Monthly Archives: January 2011

You don’t say

“Don’t worry, Thin Mints aren’t going anywhere, except in your freezer.”

Shelly Chenoweth, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland CEO, responding in a press release to national reports of Girl Scouts limiting the variety of cookies being sold this year

Sit @ Thai Bistro owner to open a second restaurant near Central and Oliver

WICHITA — Sit @ Thai Bistro owner Nikki Phumsawarng is opening a second restaurant.

Phumsawarng opened her first Wichita restaurant in 2009 on 21st St. near Ridge Road.

Her new restaurant will be in the former Taco Shop space on Central near Oliver.

Phumsawarng says she’s still working on the concept, and the name, but it will be Thai food in a modern decor.

Since there’s a drive-through at the building, she’s considering names like Sit @ Thai Express or Sit @ Thai To Go.

The restaurant will be able to seat about 25 for lunch and dinner.

Phumsawarng also is adding a small patio.

Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

Phumsawarng was inspired to open the new restaurant in part by all the people who travel from the east side to her current restaurant.

Many times, she says, she’s been told, “Hey, you have to open on the east side.”

Phumsawarng also was surprised people would drive across town to eat her food. She thinks that support will help her new venture be successful.

“It should be a good one.”

Palmers Grill to open in former Fritz Co. Grille space near K-96 and Webb Road

WICHITA — The investors who recently purchased the former Fritz Co. Grille space near K-96 and Webb Road have a tenant for the space.

Trey Dower, who has a long history as an Old Chicago manager for several locations, is opening Palmers Grill where Fritz used to be.

“It’s pretty much ready to go,” he says of the space.

He’s painted quite a bit, but he’s not doing too much else right now.

“It’s like buying an older house. When you start tearing into things, you find more than you want,” Dower says. “We’re really going to kind of live with it before we make further changes.”

The restaurant will serve burgers, sandwiches, steaks, pasta and salad.

Dower is calling it Palmers after “an old family name on my wife’s side.”

Picking a name “was probably the hardest part. It was kind of nuts.”

Picking a location was easier.

“I always liked the building,,” Dower says. “It’s unique for restaurants anymore.”

Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

Dower likes the layout of the former Fritz space and the two private dining rooms, which seat 40 and 12.

The main dining room seats 100, and the bar seats 50. There are another 32 seats on a patio and a deck.

New neighbor Menards is another factor in Dower’s decision to locate there, as is the road that connects that stretch of businesses to the businesses near Golf Warehouse.

“It was a dead end road before the Menards was built,” Dower says.

Look for the restaurant to open around the end of February.

Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe is closing; wholesale business to open in new space

WICHITA — Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe is closing Saturday, but a new Sugar Sisters Bakery will soon be opening in a new space.

The 3-year-old restaurant has struggled financially and with service issues.

“After three years, we know where our strengths and our weaknesses are,” says Patty Sykes, who runs the business with her children.

“We want to continue doing what we’re doing, but we’ve just got to do it in a way that makes money.”

Sykes hasn’t signed a deal for new space, though she’s close.

She also plans to do orders through a new website, and she’s been talking to other retail outlets about selling her baked goods through them.

That includes traditional bakery items, such as cakes and cookies, and bierocks and quiches as well.

“We’re just going to do what seems like the smart thing to do,” Sykes says.

She’s selling half the equipment in the restaurant.

Overhead was part of the restaurant’s problem, Sykes says.

“It’s a beautiful space, and we really like it there,” she says. “It just didn’t seem to make sense.”

The bakery does well, Sykes says, so she thinks the new business will, too.

“It’s really more of a cost-cutting measure just so we can stay alive and competitive.”

You don’t say

“Why would we want to dissect a live shark? Doesn’t that send the wrong message to kids and families?”

— Board member Deanna Harms’ e-mail to Exploration Place, which sent an invitation to “Watch a live shark dissection at 7 p.m.” (turns out the dissection is live, not the shark)

Former With A Twist owners opening a fine-dining restaurant in Kansas City area

WICHITA — When Susan Thorne-Thomsen and Amy Martin closed their With A Twist gourmet food store at Bradley Fair in 2003, Thorne-Thomsen said she and her husband were moving to the Kansas City area to open a fine-dining restaurant.

Then, as Thorne-Thomsen puts it, life intervened. She and Carl Thorne-Thomsen had three children in quick succession, which kept them busy. They also decided they might need more fine-dining experience before opening their own place.

Now, they’re ready.

The two are opening Story, an upscale-but-casual contemporary American cuisine restaurant, at the Village shopping center at 71st Street and Mission Road in Prairie Village, Kan. That’s about 10 minutes from the County Club Plaza in Kansas City.

There are a couple of meanings behind the name.

Read More »

Lazy Day Games to open in west Wichita

WICHITA — Lazy Day Games, a new gaming center, will open at the corner of Maple and Anna across from Towne West Square on Feb. 4.

Partners Daniel Lozano Jr., Oliver Wimbley Jr. and Michael Espinosa had a previous business in Derby that repaired gaming consoles and computers. They decided there was a need for a gaming center where people could gather and play games such as Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

“We’re providing the whole experience,” Lozano says.

Why not just play at home?

“Gamers are a different walk of life,” Lozano says. “We like to play with other people. We like the competition.”

There will be high-definition monitors and special gaming chairs.

The 5,000-square-foot center will be open daily noon to midnight, with expanded hours in the summer. There’s an extra 2,000 square feet that will be used to continue the repair business.

Games will cost $7 an hour, and there will be frequent promotions for cheaper rates. Memberships also will be available.

Lozano says there will be special charity events for kids and tournaments for everyone, which he expects to be raucous fun.

“We get loud. We have fun.”

Enterprise Rent-A-Car to move into former west-side Saturn space

WICHITA — In addition to Scholfield Hyundai possibly moving into the former east-side Saturn space, there’s going to be a new tenant for the former west-side Saturn space at 8800 W. Central.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is opening a dealership where the Scholfield Select Pre-Owned Center closed last summer.

Enterprise Car Sales, which will open around March 1, will sell cars from Enterprise’s rental fleet.

You don’t say

“If I’d known it was going to be this much work, I’m not sure I’d have been so enthusiastic about it.”

— Real estate developer Johnny Stevens on his son, Charlie Stevens, who is vying for the District 2 Wichita City Council seat

Olive Garden deal in the works for Derby

WICHITA — All of a sudden, it seems like Derby is getting a lot more dining options.

In addition to Panera Bread likely going in at Derby Marketplace, it looks like the Olive Garden has a deal in the works there as well.

There’s no official word on the Italian chain coming to Derby, but look for news soon.