Bocconcini Italian Eatery and Bocco Deli to reopen this week after temporary hiatus

WICHITA — Nathan Toubia’s Bocconcini Italian Eatery and Bocco Deli have been closed since late last week, but he expects them to reopen by Wednesday or Thursday.

He says there are several reasons behind the temporary shutdowns.

“Mostly it was just catching up on paperwork, and I had the opportunity to get out of town,” Toubia says.

He says he couldn’t leave the businesses in the hands of staff.

“I lost a couple of cooks — a couple of key employees.”

Toubia says he handled a personal matter that needed his attention and then was able to take a good trip with his children to see family. He says he hasn’t had the opportunity to do that since opening Bocconcini a couple of years ago.

You don’t say

“I create them. I don’t follow them.”

Bocconcini Italian Eatery and Bocco Deli Chef Nathan Toubia, who admits he has a hard time following recipes

Italian Bistro to open in former Restaurant 155 space at First and Market

WICHITA — A third new Italian restaurant is coming to Wichita.

Kas Zendeli, who owns Bravo’s Italiani in Valley Center, is opening Italian Bistro in the former Restaurant 155 space in the Market Centre downtown at First and Market.

This follows news from Melad Stephan, who is opening Luca Italian Kitchen in his former Uptown Bistro space in Old Town Square later this month.

Bocco Deli owner Nathan Toubia, who used to work for Lidia’s in Kansas City, also is opening an Italian restaurant. His as-of-yet-unnamed business is coming soon to the former Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe space near Central and Oliver.

Zendeli, who is Albanian, plans a traditional Italian menu for his new restaurant. He’s keeping his Valley Center restaurant, too.

Is he a glutton for punishment having two restaurants in two cities?

“Every business is punishment,” Zendeli says. “Since 1969 I’m in this punishment.”

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Nathan Toubia to open Italian restaurant in former Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe

WICHITA — Bocco Deli owner Nathan Toubia confirms what Have You Heard? reported last week:

He’s opening a second restaurant in July in the former Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe space near Central and Oliver.

The concept will be different than Bocco Deli, which sells soup, sandwiches and salads.

The new place will be Italian.

“This will be more full-scale pasta dishes,” Toubia says. “A lot of the dishes that I did . . . when I worked at Lidia’s in Kansas City.”

There will be fresh pasta, cannelloni and steak.

“Everything Italian.”

The new restaurant is as of yet unnamed.

“I’m not fully committed on the name,” Toubia says. “It’s a big decision.”

Bocco Deli will remain open as well with shorter hours. The new hours, which are effective now, will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Toubia is remodeling the former Sugar Sisters space, which had a pink-and-brown color scheme and a large counter along the south wall.

He’s altering the counter area to create more seating. Currently, there are about 50 seats in the restaurant. When Toubia is through remodeling, there will be about 60.

He’s opening the kitchen area as well, and there will be a window where diners can see into the kitchen.

Toubia is a tad coy when asked about other future restaurants.

Will this be it?

“For now, yes.”

So does that mean perhaps he’d like a restaurant empire similar to his late father Antoine’s?

“Well, yeah,” Toubia says. “I think that’s what I was meant to do, so we’ll see where it takes me.”

Nathan Toubia is working on a second restaurant deal

WICHITA — It looks like Bocco Deli owner Nathan Toubia, son of the late restaurateur Antoine Toubia, is working on opening a second restaurant.

He opened Bocco Deli in the former Zoomdweebie’s Tea Bar space at 3010 E. Central in November.

His new restaurant — if the deal comes together — would be in the former Sugar Sisters Bakery & Cafe space.

Sugar Sisters closed its 3-year-old restaurant in January.

There’s no official word yet, but it sounds like Toubia might open a new concept — not another Bocco Deli — and a bar.

Look for news on a possible deal within a week or so.

Nathan Toubia opens Bocco Deli in former Zoomdweebie’s Tea Bar space

nathanUPDATED — Another Toubia has opened a restaurant. This time, it’s Nathan Toubia, son of the late restaurateur Antoine Toubia.

Last year, Nathan Toubia opened a catering business called Bocconcini, which means small mouthfuls in Italian, with an eye toward opening a restaurant.

Now, after a whirlwind last week or two, he has.

Bocco Deli opened Monday in the former Zoomdweebie’s Tea Bar space at 3010 E. Central.

“I had to flip this thing so fast,” Toubia says. “I just kind of fell into this spot.”

The 1,100-square-foot space can seat 36. It will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Instead of the catering he’d been doing, Toubia will focus on box lunches and party trays, particularly for nearby Wesley Medical Center and doctors’ offices.

Toubia will serve soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta, “all with kind of an Italian twist.”

He’ll make his own focaccia and flatbread.

The Toubia family is Lebanese — Antoine Toubia came from Lebanon and opened a number of successful restaurants here — but Nathan Toubia is more interested in Italian cooking.

He worked for Lidia’s in Kansas City while going to culinary school.

“I’ve kind of learned the Italian food, and that’s what I like to do.”

So what would his father think?

“I think he would like it. It’s definitely a good start.”