New counseling practice opens at Clifton Square, two new restaurants may follow

WICHITA — There’s lots of activity at Clifton Square at 3700 E. Douglas near College Hill.

Two new restaurants may be coming to the development.

Former Cibola owner Kevin Brown is looking at possibly doing something in the former John Browns space. If it happens, the business likely would be more of a bar that also serves sandwiches and burgers.

Just down from there, a couple is considering opening a restaurant in the former Victoria’s Tea Room.

We’ll keep you posted on both possible deals.

Counselor Holly Beckman-Filbert has a done deal for Clifton Square space for her Life in Relation Therapy.

“I specialize in couples, but I also see individuals and families as well,” she says. “I’m especially wanting to focus on the LGBT population. … I’ve noticed a need.”

Beckman-Filbert says “the more conservative philosophy here” means some lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals might not have the options they need for counseling.

Also, Beckman-Filbert says Wichita seems to have a lot of Christian-based counselors. Even though they don’t necessarily counsel through Christianity, she says, “it still limits people’s feeling of safety in the counseling process.”

On the town at the new Newport Grill

I’ve done a little reconnaissance and can report there are a number of good reasons to visit the new Newport Grill at Bradley Fair tonight.

First, it will be fun to see the space, which has been transformed from the former Cibola restaurant. Cibola had a darker, clubbier feel, while Newport has a lighter atmosphere with a cool blue bar.

And I can sum up the food in one word: Yum. There are a lot of nonseafood options along with traditional and inventive seafood fare.

You’ll have a chance to sample a number of dishes at our On the Town With Carrie and Denise event tonight. It’s a cocktail mixer that, with your suggested $10 donation, will benefit the Kansas Food Bank.

It’s from 5 p.m. to 7, though I’m sure that will stretch a little later. Hope you’ll stop by.

YiaYia’s EuroBistro owners to open Newport Grill in former Cibola space at Bradley Fair

guysBill Crooks (left) and Paul Khoury, owners of Newport Grill, which is coming to Bradley Fair.

WICHITA — There have been a lot of questions, not to mention much speculation, about what’s going to go in the former Cibola space — Bradley Fair’s preeminent waterfront property that’s been empty since early 2009.

Now, there’s an answer:

Newport Grill, a new seafood concept created by PB&J Restaurants, the Kansas City firm that owns YiaYia’s EuroBistro, which also is at Bradley Fair.

“We were going to take our time and absolutely do it right,” developer George Laham says of finding a new restaurant for the space.

He almost immediately turned to PB&J’s Paul Khoury and Bill Crooks, who have developed menus for 27 restaurants.

“We just looked at the market,” Khoury says.

He says there are plenty of great steak houses and other restaurants here.

Although Bonefish Grill opened in 2006, Khoury says they still saw an opening for another seafood restaurant.

“Bonefish does a great job, don’t get me wrong,” he says.

Newport Grill will fly fish in six days a week, sometimes from as far away as the Mediterranean.

“When you walk through Newport Grill, you won’t be able to smell fish,” Khoury says. “That’s how fresh it will be.”

Where YiaYia’s ticket prices are about $25 or $26 a person, Newport’s will be more like $30 to $32 a person due to the cost of fish.

“We’re going to have an attitude about not using fish that is over harvested,” Crooks says.

Newport Grill executive chef and owner Aaron Whitcomb, who has been working at YaYa’s EuroBistro in Denver, says he wants to redefine some traditional seafood dishes.

There will be nonseafood items on the menu as well.

Crooks says there will be an emphasis on using locally grown produce and naturally fed and sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken. Lamb also will be served.

There will be 190 seats at Newport Grill, which is about 40 more than Cibola had.

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You don’t say

Cibola is the busiest closed restaurant around.”

— One person’s comment after seeing that the Andover Rotary (in addition to Yia Yia’s before that) is using the empty space at Bradley Fair for a fund-raiser

Former Cibola owners are thinking about a new restaurant

Former Cibola owners Kevin Brown and Tracy Fahrbach are contemplating a new restaurant, but they’re only in the initial stages of thinking about it.

“I get calls every day (from) people wanting me to do something,” Brown says.

“We haven’t made any decision on anything right now,” he says. “We’re just not ready.”

Part of the reason is the economy.

“Anybody who does anything right now is nuts,” Brown says. “It’s still horrible right now. It’s not a good climate for new business.”

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