You don’t say

“We are going for the Industrial look.”

— An e-mail from Ben Arnold of Corporate Caterers of Wichita on what he tells people taking tours of the future (and far from being ready to open Oct. 17) A.V.I. restaurant at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview

You don’t say

“We are still trying to convince him to change his name to ‘Jeremy Wade.’ ”

— An e-mail from Ben Arnold on Adam Courtney taking over as food and beverage director of A.V.I. and Corporate Caterers of Wichita and executive chef of Culinary Catering (formerly known as Jeremy Wade Catering)

Jeremy Wade is Hartman’s new chef; Ben Arnold is searching for Wade’s replacements

WICHITA — Jeremy Wade is going to be Wink Hartman Sr.’s executive chef when he opens a new east-side restaurant, so that means he’s out of A.V.I., the new restaurant coming to the Drury Plaza Broadview, and Jeremy Wade Catering.

“I don’t blame him one bit,” says Ben Arnold, Wade’s former partner in the two ventures.

Wade didn’t return a call for comment, but Arnold says the two have discussed the situation and his decision to leave A.V.I.

“The restaurant is not going to be a limelight restaurant like he wants, honestly,” Arnold says.

People who are already downtown or are coming to events downtown might stop by, Arnold says, but it won’t be a destination restaurant for Wichitans.

“That’s not going to be a place where everybody on the far east or far west side says, ‘Let’s go eat.’ He wanted to be somewhere more glamorous.”

Hartman’s east-side space, Arnold says, “is a home run compared to downtown.”

“It was a question of, ‘Do I live a secluded life of being downtown in a hotel restaurant?’ ”

Arnold, who also has Corporate Caterers of Wichita, is now searching for a new chef for A.V.I., which will open in late September.

He also needs a chef for his more upscale catering company that had been named for Wade.

It’s now called Culinary Catering.

In an e-mail, Arnold joked about keeping the name the same.

“I am looking for another chef named Jeremy Wade so I do not have to reprint the menus or re-logo the truck.”

A.V.I. is the historical name for the new restaurant at the Broadview

WICHITA — Ben Arnold and Jeremy Wade have a new name for their restaurant coming to the renovated Broadview. Actually, it’s initials.


That may sound like a trendy West Coast spot, but the name has its roots in something from the Broadview property that existed even before the hotel did.

A.V.I. stands for Arkansas Valley Interurban, which was a freight system that carried people — particularly farmers — too.

“We just did a little research on exactly what the hotel was about,” Arnold says.

He learned that Arkansas Valley Interurban gave $100,000 to the hotel’s construction in 1921 and that the hotel never would have existed without the railway.

The hotel opened in 1922. The A.V.I. Freight System sign and entrance to the depot can still be seen along Waco near where the restaurant will open, which will be in late May or early June when the hotel’s renovation is complete.

Arnold and Wade liked the Arkansas Valley Interurban name.

“The name was too long, obviously,” Arnold says. Not to mention he has trouble saying Arkansas, which he pronounces like the state.

“Excuse me, Ar-Kansas,” he says, correcting himself. “I’m an old Texas boy, so I’ve got to get used to that.”

Arnold says he and Wade thought about calling the restaurant the Freight Station but decided on A.V.I. instead.

“It’s cool sounding.”

You don’t say

“Unfortunately, we are nice to our patties and do not smash them, so I could not use their services.”

Ben Arnold of Corporate Caterers of Wichita, who was contacted by some former corporate Smashburger employees looking for work

Ben Arnold’s Corporate Caterers of Wichita to open Cafe 151 at Cargill headquarters

WICHITA — Ben Arnold confirms what Have You Heard? reported last week: He’s taking over the restaurant operation at Cargill’s Wichita headquarters where Piccadilly Express used to be.

Which leaves one big question for the guy who has already taken on new headquarters for his Corporate Caterers of Wichita and struck a deal to do the restaurant and catering at the Broadview Hotel and still has his catering space at Douglas and West:

Is he a crazy man?

“It’s not as big as it seems,” Arnold says of taking on one more thing.

The new restaurant will open in mid-November or early December.

It will be called Cafe 151 for its address at 151 N. Main.

The cafe will be open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for breakfast and lunch.

All breakfasts will be $4 or under, and all lunches will be $6 or under.

