Lotus Leaf Cafe to move to Old Town

UPDATED — Three years after opening in Delano, the Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie is moving to Old Town.

The newly named Lotus Leaf Cafe will open at the southwest corner of Second and Washington next to the new Taste & See. Both restaurants are in part of the former Doc Howard’s Lounge space.

“There’s so many more things I want to do,” owner Jacquelyn Keefer says of needing more space.

Her restaurant at 613 W. Douglas is 1,153 square feet with about 30 seats.

“It’s sad to say, but you have to be fairly thin to work there,” Keefer says of negotiating among the tables.

The kitchen is tiny, too, which she says means that what executive chef Rebecca Gold has been able to do is “miraculous.”

The new space, which will be ready in early April, is almost 2,000 square feet.

“The thought of what she can do with a real kitchen will be pretty amazing,” Keefer says of Gold.

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Joe’s Old Town Bar & Grill to expand

WICHITA — Joe’s Old Town Bar & Grill may not be in Old Town proper, but it has turned into a huge Old Town hit.

The 14-month-old bar has proven so popular, it’s almost doubling its space with a new approximately 3,000-square-foot building to its south.

“Joe’s is doing better than we anticipated,” co-owner Charlie Badeen says.

He’s now leasing the former shop at 214 N. Washington and, if permits are approved, he’ll open a couple of spaces between the buildings and also extend Joe’s patio along the Washington side of the new building as well. That patio will be covered.

Badeen says he considers the new space, which could be ready in a couple of months depending on approvals, to be an oversize banquet room. He will rent it for parties and open it on particularly busy nights.

“If we’re super busy, it’ll take five minutes to open it up,” he says.

“We’re like most things in Old Town,” Badeen says of bars and restaurants. He says the business has “three or four good nights” a week.

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Jason-Paul Febres to open second Taste & See in part of former Doc Howard’s space

UPDATED – Jason-Paul Febres is heading back to Old Town.

“Now I’m moving back to my roots,” says the man who became known as Sabor Latin Bar & Grille’s first executive chef.

The Venezuela native is returning to Old Town with his own place — a second Taste & See.

“Well, first of all, it’s about time,” Febres says. “I don’t think it was a matter of if we were going to expand. It was a matter of when we were going to expand.”

Febres is taking 4,532 square feet at 252 N. Mosley, which is part of the space developer Dave Burk is converting at the former Doc Howard’s Lounge building.

“I love Old Town,” Febres says. “I like the crowded scene. That’s what I’m made for.”

Febres bounced around to various restaurants before opening Taste & See with a partner at Office This in the former Wichita Mall. Febres says he plans to keep that site, which will be open for lunch, classes and private events. It will be known as Taste & See The Venue.

The new Taste & See will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Febres is planning a “very, very upscale tapas lounge” and “a beautiful patio.”

He’s also working on a new menu.

“It’s going to be a little more out there, and it’s going to be more fun,” Febres says. “I’m going to have the chance to play with more food than I was able to.”

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You don’t say

“The days of the giant club are over, and it’s time to freshen things up. Stay tuned!”

– A Facebook post from Doc Howard’s Lounge owner Bryan Shapiro on the Old Town bar closing this weekend

 

Doc Howard’s Lounge is losing its lease, but the rest of the situation is unclear

UPDATED – Doc Howard’s Lounge is losing its Old Town lease at 252 N. Mosley.

That much is clear, but not much else is.

When initially contacted about the situation on March 5, owner Bryan Shapiro said he no longer owns the business and referred calls to the new owner, which he said is his brother, Keith, who couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Early afternoon on March 6, building owner Dave Burk said the Doc Howard’s lease is expiring at the end of the month and that he chose not to allow the business to renew it.

The bar has been a lightning rod for critics due to violence and other issues in and around it.

It sounds like there’s a chance the business is reopening elsewhere in Old Town, but Bryan Shapiro said he didn’t have any information about it.

Burk said he’s still considering what to do with the 26,000 square feet Doc Howard’s is leaving.

“Well, I can’t tell you for sure what I’m going to do with it. I’ve got some ideas,” he said. “I just know what I’m not going to do with it.”

That means, Burk says, the space “isn’t going to be a large bar with a lot of capacity.”

He says it’s possible the area could be divided.

“It’s something I’m looking at.”

Keith Shapiro called later to say he’s not the owner of the business. He wouldn’t say what his role is.

“I can’t tell you anything other than we have other plans for this building with Dave Burk,” Keith Shapiro said. “We’re reconcepting and doing something different with this whole building itself.”

He further said, “There is nothing happening with the business. We are doing other things.”

In a follow-up call with Bryan Shapiro, he said he forgot that he is the owner of the business.

“I’m just mentally retarded,” he said. “We got a lot going on.”

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Doc Howard’s Lounge reopens

WICHITA — Doc Howard’s Lounge is back open.

The Old Town bar’s temporarily lapsed liquor license was restored after owner Bryan Shapiro had a new fire door installed as the city dictated.

Shapiro says his business, which has been a target for critics due to fights and disturbances in and around it, was affected by having to close.

“Of course it was affected,” Shapiro says. He says, though, “I don’t think it was any evil intention.”

The city had several demands before it would restore the license.

“They gave us a list, we complied, we’re open, thank God.”

Doc Howard’s Lounge temporarily closes due to lapsed liquor license

WICHITA — It looked like some critics of Doc Howard’s Lounge might get their wish to have the bar close.

The Old Town bar shut down this week because its liquor license expired Dec. 10.

“Yeah, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that will be excited,” says owner Bryan Shapiro.

The situation is only temporary, though.

The city won’t renew the license until Shapiro gets a fire door for an opening at the bar, which has frequently been in the news due to fights and other disturbances in and around the business.

Shapiro says it’s taking a while to get the door.

“We weren’t prepared for it because we’ve never been asked for it before,” he says. “Ten years, 10 inspections, nobody mentions the door. Now they mention the door?”

Doc Howard’s has been in business almost three years, but Shapiro has had a bar of some sort in the space for a decade.

“It is what it is, and we do everything we can to comply,” he says. “I don’t think we have an operational issue here.”

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