Category Archives: Restaurants

You don’t say

“I keep waiting for Sam Brownback to send me business cards with the state seal on it.”

– Restaurateur and caterer Ben Arnold, who says he feels more like he’s in the tax business, though he’s resolved his latest issue over $7,222 in contested taxes at A.V.I. Seabar & Chophouse

Firehouse Subs is first tenant at new strip center at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Slawson Cos. is preparing to start building a strip center in front of the SuperTarget at NewMarket Square later this month and has landed its first tenant for it: Firehouse Subs.

“We acquired from Target an outparcel basically in front of their NewMarket Square store that’ll be just north of the Intrust Bank … branch bank,” says Slawson’s Jerry Jones.

Firehouse Subs will be in 2,000 square feet on the north end of the 10,000-square-foot center.

Jones says two other potential deals for the center are in advance stages of negotiation. If they happen, that would leave 2,800 square feet to lease to a tenant or 1,400 square feet each for two tenants.

Firehouse Subs franchisees Dana and Troy Todd would like to do five of the restaurants in the greater Wichita area. Franchisees Megan and Andrew Reece opened Wichita’s first Firehouse late last year at Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

Dana Todd says NewMarket Square is a great place to open Firehouse.

“It’s a well-established area, and it seems to be continuing to grow.”

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Oliver’s Little Italy to close Saturday; owner may reopen new restaurant

UPDATED — Scott Cosentino is closing his Oliver’s Little Italy on Saturday.

He says the restaurant at 1930 S. Oliver, which opened in late September, was in a bad location, had no money, no point of sale system and not very good help.

“Shall I continue?” he says.

Cosentino, a New Jersey native, hopes to open another restaurant soon with a financial backer. He says this time it may be in Wellington or Park City.

He says the one issue Oliver’s Little Italy didn’t have was a problem with the food, which Cosentino says he’ll prove once again when he reopens.

“I would show all of the restaurants of the town how to make good Italian food, because they don’t know.”

Quincy’s Bar & Grill owner to open second restaurant and bar in Moundridge

WICHITA — Kyle Estep wasn’t looking to open a bar and restaurant in his wife Nancy’s hometown of Moundridge, but that’s what he’s now doing.

“We’re just opening Quincy’s No. 2 out there,” says Estep, whose first Quincy’s Bar & Grill is near 21st and West streets.

Estep is opening in the 6,000-square-foot brick building that formerly was home to Block 32 Eatery & Pub in Moundridge.

He says the building was built in 2007 as something of a gift to the community.

“A couple of individuals felt that it was time to get a full-service restaurant in town,” Estep says.

“They spared no expense on stuff. It’s a beautiful facility.”

There’s a main level, a second floor meeting space that can hold 60 and “a bunkerlike basement.”

“They just shut it down about a year ago,” Estep says. “It’s been kind of mothballed is the best way to describe it.”

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Raven’s Room to open at Pour Haus space

UPDATED — A new restaurant and bar is opening in the former Pour Haus Restaurant and Tavern space at the southeast corner of Maple and Seneca in early May.

Jeravicious Raven is opening Raven’s Room as “a restaurant and rock bar.”

Raven says he’ll have live music Thursdays through Saturdays and occasionally other days as well.

The business will be open every day but Sunday for lunch and dinner, which will mostly be burgers, sandwiches and steaks.

He previously owned Lexi’s Restaurant and Bar at 3008 W. Central.

“It didn’t go very well,” Raven says.

“I really didn’t have enough money to do it,” he says. “There were so many things I didn’t know.”

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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.”

Sweet Basil owner ‘overwhelmed’ with support following fire

Charli Singh in front of his fire-damaged Sweet Basil restaurant, which he plans to rebuild.

Charli Singh in front of his fire-damaged Sweet Basil restaurant, which he plans to rebuild.

WICHITA – Sweet Basil owner Charli Singh was in bed around 4 a.m. Wednesday when an alarm went off alerting him to a problem at his restaurant at 2424 N. Woodlawn.

He says he figured it was a low battery or a similar nonissue that he could take care of quickly and then “go back home and sleep.”

“I didn’t really dress for the occasion,” says Singh, who was greeted at the restaurant with firefighters battling a blaze in the kitchen.

Since then, Singh says he’s felt a range of emotions, especially gratitude. He says he’s thankful no one was hurt, and he appreciates the firefighters.

“They did an excellent job in putting out the fire.”

Singh says he was amazed at how well organized the scene was. He says that though the kitchen was “destroyed,” firefighters were able to put out the blaze before structural damage occurred. He says he’s not sure how the fire started.

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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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Siena Tuscan Steakhouse loses chef

UPDATED — Another person in what’s been a string of Ambassador Hotel employees coming and going – from the general manager on down – is gone.

This time, it’s executive chef Marshall Roth, who moved to Wichita to open the downtown hotel’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse.

“We kind of just parted ways,” Roth says. “I need to do what’s right for myself, and they need to do what’s right for the hotel.”

Hotel owner Paul Coury says he’s a huge Roth fan.

“He’s a great guy,” Coury says.

Roth says he came to Wichita to be his mother’s caretaker. He says he recently was looking to hire more nurses for his mother. Now, he says, he won’t have to.

“I’m going to be taking care of my mom.”

Coury says Roth’s schedule of caring for his mother sometimes conflicted with his schedule at the restaurant.

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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.”