WICHITA — Chuck Giles has the happy luck of fulfilling a longtime dream while making some Wichitans very happy in the process.
Giles, who owns Neighbor’s Restaurant & Bar in Twin Lakes, is reopening Brints Diner.
“People are just freaking out because it was closed,” Giles says. “I’ve always wanted a little diner.”
He and his girlfriend, Connie Schrader, are opening the business within the next two weeks.
The more than 50-year-old Brints, which is near the northeast corner of Lincoln and Oliver, closed in October. Former owner Jessie Medina said construction in the area was to blame.
Giles has owned Neighbor’s at 21st and Amidon for more than 10 years and worked at Stroud’s for 10 years before that, first as kitchen manager and then as general manager.
“There’s just really not a lot of old restaurants left in Wichita,” he says.
That’s why he says he was interested in Brints.
“I just think the history of the place is worth something.”
The restaurant, which seats 64, is one of the city’s few remaining Valentine buildings – metal, mobile diners that Wichita’s Valentine Manufacturing built between 1938 and 1971.
“I was told there’s 13 in the country that are still operating,” Giles says.
He scoffs a bit when people ask him if he’s purchased the old recipes from Brints.
“What old recipes? Bacon and eggs?”
Giles says it reminds him of when he left Stroud’s and people asked if he took the fried chicken recipe with him.
“What, the flour, salt and pepper?”
He says few restaurant recipes are a secret.
“They didn’t have anything secret,” Giles says of Brints. “Being an old Valentine diner, that’s what they were known for.”
More recently, Brints has been known for being featured in a 2007 segment of Guy Fieri’s show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Brints will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. to serve “just the old comfort type of things that everybody’s kind of got away from,” Giles says.
That includes hot beef sandwiches, meatloaf, chicken fried steak, chili and soup. Fried chicken will be on the menu only one day a week.
“It’s too small to have fried chicken every day,” Giles says. “The food has to be stuff that’s fast.”
Giles says landlord Homer Morgan has done a good job remodeling the space and is going to place two new signs on Lincoln and Oliver to promote the business.
Much of the original Brints still exists, Giles says. For instance, the floor still has vintage tile.
“It’s still got a lot of the old charm.”