Panda Express to open at Derby Marketplace

WICHITA — Panda Express is going to open a third Wichita-area restaurant, this time in Derby.

The fast casual concept will go in the Derby Marketplace at Meadowlark and Rock Road. Panda will be in 2,350 square feet on the opposite end of the building where Starbucks is.

There’s another 3,200 square feet left to lease in the building.

The California-based Panda entered the Wichita market in 2010 with stores on Maize Road in front of Academy Sports & Outdoors and at One Kellogg Place on East Kellogg.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons represents the chain in the Wichita area.

Panda is similar to Chipotle in that diners walk through a line and first select a starch — steamed or fried rice or chow mein — and vegetables followed by two to three entrees.

Entrees consist of traditional Chinese dishes such as kung pao chicken, sweet-and-sour pork and beef and broccoli.

Look for more details on the Derby Panda as they become available.

Firehouse Subs coming to Wichita, Chick-fil-A likely going to Derby

WICHITA — A new restaurant chain is coming to Wichita, and a much sought-after favorite may be going to Derby.

Firehouse Subs is going to be opening in Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock.

The Florida-based chain has more than 600 restaurants in 35 states and Puerto Rico.

No one with the chain could be reached for comment, but its website says a restaurant is coming soon to that address.

The restaurant will go next to where the KU Store is.

In Derby, Chick-fil-A is working on a restaurant at the Derby Marketplace.

No one with the Atlanta-based chain was immediately available for comment, but representatives of the company have said in the past that they’re interested in Derby.

A Chick-fil-A opened at Central and Rock last year followed by a second one near 21st and Maize Road.

Look for more information about Chick-fil-A and Firehouse Subs soon.

Derby Mattress Hub to move to Derby Marketplace and expand

WICHITA — The Derby Mattress Hub is moving to the Derby Marketplace at North Rock Road and Tall Tree Road.

“We just think the growth of Derby is fantastic,” says Ryan Baty, who founded the Wichita company with Mark Barrientos in 2008. “There’s a lot of retail opportunities out of that new development.”

The current store, which licensee Sharon Kinney calls an outlet store, is at 105 S. Baltimore Ave.

The new store, which will open by Memorial Day, will be in 4,000 square feet in front of Target in the same center where Capitol Federal and Cox Communications are.

Kinney likely will still be involved with the new Mattress Hub, but it will now be a corporate store.

“Our goal is we really want to maximize … the mattress business in Derby,” Baty says. “If we brought the corporate store down there with the corporate concept … I think Derby would be better served.”

He says that means a “very upscale, very spacious” store.

“We also have further expansion into Kansas City that’s happening and in southwest Missouri,” Baty says.

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Kobe Steak House of Japan in Derby has closed, but Starbucks and Braum’s are opening, possibly followed by Chipotle

WICHITA — Derby’s loss is going to be Wichita’s gain.

Kobe Steak House of Japan, which opened three years ago in the former Tokyo Steakhouse space at 1221 N. Rock Road in Derby, closed after business March 2.

Jim Hamlin, who owns the restaurant with Jim West, says they plan to reopen in Wichita.

They already have a Kobe at 21st and Maize Road. Hamlin won’t say where the new one will be.

“I’ll tell you that a little later.”

Hamlin says the Derby Kobe was profitable, but not enough.

“We hadn’t been as successful there as we’d like to be.”

He says there were issues with the building, including too much square footage for the number of diners it could seat, and a too-small parking lot.

“It just had a number of barriers to growing down there,” Hamlin says. “It takes a lot of population to have a specialty restaurant.”

It’s not all bad dining news for Derby, though.

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Domino’s Pizza franchisees expand in Wichita, Derby and Hutchinson

WICHITA — Domino’s Pizza franchisees Mike and Stacia McKnight, who own Gusto LLC, are expanding in several ways.

Last week, they opened a Derby location in the strip center in front of Target at Derby Marketplace at 71st South and Rock Road. That’s the same center as the Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.

Late this month, the McKnights are opening another location in Wichita in the same center as Yamasa, which is on the west side of Hillside just south of Central.

This makes six restaurants for the couple in the Wichita area.

Also late this month, the McKnights are opening a Hutchinson Domino’s at 2500 N. Main.

