You don’t say

“I’m like an old dog. I can’t learn new tricks. I just try to remember some of the old ones.”

Applebee’s and Pie Five Pizza franchisee Jim Stevens

Wichita’s first Pie Five Pizza to open in late summer near Maple and Ridge

WICHITA — Late last year Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens told Have You Heard? that he planned to bring Pie Five Pizza to Wichita, and now he’s doing it.

Stevens’ first Wichita Pie Five will go on the lot south of his Applebee’s near Maple and Ridge Road, and it will be the first freestanding Pie Five for the Dallas-based national chain.

“I looked all over,” Stevens says of trying to find a strip center to open in. “There was nothing available.”

Stevens, who has franchise rights in Wichita and Omaha, will break ground on the 2,500-square-foot restaurant Monday.

Originally, Stevens says he had planned to do another restaurant concept, but former Applebee’s president Dave Goebel convinced him otherwise.

“I was talking to him about a different concept, and he said, ‘Well, you might want to take a look at Pie Five,’” Stevens says. “Dave is really a straight shooter.”

Stevens says he was impressed with the chain.

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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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Sasnak Management closes 17 Carlos O’Kelly’s restaurants — none in Wichita — in repositioning move

UPDATED — No Wichita Carlos O’Kelly’s are affected, but Wichita-based Sasnak Management has closed 17 of its Mexican restaurants in order to reposition the company.

“It’s been gut wrenching,” says president Jon Rolph.

However, he says, “We have 22 strong locations moving forward.”

Rolph says some of the company’s restaurants across nine states were too big, some weren’t in the right places, and all weren’t performing as well as the ones the company is keeping.

“That’s where these decisions were born out of,” Rolph says. “We just decided to face the pain all at once rather than just drip, drip, drip.”

Rolph says he’s looking a decade out in his planning.

“We said, you know … let’s make the hard decisions and set this company up so we can pour our money into where we’re growing. I know it’s strange to hear that when you’re closing stores it’s part of your growth strategy … but that’s true in this scenario.”

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Abuelo’s inching closer to west-side deal

WICHITA — Abuelo’s, the Mexican restaurant chain that opened at the Waterfront in April 2004, is working on a deal for west-side space.

“It’s been a good market for us,” Abuelo’s director of marketing Melanie Carroll says of Wichita.

She says the Lubbock-based company is always looking for growth opportunities and believes Wichita could sustain two Abuelo’s restaurants, but she won’t share details beyond that.

Landmark Commercial Real Estate president and CEO Brad Saville, who represents Abuelo’s in Wichita, says the chain is eyeing three west-side sites and hasn’t yet determined where it will go.

Other sources, though, says Abuelo’s is getting closer to a deal at a site near the Kellogg and Ridge Road corridor not far from where the new Twin Peaks is going to open.

Earlier this month, Have You Heard? reported that Twin Peaks, which already has an east-side site, is going to open at 7325 W. Taft. It will be in a building across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread, which is south of Maple and Ridge.

The area is becoming a hot spot for restaurants such as Applebee’s, McAlister’s Deli, Chipotle Mexican Grill, IHOP and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers among others.

Look for more news on Abuelo’s in the months ahead.

East-side Applebee’s to move to Plazzio

WICHITA — Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens soon will offer diners a chance to eat good in a new neighborhood, to borrow from the chain’s slogan.

He’s moving his Rock Road Applebee’s to the Plazzio development at the southeast corner of 13th and Greenwich.

“It probably won’t be till March of next year,” Stevens says.

“I kind of hate to close,” he says of the Applebee’s near 21st and Rock Road. “It’s still one of my better stores.”

With new car dealerships on a couple of corners of 13th and Greenwich, and restaurants, the Warren Theatre and the Alley already at Plazzio, Stevens says it “just seemed like … the right place to go.”

“There’s just so much development taking place out there,” he says.

“The whole intersection is really, really developing quickly,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

She says that “13th and Greenwich is the next 21st and Rock Road of east Wichita.”

