WICHITA — It’s been a year since former Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon president and COO T.D. O’Connell purchased founder Gary Poulton’s interest in Hog Wild Pit Bar-B-Q, and it’s been a busy year.
O’Connell is close to opening a new Hog Wild in the former Taco Tico space at 1530 W. Central in El Dorado. He says he expects the restaurant to open between Thanksgiving and Christmas and may begin hiring workers yet this week.
He’s also finishing a contract on a new Hog Wild in Lawrence, though he can’t share the exact location yet. O’Connell says he expects the Lawrence Hog Wild to open in the second quarter next year.
Then, it’s on to Topeka and Manhattan, he says. O’Connell has already narrowed down the locations but hasn’t signed leases yet.
With five Wichita locations, O’Connell says he feels like Wichita is covered, especially since the restaurants cater.
“Our circles are a little bit bigger because of that,” he says. “Wichita’s been great to us.”
O’Connell also has Hog Wilds in Hutchinson and Salina.
“Hutchinson has done well – extremely well,” he says.
O’Connell says he’s going to watch how El Dorado does, being a smaller market, and make plans beyond that.
Nebraska and Iowa will be the first states he tackles outside of Kansas, he says.
“I’m going to continue to grow it.”