UPDATED — La Chinita Mexican Restaurant remains a favorite of many longtime Wichitans after almost 35 years in business, but owner Lolly Hernandez says it’s time for a change.
“We have a good customer base, but you know . . . I guess sometimes you need to change with the times.”
“This would be a whole different concept,” Hernandez says. “I think we just need to step up . . . our strategies.”
La Chinita most likely will remain at 1451 N. Broadway, though Hernandez says there’s “just a small consideration as far as selling the building, but probably not.”
If the Blue Agave deal happens — and that’s a big if right now because Hernandez hasn’t tried to get financing together — it’s more likely that La Chinita simply would close for Monday and Tuesday dinners to allow Hernandez more time for the new restaurant.
She has several ideas for Blue Agave, including a tequila bar, with tequila and wine tastings, live music and tapas.
“I want to keep it very Latin,” Hernandez says. “Maybe even do, like, salsa dancing.”
She’s quick to say, though, “I don’t want it to become a club.”
The focus will be to make it more of a restaurant.
Hernandez particularly likes the former Gorges space for its plentiful parking.
The plan is to seat about 150 people and have a patio and banquet room as well.
Hernandez is already working with architects on a redesign of the building on the property, which she would lease.
Next up, Hernandez will visit with bankers.
“They’re very tight right now,” she says, “so that’s one obstacle.”
Scott Salome of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group, who is leasing the property, says there are other interested parties as well.
We’ll let you know what happens.