Oliver’s Little Italy to open in popular restaurant spot on South Oliver

UPDATED — Another new restaurant is coming to 1930 S. Oliver.

The appropriately named Oliver’s Little Italy will open in the next week or so for an Italian lunch buffet.

“It’s in a good spot for a lunch buffet,” says Scott Cosentino, who is opening the business with Dyan Gordon.

The 7,000-square-foot space has been home to a number of restaurants in recent years, including Ben Villar’s Mexican Restaurant, Crossroads Bistro and Steakhouse, Spears and Angelo’s.

Cosentino used to run Crossroads, in fact.

He says Oliver’s Little Italy eventually will be open for dinner in addition to the lunch buffet.

Angelo’s won’t open in former Barrier’s space, but another restaurant working on it

UPDATED — Angelo’s won’t be opening in the former Barrier’s space at Douglas and Oliver after all, but another restaurant will pending final city approval on increased parking.

“I never was positive that we were opening there,” says Gina Fasciano-Hogan. “It was actually way premature that that was mentioned at all.”

Fasciano-Hogan had been speaking with someone who had hoped to buy the building but didn’t succeed.

“That’s how premature it was.”

She still wants to reopen her family’s popular restaurant, though.

“We still want to, yes, and would like to stay in the College Hill area,” Fasciano-Hogan says. “I’m still in the planning stages.”

She says she’s working on a business plan and should be ready to do something in about six months.

“Hopefully when the time comes, something will be available in that area.”

Another group wants part of the former Barrier’s space for a bar and restaurant. Neither the group nor its representatives are sharing details about who the restaurateurs are or what they’re planning.

According to a staff report for the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the real estate agents for the new owners of the building — who closed on Thursdayapplied for a conditional use permit to tear down a duplex near the property for parking.

They also have plans to tear down a building behind the former Barrier’s building but don’t need permission for that because it’s already zoned for neighborhood retail.

The duplex is behind Citizens Bank of Kansas and is zoned for multifamily residential use.

The planning commission unanimously approved the permit with some modifications. This followed numerous public speakers who voiced concerns over the plan along with support for it.

A couple of speakers said they didn’t think the building, which has been vacant for more than two years, can ever attract another business without more parking.

“This building is an eyesore,” resident Trae Staats said. “Frankly, guys, something’s gotta give.”

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Crossroads is still open, but not for lunch

WICHITA — Construction has forced Tomey Shabshab to close his Crossroads Bistro and Steakhouse for lunch.

“We still have the best food, but it doesn’t pay to open up and pay $300 worth of labor and sell $200 worth of food,” he says.

Crossroads, which is in the former Angelo’s space at 1930 S. Oliver, is now open only for dinner Wednesday through Saturday.

“We were doing really well,” says Shabshab, who opened the restaurant late last year.

Then, he says, the “Wichita city welcoming committee” showed up. That’s his name for the construction crews working on Oliver.

Shabshab isn’t sure when the construction will be done.

He says it seems the crews get close to finishing in one spot, but then “they quit working on it and move onto someplace else.”