Beautiful Day Market & Cafe to open downtown this fall

WICHITA — Downtown dwellers have called for more grocery options in their area, and Charolett Knapic is answering.

Knapic, who owns Echo Landscapes, plans to open Beautiful Day Market & Cafe in 6,000 square feet downtown in November.

She’s not saying precisely where until she finalizes the lease. Cristi Howell at J.P. Weigand & Sons is assisting her.

Jill Miller of Creative Solutions is helping Knapic with her business plan, which is centered around locally grown and organic food.

Knapic grew up working at her grandparents’ Kingman restaurant, McQueen’s Cafe and Servateria.

That didn’t inspire her to want her own restaurant, though.

“Not at all,” Knapic says. “I thought I would never go back to it.”

The healthful side of the business is what’s attracting her.

“I want a place that makes you feel good.”

She got the idea because she was not feeling well.

“About five years ago I had a big health failure.”

Knapic says stress from her business caused her to have a physical breakdown.

Living a more natural, healthy life is what got her back on track and allowed her to find balance, she says.

“I learned a big lesson.”

Knapic wants to share that lesson.

In addition to having the market and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner until 7 p.m. in the 40-seat restaurant, Knapic wants to offer classes on how to cook in healthy ways.

For instance, kale might be in season, Knapic says, but, “Maybe nobody knows what to do with kale.”

Creating healthy-yet-delicious dishes will be her chef’s challenge, she says.

In addition to focusing on local growers — for vegetables, fresh eggs, chicken and toxin-free meat — Knapic may eventually operate her own greenhouse as well.

Miller compares eating a locally grown tomato to one shipped in from elsewhere.

“It’s getting closer to the earth and eating foods that are fresh,” she says. “We’re really focused on the produce, like a farmers market-type concept.”

Knapic considered locating in Delano but Braum’s has a market there, and there’s a Dillons not too terribly far away on West Street.

The only store selling groceries downtown is Ray Sales Co. at 206 S. Emporia. It sells “a little bit of this and that,” as one person at the store once put it, but the store mainly services nearby buildings and people who ride buses at the nearby station.

In addition to having lots of fresh produce, Beautiful Day will carry a lot of grocery staples, though not necessarily a huge selection within each area.

For instance, the store will sell cereal, but probably only a handful of varieties.

Knapic hopes to offer packages where customers can pick up a bag of food that includes a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack.

Beautiful Day will either have a drive-through or curb-side pickup.

“How cool would it be if you could call your groceries in and just go pick them up?” Miller says. “I’m getting goose bumps just talking about it.”

Miller calls it her goose bump test for clients.

“When I’m talking to clients, the more goose bumps I get, the more I know this is gonna rock.”