Blue Moon Caterers to move to former Two Brothers BBQ and Burger Grill space on west Central and open event center

WICHITA — Last month, Have You Heard? reported Bill Rowe was close to finalizing a deal for new space to operate his Blue Moon Caterers.

Late Thursday, he did.

“Blue Moon has a new home,” Rowe says.

He’s leasing the former Two Brothers BBQ and Burger Grill space at 8406 W. Central across from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School.

The 10-year-old Blue Moon has been sharing a kitchen with Rowe’s Red Bean’s Bayou Grill at 7447 W. 21st St.

“It’s kind of goofy what we have to do to make it work,” he says. “It’s so tiny. It’s amazing that our staff can get 2,000 meals out on a Saturday night.”

The new space is about 6,600 square feet, which will be used for catering and event rental space.

“It has a larger kitchen, which is well laid out for our needs,” Rowe says. “We’ve grown dramatically in the last few years.”

He won’t begin moving into the new space until March.

“We’re still on the tail end of wedding season, and the holiday season is coming up, and it’s got its own insanity.”

April is the start of the next wedding season, and Rowe has a few things to do to get the new space ready.

“The timing worked out very nicely,” he says.

Cory Harkleroad of KW Commercial Partners and Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

The banquet room will seat about 275 for a wedding or more if it’s for another event, such as a cocktail party.

The last Friday in March will be the first date the new space is available to rent.

“The architecture lends itself to a Tuscan look,” Rowe says. “It’s a gorgeous building.”

He says it also inspired a name for the space: Villa Luna, which means House of the Moon.

“An obvious homage to Blue Moon.”

Blue Moon Caterers looking for new space

WICHITA — Bill Rowe is looking for new space for his Blue Moon Caterers.

Currently, the 10-year-old company shares a kitchen with his Red Bean’s Bayou Grill site at 7447 W. 21st St., but Rowe says it’s not big enough for both staffs.

“We need a traffic light in our kitchen on Fridays and Saturdays,” he says. “It is insane. We are busy.”

Rowe says that “Blue Moon has grown explosively in the last year and a half.”

“We’re turning away work because we just don’t have the kitchen capacity.”

Rowe says he’d also like to have an events center so he can cater parties and meetings and rent the space, too.

“That would be nice,” he says. “It’s not critical.”

Rowe is close to a deal for west-side space, but it’s not done. Regardless of whether it works out or he needs to look elsewhere, he’d like to finalize something in time to be in new space by April.

“I would like to have us move by next wedding season.”

Bill Rowe faces lawsuit over former Willie C’s Cafe & Bar

WICHITA — Bill Rowe’s 24-year-old Willie C’s Cafe & Bar closed two years ago, but he’s now facing a lawsuit over about $25,000 his creditor says he still owes.

Pramco II LLC is a group of investors who bought the loan Rowe had on the building.

“We signed over all of our fixtures and furniture and equipment to them,” Rowe says.

He thought that would take care of the remainder of what he owed.

“It was worth much more than that.”

Rowe says he didn’t have an agreement with Pramco that the LLC would take the equipment in lieu of payment.

“No, it was just implied,” Rowe says.

“We advised them that they were there . . . and offered to assist, and they just basically ignored it,” he says. “We think their claim is without merit because there’s assets that they let slip away . . . that would have paid off the note.”

Rowe says whatever happens with the lawsuit won’t affect his current businesses, Red Bean’s Bayou Grill & Bar and Blue Moon Caterers.

“They’re really not connected in any way.”

Rowe says his restaurant business is down about 5½ percent, which he says is OK considering the economy.

His catering business is up by about 6 percent.

“We’ve been really aggressive in improving our offerings to the customers.”

If it weren’t for the economy, Rowe says, “Who knows where we’d be?”

Red Bean’s Bayou Grill & Bar repositions to attract diners who don’t want Cajun food

WICHITA — Red Bean’s Bayou Grill & Bar owner Bill Rowe is doing what he can to combat what he calls the “veto vote.”

In the restaurant business, he says, the veto vote is the name for when everyone in a group wants to go to the same place except one person, and they have the power to then veto the restaurant.

“We’re repositioning in an attempt to have the veto vote (be) less of a factor in our business,” Rowe says.

So now, instead of being Red Bean’s Bayou Grill & Bar: A Mostly Cajun Joint, the name is Red Bean’s Bayou Grill & Bar: A Texas-Louisiana Border Joint.

The restaurant has had more than just Cajun food for a while. Previous Red Bean’s owner Richard Waite added Mexican dishes when he closed his Red Mesa Grill.

Rowe says not enough people know the restaurant has other dining options besides Cajun food.

In addition, he says, “There’s a huge misconception about what Cajun food is. . . . There’s a myth that it’s this horrible, hot, spicy stuff.”

Rowe says he’s also adjusted prices and portions, remodeled the patio and added breakfast.

It may not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things, he says, but “it’s a big deal to us.”