Hana Cafe owners expand with casual Korean concept Hana Next Door

WICHITA — Two years from when Eunice and Jay Kim opened their expanded Hana Cafe in Old Town Square, the couple is expanding again.

This time, though, they’re offering a new concept.

The Kims are taking the space the Wichita Police Department is vacating in September when it moves its substation. The Kims plan to open Hana Next Door there this Christmas to sell express-style Korean food.

“This concept is a little different,” Eunice Kim says.

There will be some seating, but mainly the restaurant will be for carryout service.

“We needed (something) more casual,” Kim says. “We need that kind of restaurant inside the plaza because everywhere is fine dining.”

She says a lot of people have only 30 minutes for lunch.

“Our restaurant,” Kim says of Hana Cafe, “it takes time to have lunch.”

In addition to offering faster service, Hana Next Door will have differently spiced dishes than Hana Cafe. There will be more tofu and vegetarian offerings along with more salads and what Kim calls “healthy food.”

Like Hana Cafe, the new restaurant will offer the Korean dish bibimbap, which is vegetables and protein served over rice with a flavorful chili sauce on the side. Unlike what Hana currently offers, the new restaurant will have a bibimbap station where diners can select vegetables and meat.

“Bibimbap is very popular right now,” Kim says. In Wichita, she says, “We are the first to pioneer bibimbap.”

Kim plans to return to her native Korea soon to gather more ideas for the restaurant.

Hana Next Door will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

So far, the Kims have secured one parking spot for carryout customers. They’d like to get a second one if possible.

“We need that concept in that area,” Eunice Kim says. “Just grab it and just go out and eat, so they don’t have to wait.”