Smashburger near 35th and Woodlawn closes

WICHITA — When the Derby Smashburger closed in December, franchisee Ron Chaulk — who took over the restaurant in September — said he’d open a new location but not necessarily in Derby.

“We’re definitely going to reopen,” he said.

Instead, he closed his Wichita Smashburger near 35th and Woodlawn on Saturday.

“As you know, in December we evaluated a number of potential sites for relocation of the Derby store,” representative Kelly Cooper said in an e-mail over the weekend. “However, based upon various factors, have now decided to also close the Woodlawn location in Wichita. We greatly appreciate the patronage of Wichita-area Smashburger customers and hope our guests will continue to visit our other Kansas locations in Manhattan, Lawrence, and Kansas City.”

In December, Chaulk said he was happy with the Wichita Smashburger’s performance.

Denver-based Smashburger opened a corporate restaurant in Wichita in late 2008. In 2009, the company hired Sullivan Higdon & Sink as its agency of record. Smashburger acknowledged that the restaurant didn’t open as strongly as it had in other markets and had more work to do to develop the brand here.

Then, in September, the company sold the two Wichita-area Smashburgers to Chaulk, a Wichita State University graduate who now lives in Kansas City,

“I have a little bit closer connection with the community and the city,” Chaulk said at the time. “We both agreed that I might be able to have a little bit more luck getting things going in the right direction.”

Look for possible further elaboration from Chaulk or the company later today.