Wichita’s first Pie Five Pizza to open in late summer near Maple and Ridge

WICHITA — Late last year Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens told Have You Heard? that he planned to bring Pie Five Pizza to Wichita, and now he’s doing it.

Stevens’ first Wichita Pie Five will go on the lot south of his Applebee’s near Maple and Ridge Road, and it will be the first freestanding Pie Five for the Dallas-based national chain.

“I looked all over,” Stevens says of trying to find a strip center to open in. “There was nothing available.”

Stevens, who has franchise rights in Wichita and Omaha, will break ground on the 2,500-square-foot restaurant Monday.

Originally, Stevens says he had planned to do another restaurant concept, but former Applebee’s president Dave Goebel convinced him otherwise.

“I was talking to him about a different concept, and he said, ‘Well, you might want to take a look at Pie Five,’” Stevens says. “Dave is really a straight shooter.”

Stevens says he was impressed with the chain.

“Everyone that I met was just as honest and straight as you can be, as opposed to some of the franchises I’ve been involved with,” he says, adding that he’s not referring to Applebee’s.

Stevens says he likes the Pie Five food and presentation.

“It’s like a Chipotle,” he says.

Diners can pick their crust and sauce and create their own salads. Some especially hot pizza ovens bake the pizzas in four minutes.

“The one thing I like about the Pie Five concept, they do have a gluten-free crust,” Stevens says. “I thought it tastes just as good as any other pizza.”

He says he’s close on a couple of leases in Omaha and has a second site he’s looking at on Wichita’s west side.

Stevens says he thinks all four of his first Pie Fives will be open within a year and a half. He says he’d like to open two on Wichita’s east side as well.

Look for the first west-side Pie Five to open by early August.