Category Archives: New business

Sweet Willy’s Hillbilly BBQ to open on South Seneca

WICHITA — Insurance salesman Randy Hare has a number of inspirations for opening his own restaurant, Sweet Willy’s Hillbilly BBQ, near 47th and South Seneca.

“I got my roots from the Ozarks and from tasting the good Carolina barbecue around,” Hare says.

willy“Plus, my wife needed a job,” he says of his wife, Pam.

Hare has been the manager at City Life Cafe, where Youth for Christ kids have a chance to learn on the job, and he says he wants to offer them another place to do that.

The Hares are planning to open Sweet Willy’s at 4628 S. Seneca in about three weeks.

“It’s just going to be a little 30-seater,” Hare says.

He says they’ll also have catering, a drive-through and a food truck.

Hare plans to smoke the restaurant’s meat in front of the restaurant in view of passersby.

“If you’re down at the Sonic, you’re going to be able to smell my smoke.”

That’s part of his plan.

“You’ve got to have something.”

Hare says he’ll have smoky, fall-off-the-bone ribs and a number of unusual offerings, such as traditional Poutine french fries with cheese curds in a brown gravy, inspired by Canadian partner.

Hare says he’s going to keep his insurance job as well.

“Unfortunately,” he says, “it’s against the law for me to give somebody a steak to buy a life insurance policy.”

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.

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New west-side spa Fresh to offer medical-grade treatments

WICHITA — Jacqueline Benefiel says she’s built medical spas for physicians in the past, and now she’s going to build one for herself.

“I have always wanted to have my own facility,” Benefiel says. “Everything is going to be a little more personal.”

She’s opening Fresh near the QuikTrip at the northeast corner of 21st and Ridge.

“We’re going to be doing medical-grade type treatments for the skin,” Benefiel says, “… and then also kind of having a pampering side to it.”

She will offer massage, body treatments and nail care and also have a retail area to sell the products she uses.

“We have really unique pedicure chairs and things like that to make it a little more comfortable and relaxing.”

Benefiel says when she’s worked at other spas, some were more medical and austere and others were more spalike.

“I’ve always had the extreme to one side or the other,” she says.

Fresh “is just a really great mix of both. I think it’s what people are really looking for.”

Benefiel hopes to be open late April or early May – as long as she’s in business in time for Mother’s Day.

She had considered east-side space, but in hindsight Benefiel says she’s glad it didn’t work out.

“It turns out it makes more sense to be on the west side,” she says.

“There’s a lot of medical spas … on the east side.”

Benefiel says in addition to having fewer spas, the west side is where a lot of her clients already are.

“Although they were willing to travel,” she says, when they heard she’s going west, “they were just thrilled.”

Sleep Number to open at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — A new Sleep Number store is opening at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road this summer.

The 2,500-square-foot store will open in the former Verizon Wireless space in the same center as Bella Luna Cafe.

Verizon expanded to part of the University of Phoenix’s former space. That’s in the same building as Kay Jewelers and Scottrade.

Sleep Number is part of Select Comfort Corp. of Minneapolis.

April Reed of Slawson Cos. handled the deal.

Look for more information closer to the store’s opening.

Rita’s Italian Ice to offer free ice desserts Monday and Tuesday

WICHITA — It’s rare that “free” and “tasty” go together, but that’s what the new Rita’s Italian Ice will offer Monday and Tuesday when it opens next to the Five Guys Burgers and Fries near 29th and Rock Road.

“We are excited to turn people onto that product,” franchisee Jeff Miller says.

So he and Rita’s corporate will be offering free ice – not custard – both days.

Miller says people here are already familiar with custard.

“They’re not familiar with Italian ice,” he says.

Miller says customers tend to think Rita’s Italian Ice might be shaved ice or slushies before trying it.

“It’s not what they think it is,” he says.

“It’s just so much more than that. … We want people to try it and have the experience.”

Dandurand Drugstore to open near 21st and Ridge Road

Mike Dandurand, center, with his son, Ben, right, and Paul Vossen, who will manage the new Dandurand Drugstore opening on the west side.

Mike Dandurand, center, with his son, Ben, right, and Paul Vossen, who will manage the new Dandurand Drugstore opening on the west side.

WICHITA — Mike Dandurand, who opened his first Dandurand Drugstore on the east side in 1976, has always planned to have a west-side store.

However, “just the way health care is now” held him up.

“Finally, we just decided we don’t know what’s going to happen, we’re just going to do it,” he says.

The new store will be in 3,000 square feet near the northwest corner of 21st and Ridge Road where Westside Flowers by DeOrsey recently moved and Subway and Pho Chopstix already are.

