Wink Hartman Sr. plans new restaurant for former Bella Donna space

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. is contemplating putting a new restaurant concept in his former Bella Donna space, which sits back from Webb Road just south of 21st Street.

“I will not deny that,” Hartman says.

“We’re working on the concept. It’s one of those things I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a typical Wink Hartman deal.”

So, you don’t know what you’re doing. Sure you want to say that in print?

“I don’t care. I’m not running for office anymore.”

And it’s not like the former congressional candidate is saying it will be an amateur attempt.

“Whatever it’s going to be, it’ll be the best.”

He says it won’t compete with his Chester’s Chophouse at the Waterfront.

“Chester’s is the best restaurant in the Midwest.”

Garozzo’s Ristorante was the first restaurant in the space and was open from 2003 to 2007.

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You don’t say

“It’s complicated.”

— The Candle Club’s Louis Thompson, who doesn’t want to talk about possible plans for moving the longtime Wichita institution to the former Bella Donna space or other potential sites

DK Kitchen is closed after not quite five months

WICHITA — After not quite five months in business, DK Kitchen has closed.

Owner Douglas “D.J.” Pitts says he “just couldn’t sustain a business as far as customer traffic goes.”

He says he needed only 30 or 40 diners a day, and with thousands of downtown workers he didn’t think that would be a problem.

Pitts doesn’t blame the location at 217 E. Douglas even though several other restaurants also have failed there.

“If I had more money to open a restaurant . . . obviously there probably are better locations.”

Pitts had 626 Douglas at 626 E. Douglas downtown in 2004 for about a year.

He also was the chef for a while at the now-closed Bella Donna.

Pitts isn’t sure what he’ll do next.

“I’m just kind of taking a step back,” he says.

He’s still committed to food, though.

“It is what I do.

Douglas Pitts says reopening his own place was a natural

WICHITA — Douglas “D.J.” Pitts wasn’t available to comment Friday afternoon when Have You Heard? reported that he would open DK Kitchen at 217 E. Douglas today.

But he’s happy to talk about why he’s opening another place.

“Honestly, it’s what I do,” Pitts says.

He opened 626 Douglas downtown in 2004. It lasted for about a year.

Pitts also was the chef for a while at the now-closed Bella Donna.

Opening his own place again was natural, he says.

“It’s not simply a vocation or a profession to me.”

Pitts says he thinks he has something to contribute to Wichita in a culinary sense.

“The flavor profiles are a little different from what I’ve seen in the market,” he says.

His new restaurant (named for his and his wife Kelly’s first initials) will be more casual than 626 Douglas, with mostly soups, salads and sandwiches. He says the spirit is the same, though.

“It’s the same food philosophy and the same execution.”