You don’t say

“I’ll be honest: I don’t know.”

– A pleased-and-curious Brad Steven when asked how Mike’s Wine Dive wound up as one of OpenTable’s top 100 restaurants nationwide for notable wine lists

The Hill Bar and Grill is still on track for late April or early May opening

WICHITA — Some passersby are wondering about the Hill Bar and Grill at Douglas and Oliver.

“We’ve been at a standstill for, like, a week and a half,” says Brent Steven, who is opening the business with his brother, Brad.

Brent Steven says there was a permitting issue related to a mezzanine they won’t be using. He says it’s something the owners of the building have been working on, and it isn’t an issue for the business.

“We’re not too off track,” he says.

Steven expects plumbing and drywall work to start shortly. He says the Hill still should open by late April or early May.

“Once we get going, it’s going to go real fast.”

Steven brothers plan public meeting on their new Hill Bar and Grill

WICHITA — As owners of Mike’s Wine Dive and Club Indigo, Brad and Brent Steven are already two of the most recognizable restaurateurs in Wichita.

For those who don’t know them, though, or for those who are worried about the new Hill Bar and Grill they have planned for the former Barrier’s space, the Stevens are holding a meeting there on Dec. 21.

“We really just wanted to meet with everyone and find out what their concerns are,” Brad Steven says.

He says the idea is to introduce themselves and their concept.

Some residents in the area worried about the Hill’s planned 2 a.m. closing time. Others have traffic and parking concerns.

The brothers already have proper zoning for the Hill, but they’re seeking some extra parking nearby where the owners of the building are going to raze a duplex. That area needs rezoned.

The meeting is at 4 p.m. in the building where the Hill will locate at the northeast corner of Douglas and Oliver.

Brad Steven says the idea is to meet, share plans, ease concerns and hopefully “keep everybody happy.”

District Advisory Board votes in favor of extra parking for the Hill Bar and Grill

WICHITA — The issue of whether developers can get extra parking for a bar and grill in the former Barrier’s space is heading to City Council.

A District Advisory Board considered the issue Monday with a packed audience in attendance. Many of the 70 or so people who were there are opposed to the 2 a.m. closing time brothers Brad and Brent Steven want for their new Hill Bar and Grill.

The board voted 8 to 1 in favor of allowing building owners Christian Ablah and W.G. Farha to raze a duplex near the building for more parking.

City Council likely will consider the issue early in the new year.

Mike’s Wine Dive owners to open the Hill Bar and Grill in the former Barrier’s space

Brothers Brent (left) and Brad Steven in front of the former Barrier’s building at Douglas and Oliver, which they’re going to transform into the Hill Bar and Grill.

WICHITA — As some residents of Crown Heights are organizing a group to protest a bar and grill going in the former Barrier’s space at Douglas and Oliver, the restaurateurs hoping to open it are ready to share details.

Mike’s Wine Dive owners Brent and Brad Steven plan to open the Hill Bar and Grill — named for the hill in College Hill — in 5,100 square feet of the building in March.

Mike’s is in the center at the northwest corner of the intersection. The Hill will be on the northeast corner.

Though Brad Steven says the Hill will be a great place to catch a game, he says, “It’s not going to be a sports bar.”

“Our focus will be a wide selection of craft beers as well as American food,” he says. “Basically, we’re going to be specializing in beers the way we specialize in wine at Mike’s.”

There will be 25 beers on tap and craft beers from around the world.

Brent Steven describes it as “kind of like an ale house.”

He says the idea is “a place that’s totally different than Mike’s.”

Where Mike’s is more fine dining, he says, he and his brother envision the Hill as “more of a hangout spot.”

“It will appeal to a wider audience than Mike’s does.”

There will be seating for about 150 customers.

There will be an outside patio facing Douglas that is within the front of the building and will serve as an area for smoking. There will be another patio that wraps around the east side of the building.

There will be another 2,400 square feet left in the building for another business.

The Hill’s hours aren’t set yet, but the Stevens are thinking 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. most days and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekends.

The hours are a key issue for some residents.

“You can go on the news and see all the time what happens in Old Town at 2 a.m.,” says Melinda Foley, who is president of the Crown Heights Neighborhood Association.

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Steven brothers and VinZant settle lawsuit over Mike’s Wine Dive

UPDATED — Brad and Brent Steven are now the sole owners of Mike’s Wine Dive.

Earlier this month, Have You Heard? reported that the brothers sued longtime friend and Mike’s co-founder Whitney VinZant and several other people associated with the almost 2-year-old business near Douglas and Oliver.

“We all agree that the restaurant doesn’t work with all these cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, so we need to part ways,” Brad Steven said at the time. “Either he takes full ownership or we take full ownership, and the lawsuit is to figure that out.”

The parties reached an agreement today.

“We’ve resolved it amicably,” says Joe Cassell, the Stevens’ lawyer and stepfather.

There were differences in how the brothers and VinZant wanted to run the College Hill restaurant, and there were disputes over who owned how much of the business.

The brothers have been gone from the restaurant for several weeks but are now back.

“We’re taking over the company,” Cassell says. “One hundred percent of it.”

 

Brothers Brad and Brent Steven sue Mike’s Wine Dive co-owner Whitney VinZant

WICHITA — The relationship among the partners of Mike’s Wine Dive has, to put it in the parlance of the College Hill bar and restaurant, taken a dive.

Brothers Brad and Brent Steven are suing co-founder Whitney VinZant and several other people associated with the almost 2-year-old business near Douglas and Hillside.

“We all agree that the restaurant doesn’t work with all these cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, so we need to part ways,” Brad Steven says. “Either he takes full ownership or we take full ownership, and the lawsuit is to figure that out.”

The three have been friends since high school.

VinZant, who also now owns Gaslamp Grille & Lounge, had previous restaurant experience with Old Chicago and Jimmy’s Egg. The Steven brothers have bar experience through Club Indigo, which they still own, and Backstage Bar and Grill.

The three opened Mike’s Wine Dive in spring 2010. There’s a dispute over who owned what percentage when the business opened and who owns what now.

“There’s too many operating agreements,” Brad Steven says. “Everything is screwed up.”

VinZant says the brothers have a “disregard for the changes we tried to make.”

“We tried to put in place, you know, a more robust inventory management system,” VinZant says. “I’m not going to speculate as to why or how, because frankly I don’t know, but I do know that our costs on both food and beverage costs were really high. We weren’t running the profitability levels that we should be running there.”

The Steven brothers have been gone from the restaurant for a couple of weeks. VinZant says they’d like to buy him out, but he doesn’t want to sell.

“He never really is in town, so I’m not really sure who’s operating the restaurant,” Brad Steven says.

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Mike’s Wine Dive joins Chester’s Chophouse in receiving Wine Spectator award

WICHITA — Mike’s Wine Dive has joined an exclusive club.

It has received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.

In the last few years, Chester’s Chophouse — which also won the award — has been the only Wichita restaurant to have the distinction.

A number of factors, such as the depth of a restaurant’s wine list, determine selection.

This is the first year for Mike’s, which opened in April 2010, to vie for the award.

“We were just getting going (last year) so it wasn’t something that I was ready to do yet,” says Brad Steven, Mike’s co-owner and wine director.

He’s already thinking about next year because he wants to increase his rating.

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