Old Town loses Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill and Imbiss Grille, gains Todd Brians Brick Street Cafe & Tavern

UPDATED — There are a few restaurant changes in Old Town, including the departure of a longtime Wichita restaurant.

After more than a decade in business, Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill has closed.

“It was a difficult decision,” says Heidi Johnson, franchise administrator for the Nebraska-based company.

The restaurant’s lease was up at 233 N. Mosley.

“After four years of economic woes in this country, we just didn’t think it was the right time to renew our lease in that location,” Johnson says.

An entertainment district such as Old Town isn’t a typical development where the chain prefers to locate, she says.

“We kind of build on the interstate.”

That’s an option for down the road, though probably not anytime soon, Johnson says.

Old Town developer Dave Burk is working on a possible new tenant.

“I think I’m close,” he says.

Imbiss Grille, a German restaurant that was on the west side of Old Town Square, also has closed.

The owner didn’t return numerous calls in November and December regarding the possible closure.

A new restaurant, Todd Brians Brick Street Cafe & Tavern, is opening in its place.

“It’s something I’ve been working on my whole career,” says owner Chris Tincher.

He’s so far spent his career working for others. Tincher spent the bulk of his time with Amarillo Grill but also worked for P.F. Chang’s, Piztros and Ted’s Montana Grill.

He’s naming his restaurant after his brother, who died three years ago.

“It’s just in his memory,” Tincher says. “There will be some featured dishes that were some of his favorite.”

Tincher calls his restaurant an American cafe, which will have dishes such as crawfish etouffee, taco plates and cheeseburgers.

He thinks Old Town Square is an ideal location.

“The downtown business district has really grown nicely over the last five years,” Tincher says. “I personally enjoy going down there and seeing movies and having dinner.”

He plans to open in early February. Tincher isn’t nervous about finally doing his own venture.

“I’m on a high about it right now. I really am.”



Pho Hot Bistro owner to expand west, south

WICHITA — His newest restaurant is less than two weeks old, but Danny Nguyen is already at work on his next two concepts.

Nguyen opened Pho Hot Bistro in the former Amarillo Grill space at 306 N. Rock Road on Aug. 21.

It’s a more upscale version of his Pho Hot near Pawnee and the Canal Route.

Now, he’s looking to do a west-side Pho Hot Bistro by the Lowe’s near 29th and Maize.

Nguyen doesn’t have a deal yet but hopes to soon.

He’s also working on an express location for Derby near the Target in the Derby Marketplace at 71st South and Rock Road.

“It’s kind of like Chipotle style,” Nguyen says of his concept.

Read More »

So long, Amarillo; hello, Pho Hot


As of late Saturday night, Wichita is once again without an Amarillo Grill.

By customer demand, Amarillo owner Danny Nguyen, who bought the restaurant at 306 N. Rock Road early this year, is converting it into a Pho Hot Bistro.

It’ll be more of an upscale version of his successful Pho Hot restaurant near Pawnee and the Canal Route.

Former Amarillo owner Alan Bundy, who founded the popular Amarillo Grill chain in 1982, brought the restaurant back to Wichita in early 2008.

Bundy sold the chain in 1996, and the new owners eventually closed all the restaurants.

Nguyen says the restaurant did all right in its North Rock space, but he says his customers were disappointed he wasn’t opening a Pho Hot.

His new concept will feature the same fresh and often healthy ingredients Pho Hot offers, and the menu will be the same for lunch — pho, noodle dishes and Vietnamese sandwiches.

But dinner will have an expanded menu that prominently features fresh seafood that Nguyen buys on weekly trips to Houston.

Dishes include some not-so-typical entrees for Wichita, such as blue crab-stuffed avocados, crab cake po’ boys and tableside hot pots to cook your own shrimp and beef.

And, unlike the Pawnee location, there will be beer and wine on the menu.

Military discounts will continue as well.

The interior of the restaurant will be remodeled, too. Nguyen plans to raise the ceiling, create a new entrance and add seating to accommodate about 100 diners.

Look for the new restaurant to open in early summer.

Nguyen says his existing location won’t change. Contrary to what some concerned customers fear, he says, “Pho Hot is not for sale.”