Qdoba Mexican Grill to open at least two restaurants on east and west sides

UPDATED — Restaurateur Eric Estes is bringing a new franchise to Wichita:

Qdoba Mexican Grill.

“We’re really impressed with … their culinary attitude (and) approach to food,” Estes says.

Estes Enterprises has 20 A&W and Long John Silver’s franchises in Kansas, including six of the seafood restaurants in Wichita.

Denver-based Qdoba, which was founded in 1995, has about 600 restaurants in 42 states.

Initially, Estes plans to bring Qdobas to Wichita’s east and west sides.

“Our plan is to have the first unit open by the end of ’12 or the very beginning of ’13,” he says.

The east-side Qdoba will be built first.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons is helping Estes with the deals, which aren’t yet finalized.

Wink Hartman II of Ink Construction is the contractor.

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Taco Tinga to open in former Dolci & Joe’s

WICHITA — Diners soon will once again be able to find tacos at 3425 East Douglas.

That was Taco Tico’s home years ago before Breezy’s and then Dolci & Joe’s opened there.

Now, Angel Varela and M.M. Karim are opening Taco Tinga there.

Varela used to own the La Hacienda grocery at 31st and Hillside and the La Picosa restaurant within it.

His new restaurant will be similar to a Chipotle Mexican Grill in that customers will walk in and select ingredients from a counter featuring various fillings for tacos, burritos, sandwiches and quesadillas.

Unlike Chipotle, there will be some ready-made items as well, such as chili rellenos and enchiladas.

Initially, Taco Tinga will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Later, breakfast will be available, too.

The restaurant opens Aug. 1.

Dolci & Joes faces tax warrant and reorganizes

WICHITA — The Sugar Sisters aren’t the only ones reorganizing.

Another restaurant that has had some struggles but is working through them is Dolci & Joes in College Hill.

The restaurant at 3425 E. Douglas is almost $21,000 behind in state taxes.

Co-owner Josh Crowe says he’ll have it paid within a month.

He says he’s “just kind of reorganizing it all and addressing back issues, essentially.”

Crowe has a new partner, Benjamin Juhnke.

As the restaurant prepares to enter its third year in November, Crowe says they’re “just dealing with little blemishes that had occurred in the first two.”

“A large part of it was just in the organization and the operation of the company.”

He’s made changes such as having table service instead of having customers order at the counter. Crowe says he’s addressed speed and efficiency issues as well.

He says customers who have been to the restaurant in the past “would notice some dramatic changes” if they come now.

Crowe says Dolci & Joes also is making a bigger push with corporate and catering clients.

“We’ll go where our patronship is,” he says.

“We’re looking forward to the years to come.”

Savories Tasty Shop & Coffee House to open in new Mid American Credit Union branch

WICHITA — If the lure of a loan doesn’t do the trick, perhaps something savory will draw customers to the new Mid American Credit Union branch at 29th North and Webb Road when it opens in fall 2012.

Shawn Blattner, who helped create the Dolci & Joes concept in College Hill, is opening Savories Tasty Shop & Coffee House in 925 square feet of the branch’s 4,500-square-foot space.

Savories will seat 20 and have a drive-through.

It will be open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and offer a range of treats, such as cheesecake, ice cream, brownies and scones.

Blattner is in sales for bread and condiments, but he’s interested in more restaurants.

“I’m actually working on a couple of other places,” he says.

“I just love the restaurant business.”

Delano Bakery to sell to-go items at Dolci & Joes

WICHITA — Delano Bakery, which actually is at 1025 W. 29th Street instead of its original Delano space, is now going to have a presence in College Hill.

On Monday, the bakery will begin selling its products at Dolci & Joes at 3425 E. Douglas.

“It’s the face of the bakery,” Delano co-owner Brant Dumford says of using the restaurant as a retail outlet.

Delano Bakery already supplies a signature bread for the restaurant’s sandwiches.

“It only made sense to start some other joint projects together,” says Dolci & Joes owner Joshua Crowe.

Crowe says the first three months of Dolci & Joes have been fantastic.

“We’ve really appreciated the reception we’ve received.”

The restaurant’s bread will now be for sale along with other kinds of loaves and brownies and cookies.

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