“It’s going to be a hybrid,” Dandurand says of the store. “That means we’re going to do retail, but we’re also going to do compounding. … There’s a lot of pharmacies over there, but there’s not a lot of compounding pharmacies over there.”

Dandurand says that patients – anyone from premature babies to the elderly to even pets – sometimes need medicine in customized dosages, which is what compounding is for.

Dandurand’s main store is at Piccadilly Square at Central and Rock Road. Within that, there also is a long-term care pharmacy that’s strictly for people in care facilities. There’s also a Dandurand outlet inside Wichita Family Medicine Specialists at Carriage Parkway.

In 2005, Dandurand expanded from its original site at Piccadilly to new 7,500-square-foot space at the center where Brick’s used to be.

“It gave us a chance to remodel (while) still in business,” Dandurand says. He says it allowed him to update the store and “make it so it was inviting.”

It’s the same idea with the new store, which will be similar to the Dandurand at Piccadilly, though a little bit smaller.

“We’ll still have a fair amount of space for gifts,” Dandurand says.

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A 1,500-square-foot Scooter’s is second tenant for Union Station

WICHITA — Occidental Management now has its second tenant in its new development at Union Station, which it is planning to transform into a multi-use destination in the heart of the city.

“We’re going to be putting in a Scooter’s coffee cafe,” says Occidental president Chad Stafford, who handled the deal with chairman and CEO Gary Oborny.

Wichita businessman Tad Fugate will open the Scooter’s in 1,500 square feet on the east end of what was the Grand Hotel immediately to the west of The Wichita Eagle. The businesses are across from the entrance to Old Town.

“So they’ll have great presence along Douglas,” Stafford says.

“To have them in this with their coffee brand is pretty exciting,” he says of Fugate and his company.

This won’t be a typical Scooter’s kiosk.

“This is a little bit different for them in that they’re getting into a little cafe style.”

There are similar Scooter’s cafes on the Plaza in Kansas City and in Overland Park.

There will be a drive-through at the cafe.

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Central Standard Brewing to open at Douglas and Hydraulic

WICHITA — Andy Boyd and Ian Crane have been home-brewing beer together for a decade, and now they want to share what they create with all of Wichita.

“It’s kind of a passion of ours,” Boyd says. He says the idea is to “make a little money at it and share (the beer) with the community.”

Central Standard Brewing will open in 4,000 square feet in a building they purchased at the southwest corner of Douglas and Hydraulic, which is near Hyde Park.

“We have to . . . basically get a conditional zoning permit, because it’s next to a public park,” Boyd says. “That’s what we’re working on right now.”

The business will have a limited food menu and five or six types of beer to start. Boyd and Crane plan to have 10 or more kinds of beer eventually.

Boyd says he wants to stress that Central Standard Brewing is not going to be a bar or nightclub.

“It’ll be family friendly,” he says.”It’s about appreciation of beer, not about drinking to excess and all that.”

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Jackie Chan’s sushi to open near Central and Oliver

WICHITA — Another Asian restaurant is moving into the former home of Sit at Thai Express on East Central just east of Oliver.

Binh Tran is opening Jackie Chan’s Sushi in the small space, which also has a drive-through.

“He’s been making sushi in Wichita for 20 years,” says Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos., who handled the deal.

“He’s been at Kwan Court and Sakura,” Boyd says.

“He’s never had his own spot. . . . So this is his first venture on his own.”

Tran says he’s naming the business after himself.

“Jackie Chan is my nickname,” he says.

Tran says his friends named him that years ago.

Boyd says he’s sampled some of Tran’s cooking.

“It’s really, really good.”

Boyd calls it “some of the best sushi I’ve ever had.”

Tran says he’ll also have stir fry and pho, a Vietnamese soup.

Look for the restaurant to open in mid April.

 

Finns Lounge and Revolution Rock Bar have new owners

WICHITA — Finns Lounge and Revolution Rock Bar are reopening, but Greg Finley won’t own or run either place.

Finley owned Finns Lounge, an Old Town staple, for more than a decade and recently ran Revolution for Melad Stephan. Then Finley ran into liquor license issues.

Now, Amy Stepien, who used to work at Finn’s, and her husband, Jason, are working on reopening the bar at 131 N. Rock Island.

“It is still going to be Finns Lounge because Finn’s has been known in Old Town,” Amy Stepien says.

After some freshening inside the bar, she says, “It’s pretty much going to be the same.”

Stepien adds, “I just want it to be known that I don’t have any affiliation with Greg.”

Nor is she a part of the new ownership group at Revolution, which is at 233 S. Mosley.

Nick Dean is opening the business with brothers Kurt and Kyle Okumura.

“We all used to work together at Finns Lounge,” Dean says.

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