PB&J Restaurants considers Burnt End BBQ for Wichita

WICHITA — Kansas City-based PB&J Restaurants, the company that brought YaYa’s EuroBistro and Newport Grill to Wichita, is looking to possibly bring a new concept as well.

“It’s our new barbecue concept,” says PB&J’s Paul Khoury.

Burnt End BBQ opened three weeks ago near 119th and Metcalf in Overland Park.

“It’s fast casual,” Khoury says. “It’s doing well.”

If it remains successful, he says that “just like we always do, next stop is Wichita.”

“Wichita’s a great restaurant town. People like to eat out in Wichita.”

Khoury says there are good income levels here to support restaurants.

“Look at how many restaurants that have come out of Wichita, too,” he says of chains such as Pizza Hut and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.

PB&J, which no longer owns the YaYa’s here, debuted its Newport Grill seafood concept here.

It’s now opening another Newport Grill on May 1 at the new Prairiefire development on West 135th Street between Nall and Lamar avenues. The restaurant will be one space down from where Wichita’s Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates is opening its new store.

Newport Grill has “just been very successful in Wichita,” Khoury says.

“The restaurant business is really simple,” he says. “You have great food, and you have great service – people show up.”

Khoury says if there’s ever a dip in sales, “We go and review all our food and go back and train all our cooks again.”

Then he says he retrains his servers.

“And then, boom, sales start going up again.”

Khoury says he has a favorite quote from Ewing Kauffman, the late pharmaceutical entrepreneur and Major League Baseball owner.

“Training’s like bathing,” Khoury quotes Kauffman. “If you don’t do it every day, pretty soon you start to stink.”

Khoury says having a chef with a passion for fish helps.

“Obviously, you have to have a great chef, somebody that’s really putting out creative food.”

Khoury says Newport Grill’s executive chef Kevin Derks is especially passionate for seafood.

He says sometimes Derks will take a whole fish and hold it very close to Khoury’s face and ask, “Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yeah, it’s beautiful Kevin,” Khoury says he’ll reply. “That’s great.”

Khoury says Denver and Little Rock, where PB&J has more YaYa’s restaurants, should be next for new Newport Grills.

“We’d like to do more.”