UPDATED — Before Intrust Bank Arena opened in 2010, there was a lot of buzz about how many bars and restaurants it would attract to that part of downtown.
That hasn’t happened, but two new venues are preparing to open in a month or so, and one more may follow this summer.
It’s been about a year since Have You Heard? first reported it, but Rusty Law is getting ready to open his second Pacific Coast Pizza at 222 S. Commerce St. That’s at the south end of a series of buildings attached to the back of the former Spaghetti Works space, which is east of the arena.
The 5,350-square-foot space was built in the 1980s. It will be adjacent to the 4,950-square-foot space to the north where Law’s longtime friend Aaron Moore is opening Walkers Bar and Venue. The 1908 building was a flour mill at one time.
Law and Moore hope to open both businesses in early March.
“I think what we’re going to … have is something Old Town does not necessarily have,” Moore says. “Location’s obviously key.”
He’s calling his business Walkers “because people seem to walk here.”
“It’s quite obvious when you come down here on event night that everybody’s walking,” Moore says. “When you watch the flow of traffic on event night, I can’t see why everybody wouldn’t want to stop in. I think we’ll capture a large audience just by being something fresh.”
Law says he plans to capitalize on Old Town revelers who may have had a few adult beverages by selling “a slice of pizza for them at 2 o’clock in the morning.”
He says the area will become a destination.
“Location wise it’s perfect for us being right next to the arena, right next to all the development in downtown,” Law says. “The customer count down here is going to be really good.”
He says Wichita Thunder hockey games bring in a potential 4,000 to 5,000 people, and concerts and other events can bring in as many as 12,000.
“It’s almost free advertisement being down here by the arena.”
Moore says his understanding is that the parking around the arena is public.
“Technically, we don’t have parking,” he says. “Obviously, we have to have a relationship with the arena.”
Moore moved from South Carolina where he was in the bar business for 21 years. He and Law used to work together in Myrtle Beach.
Pacific Coast Pizza will be more of a restaurant, similar to the one Law opened in 2009 in Siena Plaza at 37th and North Rock Road.
Walkers will be more of a sports bar with live music. Moore says he wants to offer “a little bit of everything,” including meeting space to attract a business clientele.
“We see a place where business people can come socialize,” he says.
Walkers will cater as well.
“Obviously, we’d love to have the corporate business people here,” Moore says.
Building owner Ryan Mills says there’s another 5,000 square feet of basement space below where Walkers will be for someone to do another bar.
“We hope it’s Aaron and Rusty if they want to take it on,” Mills says.
Moore says he and Law are interested but couldn’t consider doing anything before the summer.
It “kind of depends on how this works.”