/12 dinner will feature 12 wines to sample and a tapas buffet. Admission is $25 a person.

Then, on Jan. 27, Press will put on the St. Hallett Winemaker wine dinner, featuring a four-course meal from chef Douglas Pitts, including a tuna tartar and a lamb shoulder entree. The dinner is $50 a person.

Credit card reservation are required at 316-558-5855.

It’s Press time

pressThe east-side Sabor did not work out for Melad Stephan and co. But tomorrow, he’s opening a new concept in the space at 1720 N. Webb Road  that sounds promising.

Press is a new wine a cocktail bar that has a long and tempting list of martinis plus vodka, gin, tequila and rum cocktails and a nice wine list.

There’s also a food menu — small plates and entrees created by chef Douglas Pitts, including oysters on the half shell, beef carpaccio, crispy pork belly, seared sea scallops, sliders, pate and more.

Hours will be 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and 2 p.m. to 2 am. Saturdays.

They’ve totally remodeled the interior, which I haven’t seen yet but hear is very nice.

You can look at the menu here and here.

Run, Chef, run

101010pittsHe has about three weeks until his new employer opens Press, a cocktail lounge planned for the old Sabor space at 1720 N. Webb Road. So how is chef Douglas Pitts occupying himself in the meantime? By running marathons, apparently.

My photo friend Jaime Green snagged this shot of Pitts finishing the Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon the weekend before last.

That’s 26.2 miles, people.

A quick check of the results page shows that Pitts finished the race in 3 hours and 20 minutes, making him the 31st runner (out of 551) to cross the finish line. Not too shabby.

A man of many talents, and apparently one who will not have to worry about all that butter, cream and puff pastry sampling he’ll be required to do.

Press pockets Pitts

Chef Douglas Pitts

Chef Douglas Pitts

A pretty building and a talented chef both will get new dining life next month when Melad Stephan opens his new cocktail lounge, now called Press.

The pretty building is the Waterfront space at 1720 N. Webb Road that first housed Piztros and then became an east-side Sabor. That Sabor closed in February, but Stephan has a new idea for the space — a cocktail lounge that he originally planned to call D’Vine but now has decided to call Press. As in wine and vodka press.

And now comes word from Melad and Co. that they’ve hired a leader for the Press kitchen — chef Douglas Pitts, who opened 626 Douglas when he first moved to Wichita in 2004 then worked as a chef at Chester’s, Bella Donna and his recently closed downtown lunch spot, DK Kitchen. Pitts will prepare tapas, and the menu at Press also will include all kinds of unique cocktails, Stephan says. Pitts also plans to put on weekly wine dinners.

Remodeling on the space has just started, and Stephan (who also owns Uptown Bistro, Oeno, Sabor in Old Town Square, and Egg Cetera) hopes to have it open by mid-October.