WICHITA — The mezzanine at the Market Centre at First and Market is once again going to be home to a restaurant.
Air Capital Catering owner Sam Kuns is moving his business there and opening Caesars, a lunch spot.
“What I’m trying to do is preserve my catering business,” Kuns says.
He says he needs a certain volume for the business to be profitable, and he thinks using the space for events after lunch and in the evenings will give him what he needs.
Kuns isn’t going to run the restaurant or catering business on a day-to-day basis, though.
Robert “Big Dog” Bradford and Danny Ayala will run the business.
Kuns calls Bradford “a barbecue king” and “a unique character” and says Ayala has a 40-year background in the meat business.
While Bradford and Ayala run the restaurant and catering company, Kuns says he’ll focus on his Chicken Shack in Bronson.
“This is part of the southeast Kansas chicken wars,” he says. “I went there as a kid.”
Kuns is from Bronson.
“I was back there, oh, it must have been three years ago maybe,” he says. “I noticed that the place was closed.”
He reopened it, and now he’s preparing to open another Chicken Shack in Iola this fall.
Eventually, Kuns says he’d like to bring the concept to Wichita.
Currently his catering business is in a small space at 5521 W. Kellogg that Kuns says isn’t suitable for a restaurant.
Air Capital Catering does a lot of work for the Wichita Independent Business Association, Kuns says.
“That’s how this place downtown came about,” he says. “It’s going to be a good fit. You know, that building is very cool.”
The space previously has been home to such businesses as Restaurant 155 and, most recently, the Italian Bistro, which closed in 2011.
Kuns says Caesars will serve Italian, fried chicken, barbecue, sandwiches and salads.
Tony Utter of Utter Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.
“I think this is going to increase our catering business,” Kuns says.
He hopes to open the restaurant by July 1.
“I don’t know if I’ll make that or not.”