WICHITA — A Wichita institution has come to an end.
Saturday was the last day of business for Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge.
“I guess you could say we were pretty underfunded from the beginning,” owner Michael Redick says.
Redick bought the business at 2121 N. Tyler in February 2011 from longtime owner Tommy D’Annunzio.
D’Annunzio and Sonny Glennon, who owns Scotch & Sirloin, started the business as Tom & Sonny’s at Douglas and West Street in 1979.
“We were trying to revitalize it,” Redick says. “It was taking a legend on the west side and, you know, give it its life back.”
Redick says he had no choice but to renovate.
“It was just an aged building,” he says. The remodel “ate up all of our working capital.”
The 7,000-square-foot space is twice what Redick says he needed.
He says businesses similar to his on the west side – Dudley’s, Old Chicago and Emerson Biggin’s – are all off the beaten path. Redick says potential diners couldn’t tell what his business was, though.
“They look like a restaurant,” he says. “I look like a strip mall.”
Tommy’s is in a center just back from the southwest corner of 21st and Tyler.
Redick says the economy and increasing costs of supplies didn’t help.
“All of the vendors have been more than willing to work with me, plain and simple, except for the landlords,” he says.
An eviction hearing was scheduled for this week.
As of late last week, Redick says he was still looking at options for keeping Tommy’s open. At this point, though, there’s no hope.
Redick and his staff are planning a party tonight to say goodbye.
“It’s worth celebrating,” he says. “It’s a fantastic restaurant, and it’s had its run.”