Michelle Borin sells Garage Bar & Grill; Jennifer Ray to open Circle Social Club

WICHITA — Michelle Borin soon will be back to running just her Michelle’s Beach House. She and her son, Brandon, have sold the Garage Bar & Grill in Delano to Jennifer Ray.

“Things have just kind of changed,” Michelle Borin says. Her son is now focusing more on the aerospace industry, she says.

“I don’t want to run it by myself and take 100 percent responsibility between this place and the Beach House.”

Ray has been running Emerson Biggin’s and Rock Island Live in Old Town. She’s worked at Emerson Biggin’s for more than a decade.

“It was just a natural progression of things,” Ray says of starting her own business.

The new bar will be called the Circle Social Club after the traffic circle in front of the business, which is at 579 W. Douglas.

“I have always been interested in that property,” Ray says. “I live in Delano, so it’s a perfect fit.”

She plans to remodel.

“It’s just going to be a lot of cosmetic changes.”

Ray plans to change not just the look but the feel of the business.

“It would be great to have a concept in there that really fits the neighborhood. Something that caters to the eclectic tastes of people who live in Delano,” she says. “We’re thinking something laid back. Very, very quality food, good service … a very nice beer selection.”

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Former Brews Brothers Ice House Bar and Grill owner buys west-side Emerson Biggins

WICHITA — Former Brews Brothers Ice House Bar and Grill partner Luis Lopez has purchased the west-side Emerson Biggins near 21st and Maize Road.

The Old Town Emerson Biggins is a separately owned business.

By May 9, Lopez hopes to have most of the old Brews Brothers menu in place.

“We’re going to have the same fun food and the same great times that we had at the Brews Brothers bar and grill.”

That includes dishes such as his pork chili, fried flour tacos, sweet pepper pastrami sandwich and signature Reuben.

“I thought I was going to change the name, but we decided to keep it Emerson Biggins,” Lopez says.

He says he gave up his two Brews Brothers restaurants, which were near 13th and Tyler and South Seneca and I-235, to concentrate on nine Burger King restaurants.

“I didn’t have the flexibility to run all of them.”

At the time, similar restaurants such as Old Chicago were expanding to more Wichita locations.

“I had a better opportunity with the Burger Kings.”

Now, he thinks his opportunity is with Emerson Biggins. Lopez would like to open one on the east side in 2013 followed by one in Hutchinson.

Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge closes

WICHITA — A Wichita institution has come to an end.

Saturday was the last day of business for Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge.

“I guess you could say we were pretty underfunded from the beginning,” owner Michael Redick says.

Redick bought the business at 2121 N. Tyler in February 2011 from longtime owner Tommy D’Annunzio.

D’Annunzio and Sonny Glennon, who owns Scotch & Sirloin, started the business as Tom & Sonny’s at Douglas and West Street in 1979.

“We were trying to revitalize it,” Redick says. “It was taking a legend on the west side and, you know, give it its life back.”

Redick says he had no choice but to renovate.

“It was just an aged building,” he says. The remodel “ate up all of our working capital.”

The 7,000-square-foot space is twice what Redick says he needed.

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Emerson Biggin’s sell to operations director, who plans to add Rock Island BBQ

WICHITA — Dave Dunn has sold his 10-year old Emerson Biggin’s in Old Town.

“Well, I have come up with another venture I want to pursue that I’m real passionate about,” he says. “The timing’s right.”

Any hints as to what it will be?

“Something that’s getting very popular in an industry that’s starting to boom.”

Within the restaurant realm?

“I will no longer be part of the restaurant business.”

Dunn says it’s a bittersweet departure.

“It’s been fun. It’s been trying at the same time.”

Dunn says he likes to try new things.

Look for news about a change at his west-side Emerson Biggin’s sometime in the next week or so.

Chuck Miller, Dunn’s longtime operations director, has purchased his downtown Emerson Biggin’s, which includes the Rock Island Live venue.

“I’ve been with Dave since Day 1, so it’s not like somebody new has come along,” Miller says. “I’ve been running it since it opened.”

Miller plans to keep things the same except for one addition.

He’s adding Rock Island BBQ to the Rock Island space.

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54 new plaques give Old Town visitors a glimpse of history

plaque2WICHITA — Old Town is obviously one of Wichita’s most historic areas. Now, some of that history is readily available for people to learn as they visit the area.

Developer Dave Burk this month placed 54 plaques on buildings throughout Old Town. He finished a couple of days ago and has already seen visitors stopping to look.

“This was research that we put together when we compiled all the information to get this into a National Historic District,” Burk says.

That was back in 1990.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” Burk says.

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