Category Archives: Restaurants

Oliver’s Little Italy to reopen as Rocco’s Little Italy in Wellington

WICHITA — In April, Oliver’s Little Italy owner Scott Cosentino said he was closing his south-side restaurant and that he may reopen in another market.

Now, he’s doing it.

Rocco’s Little Italy, which Cosentino named after his father’s middle name, will open in Wellington in about a month.

“I’m going to have the same menu,” Cosentino says of the Italian food he’ll serve.

Cosentino says though his food was very well received in Wichita, nothing much else seemed to work about his restaurant at 1930 S. Oliver.

He says he chose to open in Wellington because he has a couple of backers from the area.

Rocco’s, which Cosentino says will be “right downtown Wellington” at 107 W. Harvey in the former Linda’s Lunch Box space, will be open for lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday most likely. On Sundays, dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cosentino hopes to open with at least a beer license.

He says he thinks he’ll see some of his former Wichita customers at Rocco’s.

“Some of them said they’ll come down there.”

Sam Kuns to move his Air Capital Catering to Market Centre and open Caesars

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.

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Oklahoma Boy’s BBQ to open in Augusta

WICHITA — Oklahoma Boy’s BBQ owner Terry Keeton thinks there are too many barbecue restaurants in El Dorado, so he’s moving his business to Augusta.

Keeton says he thinks it’ll be a better location with less competition.

The Oklahoma native hopes to open his restaurant at 114 E. 7th St. in Augusta in the next week or two. He says it’ll seat about 35 diners.

For now, he is selling food out of a mobile concession stand in front of the restaurant.

“We’ve got our wagon kind of temporarily set up.”

MOXI Junction uses Kickstarter for final financial push before opening in Maize

WICHITA — The new Maize coffeehouse MOXI Junction has a building now, but its kitchen is empty, so Joanna Kilgore has begun a Kickstarter campaign to finance it.

“We were doing really well, and then my funding collapsed,” she says. “I had a verbal, ‘Yes,’ that turned into a, ‘No.’”

In October, Have You Heard? reported that Kilgore and some Maize-area friends, including two other mothers of special-needs children, are opening the business as a place for their kids to work. The coffeehouse also will have a bakery and art gallery.

MOXI, which stands for Mothers of Exceptional Individuals, will be at the northwest corner of Park and Central in Maize.

“I’m paying for 99 percent myself,” Kilgore says.

She says a farm bank has been helping her.

“They would much rather give to farms than speciality coffee. It makes more sense to them.”

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Dave Dunn to open Billy Sims Barbecue

WICHITA — Dave Dunn, who used to own Emerson Biggin’s, is bringing a new restaurant concept to Wichita.

Dunn already owns a Billy Sims Barbecue in Oklahoma City, and in September he’s opening one at the southwest corner of Kellogg and Andover.

Sims was a Heisman winner at the University of Oklahoma who went on to play for the Detroit Lions. Dunn says he’s one of his heroes.

“Just remember watching him,” Dunn says. “Would never dream I would be in business with him. We see him a lot, really. He’s very hands-on with franchisees.”

Dunn’s Oklahoma City restaurant was the 18th for the Tulsa-based chain, which now has more than 40 restaurants.

“They’re growing fast,” he says.

Dunn says there aren’t enough rooftops near his Oklahoma City restaurant.

“I do think Wichita will be better.”

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Dakhil family pays for second Lord’s Diner food truck, which debuts Wednesday

WICHITA — The Lord’s Diner is debuting its second food truck on Wednesday and – unexpectedly – it’ll be fully paid for.

Physician Shaker Dakhil read an April Have You Heard? column about the success of the first Lord’s Diner food truck and how the nonprofit planned a second one for Friendship Park in the Hilltop neighborhood.

Dakhil called the Lord’s Diner and said he’d like to buy a third truck to help the organization feed the homeless and hungry.

“He can’t stand the thought of hungry children,” says Lord’s Diner director Jan Haberly.

