Category Archives: Downtown

Doo-Dah Diner to more than double in size for new retail, kitchen and office areas

Doo-Dah Diner owner Timirie Shibley visits customers during a recent lunch.

Doo-Dah Diner owner Timirie Shibley visits customers during a recent lunch.

WICHITA — Almost since it opened in September 2012, Doo-Dah Diner has been Wichita’s “it” restaurant.

Doubt that?

On Sunday, all 92 seats in the restaurant’s small space at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Market were filled within 12 minutes of its 8 a.m. opening.

Now, the business is going to more than double in size, but it’s not for more seats.

Owners Timirie and Patrick Shibley are adding 3,000 square feet to their existing 2,000 square feet for more retail, a second kitchen and office space.

“Right now the drink station and I share an office,” Timirie Shibley says.

Patrick Shibley is Doo-Dah’s chef.

“It’s just going to give Patrick more creative freedom,” Timirie Shibley says of the additional space.

The restaurant will continue to be open 7 a.m.to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekends. With the expansion, which should be complete late this summer, the new retail side will be open until 6 p.m. for customers to buy to-go meals.

“Everybody has begged us to be open for dinner,” Timirie Shibley says. “That’s our version of being open for dinner.”

She says it will allow her husband to expand his bread baking as well.

“Our kitchen is just so maxed out back there,” Timirie Shibley says of the current space.

The new retail area will have bottles of Doo-Dah’s pancake syrup, green chili sauce and caramel sauce along with its biscuit and pancake mixes.

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Devlin Rod and Customs to double its size with new building

WICHITA — Tim Devlin first seriously considered expanding his Devlin Rod and Customs just before the economic crash of 2008.

That put things on hold, but now he’s ready to build a new place.

“Things have come back,” Devlin says.

“We’ve seen our business go through ups and downs,” he says. “We don’t build products people need. We build products that people want to have.”

Devlin is planning to build an approximately 12,000-square-foot building at the southwest corner of Douglas and Hydraulic.

“We have acquired the … old used-car lot that used to be part of Quality Chevrolet,” he says.

That’s just down from his current 6,000-square-foot space at 1811 E. Douglas.

Tim Devlin of Devlin Rod & Customs will bet moving to the southwest corner of Hydraulic and Douglas.

Tim Devlin of Devlin Rod & Customs will bet moving to the southwest corner of Hydraulic and Douglas.

Almost a decade ago, Devlin purchased RK Restorations at that property. He still does restorations, but that’s not the bulk of his business.

Devlin and his staff take old American cars and turn them into fast hot rods.

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Integrated Facilities Group to open the Back Room retail outlet downtown

WICHITA — Integrated Facilities Group has had an unexpected bonus in its relatively new space at 125 S. Washington, which is just south of Ribbit Computers at the southwest corner of Douglas and Washington.

“We’ve experienced a huge amount of walk-in traffic,” says Jessica Powers, IFG’s marketing, development and workspace coordinator.

“We wanted to take advantage of that.”

So the company is opening the Back Room as a retail furniture outlet for the business.

The bulk of IFG’s business is contract work that takes months or may even be years in the works, such as outfitting an entire new building with furniture.

The company, which is in its 25th year of business, moved from 1214 E. Second St. almost a year and a half ago. Its space jumped from 2,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet.

“A lot of our business is based on what people see in our showroom,” Powers says. “Being able to show everything … is important. It just makes everything so much easier.”

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District Taqueria, an ‘urban taco bar,’ to open near Douglas and Washington

WICHITA — Builder’s Inc. broker Adam Clements was reading Have You Heard? in January when he saw the news that Jon’s Ale House near Douglas and Washington was closing.

“I got a lightbulb as soon as I read that,” he says.

His clients Michael Farha and Marc Humsi have “been looking for a good Douglas location for a long time.”

The two now plan to open District Taqueria in the 3,000-square-foot space, which some people remember best as Kelly’s Irish Pub.

Clements describes District Taqueria as “an urban taco bar.”

“The focus is going to be on the taco,” Farha says. “In Mexico, that’s the true food of choice, and we’re just kind of taking it to the next level.”

Farha works for his family’s Farha’s Carpet & Building Supply. He used to have the Food Group to do catering.

“I wanted to open a restaurant, so I just kind of let that fizzle out,” Farha says.

Humsi is from Syracuse.

“His mother is a Farha,” Farha says. “Technically, he’s a very distant cousin.”

The two met when Humsi moved here and some other cousins introduced them.

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Golden House Chinese restaurant downtown to close; Sonic to open

WICHITA — Golden House may be an especially small downtown restaurant unknown to many around the city, but it has its devotees, and they are dejected.

The restaurant is closing after 16 years at 504 S. Broadway, which is a few blocks south of Douglas.

“I’m totally devastated,” says Tim Harjo, who eats there several times a week.

Owners Hai Nguyen and Ha Luong, who came from Vietnam 23 years ago, are retiring to Atlanta to be with their three children and seven grandchildren.

Nguyen has been telling longtime customers the news as she serves them.

“Where am I going to eat now?” or some variation of that has been the popular question.

One answer could be Sonic. That’s what’s going to open on the property.

A new 1,800-square-foot building will replace the Golden House space. The drive-in restaurant should be open by the end of the year.