They also own three Domino’s sites in Topeka and seven in Kansas City with one more on the way yet this year.

Mike McKnight says he and his wife likely will open two more locations in Wichita in the second and third quarters of next year. They’re looking to the far east and far west of the greater Wichita area.

“It just depends when we find the locations we like.”

Construction set to begin on Panera Bread, Olive Garden and Papa Murphy’s at Derby Marketplace

WICHITA — It was back in January that Have You Heard? first reported that Panera Bread franchisee Randy Simon was in negotiations to open a Panera in front of the Dillons Marketplace at Derby Marketplace at 71st and Rock Road.

The Derby City Council approved the deal last week, and construction is set to begin.

Simon plans a fall opening for the restaurant, which will have a drive-through. This is the 32nd cafe for his Original Bread and the first to feature a drive-through.

Later this month, Simon says he plans to finalize a deal in Sedalia, Mo., for another Panera with a drive-through. That’s also where a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchisee plans a Freddy’s next door.

The Panera that opened earlier this year on Ridge Road next to the Freddy’s that Simon co-owns had the highest volume opening of all of Simon’s Wichita Paneras.

Back in Derby, there are a couple of other new restaurants that will open near the new Panera.

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Panera Bread opens near Maple and Ridge

WICHITA — Randy Simon’s fourth Wichita Panera Bread store opened today next to the new Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers near Maple and Ridge.

When Simon opened his first Panera here in 1995 — back when it was still St. Louis Bread Co. — it was the 37th in the chain.

He had four of the chain’s first 40 stores.

“Which is kind of fun to look back and see how long it’s been going on for us,” Simon says.

With his new Panera, he says, “We’re somewhere in the upper 1,400s.

“They’re opening them pretty rapidly these days.”

And they’re doing well.

“It’s one of the two or three systems that seems to be holding up well,” Simon says of surviving tough times.

He’s still working on a Derby Panera at Derby Marketplace.

“We think that one’s going to open yet this year,” Simon says. “We have a few things we’re still trying to get ironed out.”

And for the more distant future, Simon is looking at Wichita’s south side.

He doesn’t like to open too many restaurants at once, though, so restaurant-starved southsiders shouldn’t get too excited just yet.

However, there’s hope.

More CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bars coming to greater Wichita area

WICHITA — No sooner had the Orange Leaf item been published today came confirmation that more CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bar sites are planned for the area.

Derby residents Candace and Terry Wright are opening the area’s first CherryBerry at Derby Marketplace in Derby.

Construction has begun, but there’s no opening date yet.

Utah-based CherryBerry franchisees Dan Watkins and Chad Curtis signed a lease for a 2,300-square-foot CherryBerry in the retail center in front of the new Walmart Neighborhood Market at Central and Maize.

“We hope to do around five as quickly as possible,” Curtis says.

He and Watkins have Little Caesars Pizza franchises in Tulsa near where CherryBerry is based.

They wanted to get into the yogurt business and liked CherryBerry the best.

The Tulsa market was already taken, and Wichita was the next-closest spot. They’re also looking at a Kansas City site.

The first Wichita CherryBerry, which will have indoor and outdoor seating, will open by the middle of summer.

Derby residents are new owners of CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bar

WICHITA — It turns out a couple of Derby residents are the ones opening CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bar.

Earlier this week, Have You Heard? reported that there’s a sign for the Oklahoma-based company in a window at Derby Marketplace.

Candace and Terry Wright are opening the store this summer.

The Wrights say the product is a liquid form of yogurt with live cultures in it.

There are 12 flavors and more than 20 toppings.

Construction hasn’t started, so there’s no firm opening date yet.

CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bar coming to Derby

WICHITA — CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bar is coming to Derby.

At least, that’s what a sign says in the window of an empty space next to GameStop at Derby Marketplace.

That’s the development at 71st South and Rock Road where Target and Dillons are anchor tenants. In the building where CherryBerry is going, there’s also a Buffalo Wild Wings, Specs Eyewear and Eric Fisher Salon, among other tenants.

No one with the Oklahoma-based CherryBerry could be reached for comment.

According to the company’s website, there are 12 flavors of yogurt and more than 50 toppings from which to choose.

There’s no word on an opening date yet.