UPDATED — The Red Barn restaurant has been a popular place for Wichitans to visit on their way to Lake Afton. Soon, they’ll be able to get some of that cooking downtown as well.
Gerard Rodriguez and his family – including his father, Michael, sister, Belle, and cousin, Isaiah Hill – are opening Anna Murdoc’s Cafe in Sutton Place at Market and William.
“We’re given a really good opportunity to do some fun stuff downtown,” Gerard Rodriguez says. “We’ve got a lot of good ideas, a lot of talent.”
His whole family is helping ready the space, which used to be the Daily Grind.
Lawyer Abdul Arif and his partners in Dragon Estate, a group that purchased the first floor of Sutton Place earlier this year, also are partners in the restaurant and will help promote it.
Rodriguez at one time worked for Cargill doing process analysis of soybean cooking oil “and got bored out of my mind.”
Then he went to culinary school. He’s trained as a pastry chef and a sushi chef.
“And now I’m doing barbecue, Mexican and breakfast out in a barn,” Rodriguez says. “It’s been a crazy, crazy journey so far.”
Initially, Anna Murdoc’s will serve breakfast and lunch on weekdays, which Rodriguez says could expand “if there’s a demand for us.”
Rodriguez says Anna Murdoc “sounds like a mystery person, but it’s actually two little girls.”
He’s naming the restaurant for his daughters, Annalisa, 10, and Angelina, 11, who is nicknamed Murdoc.
Part of the reason for opening this restaurant is the Red Barn is open only on the weekends. Even then it’s often available only for private parties.
“We just don’t really have the traffic that we’d like to warrant being open seven days a week,” Rodriguez says.
Anna Murdoc’s will open in early July.
“We think we can do a lot of really good stuff at a really good price,” Rodriguez says.
He has much more planned in the culinary world as well.
“We’re just barely getting started in this thing.”