WICHITA — Jim Stevens is about to move his east-side Applebee’s into a new neighborhood, and he’s feeling a little nostalgic.
That will open April 15. That means the Applebee’s near 21st and North Rock Road is closing at midnight Friday.
“This is my second Applebee’s I opened,” Stevens says of the North Rock Road restaurant.
“It was very memorable.”
Stevens says it was 1990.
“I was in there most of the day,” he says. “The restaurant was doing very well.”
Then the Gulf War started. TVs in the restaurant showed explosions.
“The restaurant got real quiet,” Stevens says. He says diners “ate, got up (and) they just left.” People quit coming in that night.
“I thought, oh my lord, I hope this is not an omen.”
He says it turned out not to be.
“We’ve had some great years there,” Stevens says. “I kind of hate … to see it go.”
He says there’s a lot to be excited about at the new restaurant, though. He says the freestanding building has a modern look, a spacious patio and eventually will have an indoor-outdoor fireplace.
“I’m looking forward to that.”