Stevens will build the new Applebee’s between Sumo and Jose Pepper’s, which is at the light at the main entrance to the development.

The new Applebee’s will have a patio, which is a first for Stevens.

He had considered another concept – which he’s still thinking about – for the Plazzio space initially. Stevens says corporate wanted him to build a new Applebee’s prototype, though.

“They have some different things they’ve done to the bar and the inside area.”

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Sasnak Management considers potential new concept in addition to Carlos O’Kelly’s and Applebee’s

UPDATED — Sasnak Management has operated a number of concepts through the years — including current brands Carlos O’Kelly’s and Applebee’s — and now the company is considering one more.

“I would say we are continuing a conversation that we’ve had for years,” says Jon Rolph, Sasnak president.

He says there’s nothing even close to firm yet.

“We’re maybe having that conversation more seriously than in years past.”

Sasnak has 39 Carlos O’Kelly’s restaurants and 25 Applebee’s franchises in Iowa.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve done something new,” Rolph says.

He says the company has considered franchises through the years.

“We even took a run at buying a concept that we could franchise out a few years ago,” Rolph says.

“What really has our interest these days is to develop something we could grow internally and have control over.”

Rolph says with the experience and knowledge within Sasnak, that makes sense.

He says the company is “exploring it a little more intentionally.”

“Who knows where it will lead?”

Curly’s American Diner to open in former Burger House space at Harry and Webb

WICHITA — A new restaurant is opening in the former Burger House space at Harry and Webb.

David Rohr and two partners, Carlos Magana and Stephen Joseph, are opening Curly’s American Diner on May 13.

“It’s just kind of an opportunity, and I said, ‘Sure, why not?’” says Rohr, who used to manage the Applebee’s near 47th and Broadway.

Curly’s is named after Magana’s nickname.

“It just kind of fit,” Rohr says.

The menu will include lots of comfort food, such as chicken fried chicken and steak, meatloaf and pot roast along with burgers and sandwiches.

There will be seating for about 100, and there will be a new banquet room that seats about 40.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Rohr says he’s working on a liquor license.

“We are planning on that eventually.”

Slawson Cos. works to lift restriction on small part of NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Slawson Cos. is working to lift a zoning restriction on a lot at its NewMarket Square development at 21st and Maize.

The restriction won’t allow a drive-through on the lot next to where Jimmy John’s is opening by Applebee’s on 21st Street just west of Maize Road.

“That really was the catalyst for getting this restriction lifted,” says April Reed, a commercial broker with Slawson.

“Jimmy’s will have a drive-through,” Reed says. “Their lot wasn’t restricted.”

She says the best use of the restricted lot would be another quick-service style restaurant with a possible drive-through.

It would expand the potential businesses that could open there.

We’ll let you know what happens.

 

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches coming to 21st and Maize Road area

WICHITA — At long last, the west side is getting its own Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches restaurant.

“We wish we had a location on the west open two years ago,” says franchisee Matt Brane.

He’s president of Bushwood Investments, a partnership of three Wichitans who own 29 Jimmy John’s restaurants in Kansas and Texas.

So far, the group has three Jimmy John’s here, including two North Rock Road sites and one just north of Central and Hillside.

Now, the group has a contract on space next to Applebee’s on 21st Street just west of Maize Road. The deal hasn’t closed yet, but it’s expected to soon, and the new restaurant should be open by late spring.

Finding west-side space has been a challenge, Brane says, but not due to a lack of space.

“There’s tons of in-line space available on the west side,” he says. “We’re selective about where we go.”

Brane says, “Our mission is to develop Class A real estate with freestanding drive-through locations. Those are more difficult to find.”

The Central and Hillside Jimmy John’s and the one at 340 N. Rock Road have drive-throughs. The one at 3300 N. Rock Road does not.

Brane says his group is looking for another west-side site for a second restaurant there along with one downtown. Nothing is close yet.

The west-side Jimmy John’s site isn’t the only real estate deal Bushwood Investments has been working on.

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