You don’t say

“The intent is to start building soon.”

Mike Boyd, who says Chick-fil-A is now accepting bids from contractors to build one of its restaurants at property he co-owns at Central and Rock

You don’t say

“can i picket with a chick fil a sandwich in my mouth?”

— A tweet from Chick-fil-A fan Seymour Mitchell (@seymitch) in response to Twitter talk Tuesday about people picketing the company because of its support of an anti-gay organization

Chick-fil-A signs lease for Central and Rock

WICHITA — Rest easy, Chick-fil-A fans.

Chick-fil-A has — finally — signed a lease for a freestanding restaurant on the northwest corner of Central and Rock.

“We got the deal done,” says Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos.

Boyd handled the deal with Jeff Berg of Lane 4 Property Group in Kansas City.

Have You Heard? first reported the restaurant was a possibility in May.

There have been updates since then, including confirmation from the Atlanta-based company that it was interested in the space.

More recently, there was updated information that the owner of the property was working with the planning department to enlarge the parcel where the restaurant will go.

The former Presto gas station on the property will be demolished to make room for a new building that will feature two drive-through lanes.

It still will be a while before the restaurant is ready. It could be early 2012 before it happens.

It will, though, happen.

Planning commission to consider expansion at future Chick-fil-A site

WICHITA — For those of you who are concerned that Chick-fil-A isn’t actually coming to Central and Rock, here’s proof that it’s in the works.

The owner of the property at the northwest corner of the intersection is working with the planning department to enlarge the parcel where a Presto gas station used to be. If approved, this will allow for a drive-through lane or lanes.

The item is coming before the planning commission on Jan. 6.

A Chick-fil-A representative has previously confirmed for Have You Heard? that the chain is coming to that corner, though it may not be until late 2011 or early 2012.

With this planning agenda item, perhaps it’s an indication that the deal may happen sooner rather than later.

Chick-fil-A fans can hope, anyway.

Chick-fil-A: Yes it’s still coming, but not anytime soon

WICHITA — First, the good news.

Chick-fil-A is still on course to open at Central and Rock, among other Wichita sites.

Now, the bad news.

It won’t be until at least late 2011 or early 2012.

“The confirmation is that we are indeed very committed to the location and to the market to get in there,” says Don Perry, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based company.

“The timing was always next year,” he says. “We haven’t even dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.”

In May, Have You Heard? first reported Chick-fil-A was negotiating for space at the northwest corner of Central and Rock where a Presto gas station had been.

Perry says it’s not uncommon for Chick-fil-A to acquire land for a restaurant and not build for a year or two or even three.

“It kind of confuses the public,” he says.

In this case, the deal isn’t even done yet, though Perry thinks the restaurant will open in early 2012 at the very latest.

So why does it take so long? That’s just the due diligence process, Perry says.

“Sometimes this is just kind of hard for people to comprehend.”

He says the bottom line, though, is “definitely we are committed to the market. We’ll be in there as soon as we can.”

On the Town with Carrie, Denise and you

Food. Friends. Fun.

They’re all on the menu Tuesday night at Oeno as my dining colleague Denise Neil and I host our first “On the Town with Carrie and Denise,” a culinary cocktail adventure if you will.

The plan is to gather on the patio at Oeno in Old Town Square at 5:30, eat some free appys, perhaps drink our signature ICTini and talk food.

There will be a formal Q&A where Denise and I answer restaurant-related questions (or, heck, most anything else you’d like to ask).

We’ll tackle some of the standard questions (When is that Chick-fil-A coming to Central and Rock?) and some unexpected ones (as tough as you care to make them).

Which is where you come in. Please join us and fellow Wichita foodies. It’ll be relaxed and casual and hopefully the start of a fun new tradition.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries is days away from signing for east-side space

WICHITA — Next to repeated Chick-fil-A questions — when’s it coming? where? — the next fast food restaurant we hear the most questions about is Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

When is the chain going to add an east-side Wichita location?

Answer: soon.

Franchisee Jeff Miller says he’s just this close to signing a lease.

The Five Guys in front of Lowe’s near 29th North and Maize opened in February.

Sources have reported several east-side sites Miller has eyed.

He reportedly looked at reconfiguring part of the former Ethan Allen space near Central and Rock, but that’s where Mattress Hub is now going.

Comotara Center at 29th North and Rock Road is another reported possibility.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Miller has focused on Rock Road.

So where’s the final spot?

Miller will tell us within days.

You don’t say

“The good news is we’re still anxiously working to get the locations there as we indicated earlier.”

Chick-fil-A’s Don Perry, who doesn’t have a done deal to announce at Central and Rock yet but says the company is still looking there and elsewhere in Wichita

Chick-fil-A management responds

WICHITA — No one with Chick-fil-A could be reached for comment Monday regarding what’s likely to be the chain’s first freestanding restaurant in Wichita.

Today, though, Don Perry, vice president of corporate public relations for the Atlanta chain, elaborated a bit on the company’s plans.

“The good news is that our intent is to come,” Perry says.

He won’t confirm that there’s an almost-done deal at Central and Rock.

“It is among a couple, but . . . we try not to get ahead of the process (or) start talking about locations that are under negotiation because it gets all kinds of crazy,” Perry says. “Any day now we’re going to be able to give a confirmation.”

In normal years, the company adds about 75 new restaurant sites. That’s down to about 65 in the current economy.

“What happens (is) that doesn’t allow us to do a lot in a single market,” Perry says.

Read More »

Chick-fil-A likely to come to Central and Rock

WICHITA — Wichita Chick-fil-A fanatics, you asked and you shall receive.

The Atlanta-based fast food chain is in final negotiations to bring a freestanding Chick-fil-A to the northwest corner of Central and Rock where a Presto gas station has been.

The deal basically is all but signed. Presto’s last day in business was Saturday.

Chick-fil-A has space in the Rhatigan Student Center at Wichita State University, but Wichitans have long requested that it bring at least one if not more of the restaurants somewhere off campus.

Commercial broker and Chick-fil-A die-hard Cory Harkleroad started a one-man campaign to bring more of the restaurants to Wichita and has a Facebook page to promote the idea. The page has more than 8,000 friends.

“While it’s not my deal, I’m excited (about) any hand I might have had in getting them motivated to move forward in this area,” Harkleroad says. “I’m really excited to go pick up a chicken sandwich in their drive-through.”

No one with Chick-fil-A could be reached for comment, but it looks like the chain plans more than one restaurant in addition to the WSU location.

The deal at Central and Rock isn’t contingent on other locations.

We’ll keep you posted.