Kobe Steak House of Japan to open in former Playa Azul space at 21st and Tyler

A Hanney & Associates Architects rendering of the new Kobe Steak House of Japan, which will open this fall at 21st and Tyler.

WICHITA — As promised, Kobe Steak House of Japan owners Jim Hamlin and Jim West have a new restaurant to announce.

Hamlin says they’re merging their former Derby business with their Kobe near 21st and Maize Road in a new west-side space.

The restaurant will open in November in the former Playa Azul space at 21st and Tyler.

“The main reason was they were just busting at the seams,” says Adam Clements of Builders Inc., who handled the deal.

“This is a larger space. It allowed them to better accommodate Wichita. They’re a destination.”

The west-side restaurant currently has 3,500 square feet. The new space will have 4,900 square feet and room for twelve hibachi tables.

Increased visibility also prompted the move.

“That was the second part,” Hamlin says.

The existing west-side Kobe opened almost five years ago. The Derby Kobe was open for three years.

When Hamlin and West closed their Derby restaurant in March, they said they’d eventually open a new one, but probably not in Derby.

“Derby sales just weren’t … enough to continue the operation,” Hamlin says.

“We never lost any money there,” he says. However, he says. “There was no growth in that market.”

Clements says Builders Inc. likely will do the remodeling for the new Kobe space.

“It’s going to be a complete overhaul,” he says. “It’s going to be very contemporary.”

Clements says the facade and interior will be redone in an “architecturally savvy” style.

Brent Sontag of Hanney & Associates Architects is the architect.

With the Kobe lease, Clements says, “Now this center will be fully occupied.”