Nguyen isn’t sure when she’ll close. It could be this week or next week.

She is sure of one thing, though.

“I’ll be so sad. I’ll miss all my customers over here,” Nguyen says. “Thank you, everyone.”

The Marple venue to open in former Marple Theater and Fat Tony’s space downtown

WICHITA — A new venue is opening in the former Fat Tony’s space at 417 E. Douglas, but it’s not a bar.

“It’s going to be a completely different building than it has in quite some time,” says Kyle Dick.

Dick and Stephen Coldwell are opening the Marple to host national touring acts, which could be musicians or comedians or DJs.

“It’s really no set thing,” Coldwell says. “We just want to have a nice venue – bring back the history of it.”

Dick says he’s heard a lot of history about the building, from old Wild West characters hanging out there to burlesque dancers and even more risque goings-on.

“I don’t know how true all of it is.”

Most people remember it as the Marple Theater. Dick and Coldwell hope to show films there again and perhaps host some Tallgrass Film Festival events.

“We love the space,” Dick says. “It’s kind of been underutilized for a while.”

Coldwell says the approximately 2,500-square-foot space is “amazing.”

“I just fell in love with it,” he says.

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Cabaret Oldtown to go on hiatus while owner considers options

WICHITA — Cabaret Oldtown’s current production will end this weekend as planned, but it’s unclear when the next show may be.

“We’re not sure what our future holds,” says owner Christi Moore.

“There’s no decisions that have been made yet.”

Moore says some personal changes are forcing her to make a professional change, too.

“I have spoken to potential buyers of the theater,” she says. “I have reached out to others who have expressed interest in the past.”

Moore leases space for the downtown theater at 412 E. Douglas.

After “Sweet Southern Comfort Rock ’n’ Roll” ends this weekend, Moore says the theater will take a hiatus.

In 2005, she bought the business from founder Christine Tasheff.

“It’s my hope that it can continue, and I would love to be a part of it in some way,” Moore says. “At this point I’m not sure if it’s going to be a situation where I manage the theater under new ownership or if I would be leaving altogether.”

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Google pin drop attracts attention at Corner 365, but Google has nothing to do with it

This sign in front of the new Corner 365 apartments is attracting attention -- just as Mike Garvey hoped it would.

This sign in front of the new Corner 365 apartments is attracting attention — just as Mike Garvey hoped it would.

WICHITA — The popular Google pin drop, which pinpoints sites on Google maps, has been popping up in a number of strange places worldwide.

For instance, the British tabloid Metro did a story last week about the red Google A, which looks like an upside down teardrop, showing up in a Berkshire roundabout. The paper quoted someone who questioned if it could be linked to a mysterious ghost child who supposedly haunts a nearby bridge.

Artist Aram Bartholl has a project in which he erected a giant red letter A in some cities on the spots that Google says are the centers of the cities.

Now, Wichita’s Builders Inc. has a red A in front of its apartments, Corner 365, under construction at the southeast corner of First and Waco.

No one has questioned if a ghost child is involved, but some have wondered if the A might denote what Google thinks is the center of Wichita. That’s not the case, though.

Builders Inc. president Mike Garvey says he was online one day when he saw a man in Germany standing in front of a building with what looked like the Google pin in front of it.

Garvey says he realized it was an imposter pin, but he says, “I was like, that’s a great idea.”

Hoping to bring attention to the apartments, Garvey had a sign company make him a similar pin.

“Some people have noticed it,” he says. “Maybe people drive by it and think it’s a Google pin.”

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Airbus to reduce engineering staff

WICHITA — Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft aren’t the only aircraft manufacturers cutting jobs in Wichita.

Airbus also will be reducing its engineering staff.

“This is not bad news,” says spokeswoman Kristi Tucker.

“This type of staffing balance is not unusual in the aviation industry,” she says. “At some point in every project, the product leaves the engineering and design phase and goes into production, so you don’t need as much engineering focus on it.”

Currently, about 370 of Airbus’ 400 Wichita employees are engineers.

“It’s been at a top level,” Tucker says. “It’s more work than we’ve ever done or ever managed out of that office.”

She says she can’t discuss specific numbers of how many jobs will be eliminated because that’s not been determined yet.

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Get Air Wichita to open next week

WICHITA — Some new businesses open with the hope that customers will come, but the new Get Air Wichita is opening next week with what looks to be a built-in customer base.

“We probably get 50 calls a day,” co-owner Mike Goetz says of people who are interested in the business.

Get Air Wichita, which is part of a growing chain of a dozen Get Air parks nationally, is a giant indoor trampoline park that’s taking part of the former Big Dog Motorcycle space downtown on New York Street between Douglas and First.

Almost half of the 22,000-square-foot park will be a trampoline, which will have different areas for various activities, including dodge ball, a basketball dunk and foam pits, which have video playback so people can watch their flips. There’s also a bungee jump that helps users who can’t do flips on their own.

There will be a toddler area as well.

This week, the trampolines will be installed along with some graffiti art – the intentional kind.

Other Get Air sites in the chain are popular for children and birthday parties, but Goetz says the business has something for all ages. For instance, there are teen nights on the weekends, and the company has hired a fitness director and is working on a schedule for fitness classes. Get Air Wichita also can be rented for corporate events.

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