Metro Grill owner explains departure

WICHITA — Metro Grill owner Michael Gonzalez wasn’t available last week to discuss why he abruptly left his restaurant at the Waterfront, which his landlord said he gutted on the way out.

“There was more to it than what they said, of course,” Gonzalez says.

“I’ve been so depressed for the last couple of weeks, but life goes on.”

He says there were a number of issues that caused him to leave.

“I was expecting volume like Andover,” Gonzalez says of his former restaurant there, which someone else now owns.

He says his lunch and weekend business was great, but the rest of his sales weren’t enough.

“That was just too much of a high rent to sustain,” Gonzalez says. “But I gave it a shot.”

He says parking became a bit of an issue with the new Firebirds next door to his restaurant. Also, Gonzalez says his landlords disappointed him by not putting his restaurant on a billboard near Kellogg and Rock Road as he says they promised. He says he had been working with them to lower his rent and then received a 10-day notice to leave.

Gonzalez says his landlords are “good people” but incorrect about what happened.

“When it comes to me gutting the place down and just leaving a toilet, that is not true.”

Gonzalez says if anything, he’s sad that he left behind a “beautiful, beautiful” picture of the New York skyline, another of the Rat Pack and some more art that his daughter did. He says he also left behind a $12,000 hood that he paid for.

There’s now a new Metro Grill on the west side near Central and Tyler where Bartelli’s Pizzeria used to be.

Gonzalez says he remains brokenhearted about his Waterfront restaurant.

“I want to thank everyone who supported me, of course,” he says.

“It was a beautiful little sexy place we had there.”