WICHITA — The deal for a French and Belgian restaurant to open at Clifton Square appeared to be off, but it’s going to go forward after all.
“It did drag out, but it’s never been officially off,” says Ted Branson, a broker with Landmark Commercial Real Estate.
Flo and Didier Fraikin had won a lottery for a green card to come to the United States, and after considering a home in Colorado and Wyoming, they chose Wichita.
“It sounds like they’re enamored with the West,” Branson says. Flo Fraikin “says it’s been her lifelong dream to come to America.”
“So they just jumped on it,” Branson says. “I’m not sure they thought it all through. … It was a little bigger than they anticipated.”
The family of seven plus three pets flew to San Francisco and planned a tour through the West to get to Wichita by June. Car trouble led to financial trouble which led to the family being stuck in California.
“They’ve just been hunkered down there trying to survive,” Branson says. “We’re just been pushing for them to get here. We’ll figure it out when they get here.”
The family is due to arrive Friday.
Branson says he’s “taking on a new job for a week” trying to help the family in advance of their arrival. A temporary house is his first order of business.
“They just need a place to land somehow.”
Au Paris-Bruxelles, the restaurant that will be in the former John Browns space at Clifton Square, needs some help, too.
“It’s fairly well equipped, but it’s going to need significant additions,” Branson says.
That includes a stove, a hood and a grease trap among other things.
“If we get enough support, maybe we can just get those things in and get them up and running,” Branson says.
The goal, he says, is “trying to help them finish the dream.”