WICHITA — Tad Fugate has come a long way since July when he first told Have You Heard? of plans for a combo of American chop house and Brazilian churrascaria in the former Ted’s Montana Grill space at 21st and Tyler.
He now has a name, Chapada Chophouse & Churrascaria, a projected opening of mid-October and a revamped space.
“Nothing against Ted, but we don’t want to be Ted’s II,” Fugate says.
“The building itself is a great structure,” he says. “It was a nice canvas to start with.”
Fugate is already thinking of future Chapadas.
“We’re building it as though it can be replicated,” he says. “We’re building it from scratch. It’s our own concept.”
Fugate has worked in the steak business before when he opened Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloons in Canada.
He says he’s always wanted to be in the churrascaria business.
“It’s just a fun place to be,” he says.
General manager Chris Wilber calls it “a celebration” atmosphere.
That’s particularly the feel they’re going for in an opened and remodeled entrance area.
“It’ll feel more festive over here,” Wilber says.
Block booths have been replaced with more open U-shaped booths.
There’s a window onto the roasting area where gauchos will pick up skewers of meat to hand deliver and carve tableside.
“It’s definitely not something that’s out there,” Wilber says of other Wichita restaurants.
He acknowledges it’s a challenging time to be bringing the concept to Wichita.
“We all know where the economy is and where restaurants are,” Wilber says.
He thinks the dual concept of churrascaria with made-to-order chophouse dishes is an ideal marriage of concepts.
“If you can blend the two and get the right mix, it can be very successful.”
In addition the restaurant will offer small plates of food and a gourmet food bar with cheese wheels, salads and items such as hearts of palm and mozzarella balls.
“Stuff you’re not going to get anywhere else,” Fugate says.
“It’ll be eye-catching, hopefully,” he says. “That’s our design.”
Bill Gardner of Gardner Design has been helping transform the look from the Ted’s design.
“He’s done a nice job,” Fugate says.
Ted’s may not have worked in the space, Fugate says, but he says, “The corner itself is a very good corner.”
And it’s not the only place he’s planning a restaurant.
“We’ve got some buildings in this town . . . that we want to make productive,” Fugate says. “There might be some other opportunities.”
That’s later, though.
First, he says, “We’ve got a long ways to go here.”