She told Dakhil that the nonprofit couldn’t start thinking of a third truck until it pays for the second one. So Dakhil and his wife, Kathie, donated $115,000 for the truck and some supplies since, as Dakhil says, “Metal doesn’t feed people.”

The money was going to come from the Lord’s Diner general fund. Haberly says the donation “actually frees up that money to secure the food for all that we’re doing.”

Two diners and a truck serve about 1,200 people a day. Haberly anticipates the daily average will jump by at least 300 if not 400 more people a day.

“I always said I wanted to open my own restaurant for the homeless,” Dakhil says.

Dakhil, an oncologist who is president of the Cancer Center of Kansas, says the center has satellite centers to treat patients closer to where they live, and he says he appreciates that the Lord’s Diner practices the same concept.

“Take the food where the hungry people are,” he says.

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You don’t say

“They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to determine how to promote Wichita when we have lots of locally owned restaurants that … could be highlighted at the airport that would show what Wichita really is.”

– Wichitan Audine Stuhlsatz, who is disappointed that the restaurants under consideration for the new airport terminal aren’t all local

Big B’s Beef expands catering, changes hours

WICHITA — The “more convenient, centralized location” that Liz Bathgate said she was looking for when she moved her Big B’s Beef to Delano seems to be working out.

“It’s been great here,” she says. “We have wonderful neighbors.”

Bathgate and her husband, Brian, moved their restaurant from 4628 S. Seneca to 605 W. Douglas, next to Hatman Jack’s Wichita Hat Works, late last year.

Liz Bathgate says they’ve found Big B’s is more of a lunch destination in its new spot, so they’re changing its hours.

Monday through Wednesday, the restaurant will still be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Thursday through Saturday, hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“At 7 o’clock, it seems to slow down here in Delano,” Bathgate says.

With the new site, Big B’s now has catering, too.

“We’re just expanding our catering menu,” Bathgate says. “This is growing. More and more people are asking for it.”

The restaurant also is now delivering downtown. There’s not a set minimum order.

“We usually ask that it’s a few orders,” Bathgate says. “We’re not real picky on that.”

Jon Suddeth to buy Delano Barbeque Co.

WICHITA — Ben E. Keith district sales rep Jon Suddeth was visiting an account, Delano Barbeque Co., when he learned owners Scott and Teri Webb wanted to sell the business.

“I said, “I may know somebody who would be interested,’” says Suddeth, who was thinking of another account of his.

“At the time, I didn’t think it would be me.”

It now is, though. Suddeth and his wife, Michelle, are taking over the restaurant at 710 W. Douglas on June 30.

“I swore I would never do it again,” Jon Suddeth says of getting back in the restaurant business.

He’s previously managed restaurants such as Heroes and Gobi Grille. This is the first time he’ll own a restaurant.

So why does he want back in?

“I’m an idiot.”

Suddeth says he’s keeping his day job, too.

“I’m not leaving Ben E. Keith,” he says. “I do want to make it perfectly clear.”

Michelle Suddeth is going to run the restaurant.

Jon Suddeth says he enjoys selling food to restaurants in addition to diners.

“Essentially, I’m picking up a new account, and it’s mine.”

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Done deal: Jimmy’s Egg to open by Tanya’s Soup Kitchen

WICHITA — He’s still working on some city permitting, but otherwise Wink Hartman Sr. has a done deal for a new Jimmy’s Egg to open in the same building as Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.

“We’ve already demolished the space,” Hartman says. “We think we’ll for sure be open in September.”

In early May, Have You Heard? reported that Hartman wanted to put his fifth Wichita Jimmy’s Egg in Phil Ruffin’s Sunburst Plaza at 1725 at the southeast corner of Douglas and Hydraulic.

Hartman previously said he thinks there’s room for another breakfast and lunch place in the area, where the Donut Whole is also across the street.

“After that, we are looking at the possibility of downtown Topeka and possibly Emporia,” Hartman says. “We’re going to take a hard look at downtown Topeka.”

He says a breakfast-and-lunch concept makes sense for the state’s capital, where there may be more workers in the area in the morning and around lunch than later in the day.

Hartman may not be done with the Wichita area either.

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