Caterer and restaurateur Ben Arnold adds another cafe to his menu

WICHITA — Apparently a catering business, five hotel and military base banquet operations, two cafes and a restaurant aren’t quite enough to keep Ben Arnold busy.

So, as of Monday, he’s adding another cafe to the lineup.

Arnold will now operate Intrust Cafe at the Intrust Bank building downtown. It’s a private cafe that mostly serves bank employees along with some tenants in the building.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot cafe is a bit bigger than Cafe 151, which Arnold runs at the Cargill building downtown. That’s open to the public, as is Cafe Comotara, which Arnold has at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road.

“I won’t put any kids through college with the money I make off of these cafes,” he says. “It’s all about the partnership of just two great organizations that are based here in Wichita.”

There are many more partnership opportunities he receives, Arnold says.

“I get approached constantly.”

Arnold says he tries to be strategic about which deals he accepts. He thinks the Intrust Bank connection potentially can lead to more catering for his Corporate Caterers of Wichita.

Isn’t it all a bit much, especially since his new A.V.I. Seabar & Chophouse at the Drury Plaza Broadview just opened Monday?

“No, not at all,” Arnold says. “You surround yourself with great people, and you can do anything.”

Jeremy Wade is Hartman’s new chef; Ben Arnold is searching for Wade’s replacements

WICHITA — Jeremy Wade is going to be Wink Hartman Sr.’s executive chef when he opens a new east-side restaurant, so that means he’s out of A.V.I., the new restaurant coming to the Drury Plaza Broadview, and Jeremy Wade Catering.

“I don’t blame him one bit,” says Ben Arnold, Wade’s former partner in the two ventures.

Wade didn’t return a call for comment, but Arnold says the two have discussed the situation and his decision to leave A.V.I.

“The restaurant is not going to be a limelight restaurant like he wants, honestly,” Arnold says.

People who are already downtown or are coming to events downtown might stop by, Arnold says, but it won’t be a destination restaurant for Wichitans.

“That’s not going to be a place where everybody on the far east or far west side says, ‘Let’s go eat.’ He wanted to be somewhere more glamorous.”

Hartman’s east-side space, Arnold says, “is a home run compared to downtown.”

“It was a question of, ‘Do I live a secluded life of being downtown in a hotel restaurant?’ ”

Arnold, who also has Corporate Caterers of Wichita, is now searching for a new chef for A.V.I., which will open in late September.

He also needs a chef for his more upscale catering company that had been named for Wade.

It’s now called Culinary Catering.

In an e-mail, Arnold joked about keeping the name the same.

“I am looking for another chef named Jeremy Wade so I do not have to reprint the menus or re-logo the truck.”