Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe to open in center at Central and Rock in March

WICHITA — Thao Luu couldn’t find the job she was hoping for when she graduated with a hospitality management degree from Butler Community College and was beginning to despair when she passed a sign at Fidelity Bank.

“Wichitans don’t hope for a better future. We build it.”

The sign inspired Luu to start her own business and hire her former professor, Roger Bosserman, to help.

Luu is opening Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe in the former Verde Sustainable Living space in the center at the northeast corner of Central and Rock.

Though Luu is Vietnamese — she moved here three years ago to marry chemical engineer Jimmy Nguyen — she will offer mostly American dishes for breakfast and lunch. That includes paninis, sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers and salad. There will be a French flair with some dishes, such as crepes and savory pastries.

Baked goods, such as bread, cakes, cupcakes and chocolates, will have French and Asian influences.

Luu is especially excited about offering latte art, which she says is a way of preparing coffee by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso, which results in a design on the surface of the drink. She’ll also serve a variety of coffee, tea, fruit juices and smoothies.

The restaurant will offer breakfast and lunch but will be open as a coffee shop and bakery until 10 p.m. most days.

Bosseman will be the executive chef. Cam Duyen will be the pastry chef. Luu says she’s sponsoring Duyen to come from Vietnam where she’s currently a chef at the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon, which is a Marriott property.

The two-story Birds on the Roof will seat 70.

Don Piros and Ken Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Look for the restaurant to open in March.