Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

A taste of Wichita restaurant changes

WICHITA — In the always-changing world of Wichita restaurants, here’s a few more updates:

Taste of Thai owner Jeff Saysombat is opening a second restaurant Friday, but it won’t have the same name.

Saysombat is opening in the former Bangkok Thai Restaurant space at 2020 S. Rock Road and keeping that same name and menu.

Why open a second restaurant?

“I’m a businessman, just like other people,” he says.

Froggar’s BBQ is opening May 25 in the building that once was Miller’s Bar-B-Que at 13th and Oliver.

“We’ve been doing catering for about a year now,” owner Jeremy Garvin says. “We decided to go ahead and take the next plunge.”

Garvin picked up the Froggar nickname in the Air Force.

“I always had the personality where I would jump first and ask questions later.”

– The d’Sozo vegan restaurant and market at 1812 S. Seneca is going to add cooking classes and a culinary school. Watch for details soon.

– The owners of Louie’s Grill & Bar, which is at Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb Road, may be looking for west-side space. The company isn’t confirming that, but sources say the hunt is ongoing.

Johnathan Goodwin has plans for the Marquee Motorcars space

WICHITA — Johnathan Goodwin has left the building — but not for long.

Goodwin, who is most famous for converting singer Neil Young’s 1959 Lincoln Continental into an electric car, hasn’t been at the Marquee Motorcars building on East Douglas just west of Hillside lately.

He’s working on the LincVolt project and research and development in a much larger building in El Dorado.

Goodwin plans to return to Marquee Motors in the fall, though, when he’ll have a new business venture to announce.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Panera Bread coming to Ridge Road and University

WICHITA — Scott Redler has been searching for additional west-side space for Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers for years.

His business partner, Randy Simon, has been looking for space for a second west-side Panera Bread.

Now, they’ve found what they need in the same spot.

Redler and Simon finalized a deal today to buy land owned by Leisa Lowry to build at the southeast corner of Ridge Road and University (between Maple and Kellogg) across from Lowe’s.

“We were very fortunate to get this location,” Redler says.

Christian Ablah of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

Simon had a letter of intent with Ablah five years ago for space near there, but it didn’t work out.

“I’ve always had that area as a priority for us,” Simon says.

He and Redler like that the property is in the heart of a residential area with strong businesses nearby, too. Accessibility to Kellogg was key as well.

The almost 4,300-square-foot Panera will share a wall with the 3,200-square-foot Freddy’s.

“It’ll be conjoined at the hip,” Simon says.

Construction will start soon and the restaurants should be ready to open in about 150 days.

The Freddy’s on 21st near Tyler, which opened in 2002, is the original Freddy’s.

“That restaurant is amazing for us,” Redler says, “and just keeps getting busier and busier.”

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You don’t say

“They go to Hell. You don’t!”

– Entrepreneur Jack DeBoer, speaking at the chamber Small Business Awards lunch today, on dealing with liars and cheaters in business

SMG hires Bothner and Bradley as Intrust Bank Arena consultants

WICHITA — SMG has hired Bothner and Bradley as consultants at Intrust Bank Arena.

“We’re sort of shifting gears,” says Gary Desjardins, regional general manager for SMG, a private company that runs the arena under a contract with Sedgwick County.

“We’re in between GMs, so part of it is just a process of getting feedback from our different constituencies.”

General manager Chris Presson abruptly resigned two weeks ago, citing personal reasons.

Desjardins says he plans to have Bothner and Bradley collect information to share with a new general manager.

“With our clients, they get an opportunity to talk so far about their experience,” Desjardins says.

“For every aspect of what we do in managing the building . . . there’s always room for improvement,” he says. “There’s never a perfect event.”

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