Category Archives: Old Town

Loft 150 likely will transform into new venue

WICHITA — Loft 150 above River City Brewing Co. in Old Town is a teenager now, and that means it’s time for a change.

“We’ve got to reinvest in our business if we’re going to keep people coming in here,” says operating partner Chris Arnold.

The 21-year-old River City Brewing created Loft 150 during a remodeling in 2001 to give it “a little more bar feel … to get that late night crowd to come in here,” Arnold says.

He says there was more of a dimly lit lounge feel with leather couches than the rustic look of River City.

“It worked great for a lot of years,” Arnold says. “That trend is just kind of over.”

While downstairs business “is really, really great right now,” he says upstairs “got stagnant, just slowed down a little bit.”

He has bids out to remodel the upstairs and create a feel more similar to the downstairs with hardwood floors, exposed beams, a lighter look and new garage doors onto its balcony.

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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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You don’t say

shocker“I think when it comes right down to it, everybody’s got a pretty good sense of humor.”

PumpHouse owner Jim Ross, who has had only a few complaints about the Old Town bar’s new mural of a Shocker beast (a cross between the Hulk and a wheat shocker) squeezing the necks of a tiny Jayhawk and Wildcat

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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Lotus Leaf Cafe to move to Old Town

UPDATED — Three years after opening in Delano, the Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie is moving to Old Town.

The newly named Lotus Leaf Cafe will open at the southwest corner of Second and Washington next to the new Taste & See. Both restaurants are in part of the former Doc Howard’s Lounge space.

“There’s so many more things I want to do,” owner Jacquelyn Keefer says of needing more space.

Her restaurant at 613 W. Douglas is 1,153 square feet with about 30 seats.

“It’s sad to say, but you have to be fairly thin to work there,” Keefer says of negotiating among the tables.

The kitchen is tiny, too, which she says means that what executive chef Rebecca Gold has been able to do is “miraculous.”

The new space, which will be ready in early April, is almost 2,000 square feet.

“The thought of what she can do with a real kitchen will be pretty amazing,” Keefer says of Gold.

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Pixel Time moving adult classes to Labor Party; still searching for children’s space

WICHITA — Pixel Time, which provides lessons in digital arts and Mac technology, is leaving CityArts where it’s been for several years.

Pixel Time owner Skyler Lovelace says it wasn’t her idea to move, but CityArts needed her space.

“It was so great to be downtown, especially this time of year,” she says, noting she especially enjoys the horse-drawn carriages through Old Town.

She’ll remain in Old Town, though in another area. Pixel Time is moving to the Labor Party at 216 N. Mosley where there is private and shared workspace among creative types and small companies.

“Even though it wasn’t my idea to move, I think I’m going to see some advantages,” Lovelace says.

She says CityArts “was closed a lot when I would have preferred to be open.” The Labor Party is open 24-7, she says.

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Hotel at Old Town borrows Neiman Marcus gift idea

WICHITA — If you’re desperately seeking that special last-minute gift, perhaps for the person who already has everything, Michael Frimel wants to talk to you.

The vice president of sales and marketing at the Hotel at Old Town is taking a page from the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog, which offers what it calls “fantasy gifts” that are outrageously priced, one-of-a-kind presents.

Frimel’s idea is to sell the entire hotel and its banquet space for New Year’s Eve 2014 – that’s next New Year’s.

“It’s the ultimate Christmas gift, which is why I think now is the perfect time,” he says.

He’s selling it for $123,120.14.

Fourteen cents? Does that really matter on a $123,000 tab?

“Look at it from a date perspective,” Frimel says.

That’s Dec. 31, 2014.

“So that’s the price tag,” Frimel says. “That includes guest room accommodations for 114 of your favorite couples. It includes all of your food and beverages.”

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Vliet family sells Old Town property

UPDATED — Rich and Marni Vliet were a young couple in 1975 when they first started buying Old Town property.

“Rich began having this Old Town dream when we met,” Marni Vliet says of her late husband, who died of ALS two years ago.

First, they purchased the Looking Glass restaurant in the 400 block of East Douglas.

Then, in the mid 1980s, they began eyeing a dilapidated area of Old Town in the 900 block along East Douglas.

“We were beginning to get a feel for the frontage of Douglas,” Vliet says. “We used to sit at the Beacon and look at the block over our omelettes.”

The Vliets shared a dream and a dedication to the redevelopment of Old Town, and that included what Rich Vliet thought of as the entry point of Old Town.

“Rich was right,” Vliet says. “He said, ‘Old Town needs a face. … It needs a front door.’”

The Vliets purchased the property from 910 through 926 E. Douglas, which has 29,531 square feet over nine units. Friday, they sold it to a group called Old Town Ventures.

“I wouldn’t even characterize it as bittersweet,” Marni Vliet says. “It’s the end of a chapter for our family.”

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Rage to open in former Club Liquid space

Wendy and Pat Alvarez in front of the future home of Rage in Old Town.

Wendy and Pat Alvarez in front of the future home of Rage in Old Town.

WICHITA — New Port of Wichita owner Pat Alvarez is working on a second bar, this time in Old Town.

Alvarez is opening Rage in the former Club Liquid space at 235 N. Mosley. He doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea with the bar’s name.

“I didn’t want to have a long, drawn-out name,” Alvarez says. “I just wanted one word that maybe screamed good time or party or fun, but not out of control.”

He says he’s going to “try to clean out that reputation (the bar) used to have.”

“I’m trying to draw an older crowd to downtown,” Alvarez says. “It’s going to be real clean cut.”

Unlike the Port where he went “with a real sexy theme” that includes an all-female, midriff-baring staff, Rage will be a little more tame.

“We’re not going to have … the girls in the risque clothes,” Alvarez says. “I just don’t think that Old Town is the place for that.”

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You don’t say

“When I use the word ‘frustrated,’ I’m using it in a kind, low-key way.”

Old Town Association board member Jason Van Sickle, explaining that the group’s website is temporarily down as it transitions to a new, hopefully more reliable host