Wink Hartman Sr. plans new restaurant for former Bella Donna space

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. is contemplating putting a new restaurant concept in his former Bella Donna space, which sits back from Webb Road just south of 21st Street.

“I will not deny that,” Hartman says.

“We’re working on the concept. It’s one of those things I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a typical Wink Hartman deal.”

So, you don’t know what you’re doing. Sure you want to say that in print?

“I don’t care. I’m not running for office anymore.”

And it’s not like the former congressional candidate is saying it will be an amateur attempt.

“Whatever it’s going to be, it’ll be the best.”

He says it won’t compete with his Chester’s Chophouse at the Waterfront.

“Chester’s is the best restaurant in the Midwest.”

Garozzo’s Ristorante was the first restaurant in the space and was open from 2003 to 2007.

Bella Donna, an Italian concept, opened in 2007 and closed about a year later.

“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Hartman said at the time. “Of all the companies that I own, I anticipate that each of them will make a certain return on investment.”

He says he didn’t try very hard to find another occupant for the building.

“I mean, I put a sign out front, but it just wasn’t on the list of things I’ve got to get done tomorrow.”

Hartman isn’t sure what concept he’ll choose.

“That’s the problem. I just don’t know.”

He wants to make a decision quickly, though.

How soon?

“Yesterday.”

Look for news later today on Hartman’s executive chef.