Arnold says his agreement with Cargill will allow him to serve food at reasonable prices.

“It’s a two-way street,” he says.

“I have a long-term relationship with Cargill. I’ve been catering for them for the last 10 years. They know me very well.”

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Ben Arnold of Corporate Caterers of Wichita may take over Cargill restaurant space

WICHITA — It’s really hard to believe, but Ben Arnold may be taking on another venture.

The owner of Corporate Caterers of Wichita has taken on a lot in the last year, such as expanding the space at his Douglas and West headquarters, leasing a large, new space at Comotara Center and signing a deal with the Broadview Hotel.

Now, Arnold may be Cargill’s top choice to take over the restaurant space at the company’s Wichita headquarters at 151 N. Main.

“I am very interested in the space, and would love the opportunity,” Arnold says.

“I have not signed a contract on the space, so to confirm this information would be premature.”

Piccadilly Express had been operating at the building for 13 years but last month was told it didn’t make the cut in Cargill’s decision about future food services.

The restaurant closed immediately.

Look for news on Arnold’s possible deal soon.

Jeremy Wade plans ‘new American’ dining for remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel restaurant

WICHITA — Jeremy Wade is kicking off his Jeremy Wade Catering with a party tonight where he and business partner Ben Arnold of Corporate Catering of Wichita will discuss their catering businesses and the restaurant they plan for the remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel restaurant.

The restaurant will have 286 seats over two floors. The upper floor will have a bar overlooking the restaurant, which is scheduled to open in spring 2011.

Wade says he’ll offer “new American food,” which he describes as iconic American food made really, really well.

“It’s not going to be anything pretentious or frou frou,” Wade says.

He’s opting for an American menu rather than a Mediterranean or European menu because he feels those have been “played out” in Wichita.

“There’s not really a good American restaurant around except for Chester’s,” Wade says.

He plans to specialize with as much local produce and protein as he can.

Arnold says the “Drury people have just been fabulous through this whole thing,” but the restaurant will be independent of the hotel.

The restaurant will be situated on the northeast corner of the hotel on the Waco side, and Arnold says it won’t feel like a hotel restaurant.

“The restaurant is going to be a Wichitan restaurant first,” he says. “That’s where Jeremy comes in because of how well he is known.”

Wade hasn’t settled on a name yet.

Arnold would like to capitalize on Wade’s own well-known name by doing something like Jeremy Wade’s American Bistro.

“No, no, no,” Wade says. “I’m not that guy.”

He’s open to suggestions, though.

“Maybe we should have a contest.”

Jeremy Wade starts Jeremy Wade Catering and partners with Corporate Caterers of Wichita

1031econ_br2WICHITA — Chef Jeremy Wade has left Yia Yia’s Eurobistro to start Jeremy Wade Catering and join forces with Corporate Caterers of Wichita owner Ben Arnold.

The two will be owners in both companies.

“It’s a project I’ve chased for almost two years,” Arnold says of working with another caterer.

He started talking to Wade a year and a half ago.

“There’s a really, really strong need for a catering company with a very independent and strong culinary background,” Arnold says.

By independent, he means one not tied to a restaurant.

“Catering is always a side job to them,” he says.

Arnold says high-end restaurants call him looking for catering help.

“Wichita has a real need for upscale catering,” Wade says.

Read More »

Corporate Caterers of Wichita owner likely to take over Broadview Hotel restaurant

WICHITA — Drury Southwest is moving ahead with its major overhaul of the Broadview Hotel, which includes reconfiguring its restaurant space and finding an outside entity to run it.

There’s not a final deal yet, but it looks like Ben Arnold of Corporate Caterers of Wichita will be the new restaurant operator and handle catering for the banquet room.

Arnold also recently took over the former Olive Tree Bistro banquet space near 29th and Rock.

A well-known Wichita chef is likely to run the restaurant for Arnold.

Arnold isn’t commenting, and Broadview general manager Scott Ragatz will say only that Drury is still in negotiations for the space.

The new two-story restaurant will be near First and Waco. The front of the hotel will face the river by the time renovations are complete.

“We’re excited about the new plan,” Ragatz says. “We’ve waited a long time for the proper ownership to come in and have the wherewithal and the imagination to put a project like this together.”