Original Timberline Steakhouse & Grill closes after 14 years in business

UPDATED — It was just a matter of time.

Eight months after the east-side Timberline Steakhouse & Grill closed, so has its sister restaurant on the west side.

“It was a very difficult decision that we needed to make,” says Scott Redler, who owned the chain with Bill Simon.

“We’re looking at this as a celebration of 14 great years of business for Timberline . . . and appreciate everyone involved.”

The Timberline near 21st and Tyler was Redler and Simon’s first in the chain, which had seven restaurants in six cities over the years.

There’s one Timberline left.

Salina licensee JRI Investments owns that restaurant and has purchased the concept with plans to open more Timberlines.

“You know, we had an opportunity to sell, and it just seemed to make sense,” Redler says.

He and Simon plan to continue to focus on Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, which they run with Simon’s brother, Randy, who also is a Panera Bread franchisee.

Redler says Freddy’s average ticket of about $6.50 makes a lot more sense than Timberline’s $17 average.

“In a volatile economy like we’re in, it’s a challenge to be in that check average,” he says.

Timberline’s Friday and Saturday night business was good, Redler says, but he says “the number of guests who want to pay $17 Sunday through Thursday is not as large as it used to be.”

Redler says this is a good time of year to close because college and high school employees are heading back to school, so there are openings at area restaurants for his former employees to find work.

“Really, our main concern was just our very loyal employees . . . that have been with us a long time. That’s the reason we kept going as long as we did.”

Look for more information later today on JRI Investments’ expansion plans.

Jose Pepper’s, which has a Wichita site in the Plazzio development at 13th Street and Greenwich, will open in the former Timberline space. Look for details soon on that as well.