Daily Archives: June 18, 2013

You don’t say

“We might be a week earlier than that.”

Brent Steven, uttering words seldom heard when discussing a restaurant opening, explaining that the new Hill Bar and Grill will debut by June 29

Restaurant updates in Wichita, Derby

WICHITA — As always, there’s lots of restaurant news to update.

– The Burger Barn is closing this week. Owner Isaac McCann has had the restaurant at Central and Zoo Boulevard since January. He says poor sales and a dispute with his landlord have prompted him to close. Also, he’s in school to become a teacher.

“I’m just going to concentrate on my studies.”

McCann will close Saturday unless he runs out of food before then.

– In Derby, Dawn Thai Steakhouse & Sushi Bar is converting to Hibachi Boy Japanese Grill & More. Lou Kumgool still owns the business with her husband, Philip Sayavong.

“I just want to bring something fun and casual,” Kumgool says of the change.

She says she looked around and saw that people from the nearby high school and water park weren’t stopping in. She says too many people thought the restaurant was more formal, so she says she’s going to be “more casual, fun, inviting and family oriented.”

Kumgool is keeping the Dawn Thai menu and adding hibachi items and some other dishes and reopening Wednesday.

She says the new concept is similar to Panera Bread where customers order at a counter and get their own beverages.

“It’s more laid back that way.”

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Deal to buy Luca Italian Kitchen falls through, but Pho Hot Bistro owner Danny Nguyen still looking to open in Old Town

WICHITA — Restaurateur Melad Stephan is back from an overseas trip, so now it’s possible to ask about a little situation that happened with his Luca Italian Kitchen a few weeks ago.

Luca, the Old Town restaurant that replaced Stephan’s once-popular Uptown Bistro, has struggled since opening in 2011. It briefly closed around the time Stephan left for his native Lebanon and a European tour, but the closure wasn’t related to the trip.

Stephan had been negotiating for months with Pho Hot Bistro owner Danny Nguyen to sell him the restaurant.

Nguyen’s Vietnamese restaurant is at 306 N. Rock Road, and he’s interested in having one in Old Town as well.

“We just couldn’t come to an agreement,” Stephan says.

He says he thought the deal would go through, so he stopped ordering food. Stephan says when the sale didn’t happen, he’d already run out of food and had to briefly close.

Nguyen isn’t discussing what happened.

Luca is now open for dinner only. Stephan says he’s saving money by not having to pay for lunch labor. He says the restaurant will remain open, though he adds his standard line: “Everything I have is for sale for the right price.”

Nguyen says he’s still interested in coming downtown.

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