New York Times review surprises Minh Hoa Restaurant & Cajun Seafood owner; Wichita surprises restaurant reviewer

UPDATED — Wichitans were surprised to find a New York Times review over the weekend of Minh Hoa Restaurant & Cajun Seafood. No one was more surprised than Sarah Vo, who owns the Wichita restaurant at 1556 N. Broadway.

“Everybody asks me the same question,” Vo says. “Do I have connections?”

She doesn’t, but Bonnie Bing does.

Bing, The Eagle’s recently retired fashion writer, is friends with freelance writer Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, who wrote the review and also is the author of “A Tiger in the Kitchen.”

“I went to Wichita for one reason: Bonnie Bing,” Tan says.

She and Houston Chronicle food editor Greg Morago know Bing from when she used to cover Fashion Week in New York, and for years they said they planned to visit Wichita.

“When I heard she retired this year, I thought this is finally the year,” Tan says.

Bonnie Bing (center) with friends Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Greg Morago.

She spent a week just “to kind of get away from New York” and work on her second book. Tan says it was an especially productive week.

“I guess whenever that book comes out I will have Wichita to thank.”

Tan still had plenty of time to tour and dine around Wichita, and she was impressed.

“This is going to sound probably bizarre,” she says, but, “I loved your grocery stores.” She was floored at how large Thai Binh is and says Wichita has some items New York doesn’t have outside of Chinatown.

Tan thinks the Wichita Art Museum is “just beautiful” and Watermark Books and Cafe, where signed copies of her book are on sale, is “darling” and she’s thrilled to see it thriving. She also enjoyed the Keeper of the Plains, the original Pizza Hut building, Riverside and Delano, where she shot pool at Club Billiards.

Sam Taylor, a poet who teaches English and creative writing at Wichita State University, is a friend of Tan’s and was one of her tour guides. (He also snapped the photo above.)

Tan loves the big sky in Kansas and all the space here, particularly because in New York “I live in a box pretty much.”

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Clark Investment Group to build new 5,500-square-foot office at the Waterfront

WICHITA — There’s a more personal element to the new 4.3 acre development that developers Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are bringing to the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road.

In addition to the new 2-story office building that will be between Andover State Bank and Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar, along with a new restaurant pad site just north of Chester’s, Clark is building a new office for himself.

His Clark Investment Group headquarters currently is in 2,500 square feet near 13th and Rock Road in the Polo Club Office Park, which Clark and Stevens built in 1990.

“We’ve been here a long time,” Clark says. “Our space is not adequate for us these days.”

His new office will be a 5,500-square-foot, single-story building that will be north of where the new 2-story building will be.

“It’ll have a nice patio in the back that kind of runs right up to the lake,” says Clark’s son, Stephen Clark II, who is managing the development of the 4.3 acres.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture designed the building along with the 24,000-square-foot 2-story building.

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Waterfront developers to break ground on 4.3 acre development, including 2-story Class A office space and possible restaurant

WICHITA — Steve Clark and Johnny Stevens are preparing to develop another 4.3 acres at their Waterfront development at 13th and Webb.

The chief part of the project is a 24,000-square-foot, 2-story office building that will be between Andover State Bank and Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar.

“There are some people looking for space right now that want an unusual location,” Clark says. “There are a couple of major tenants.”

Clark’s son, Stephen Clark II, is managing the project, and he says those potential tenants – there are no signed deals yet – are the reason Clark and Stevens are looking to do the office building.

“There is some interest in the market that’s kind of sparked up recently,” Stephen Clark says. “People have been waiting so long to do something because of the economy.”

He says the economy isn’t necessarily that much better, but businesses can’t wait any longer.

“Some people are outgrowing their space or need to upgrade their space,” Stephen Clark says.

He says the existing office space at the Waterfront is full and that there has not been much new Class A office space that’s been built in Wichita in recent years. He says business owners “want a location that’s going to last many years, and I think we’ve established the Waterfront is that kind of location.”

“It costs the same to build the building somewhere else. You’re going to get better long-term residual value in a place like the Waterfront.”

Stephen Clark says the building will have “incredible identity from Webb Road.”

“It’s very visible from Webb Road, but it also enjoys the lake in the rear.”

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