Applebee’s to open in front of Warren Theatre on April 15

WICHITA — Jim Stevens is about to move his east-side Applebee’s into a new neighborhood, and he’s feeling a little nostalgic.

In November, Stevens told Have You Heard? his plans to open a new Applebee’s – one of 25 he owns – in front of the Warren Theatre at the Plazzio development at 13th and Greenwich.

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.”