Revolution Rock Bar’s future is in flux; questions exist regarding Finns Lounge

WICHITA — Revolution Rock Bar has closed, but it’s not certain if that is permanent or not.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do with that yet,” says Jason Smith, director of operations for Melad Stephan’s Empire Restaurant Management.

Smith says the Old Town bar’s liquor license has expired.

“We don’t know if we’re going to renew it and reopen,” he says. “Business wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”

There’s more to the story, though.

Greg Finley of Finns Lounge has been running Revolution. In June, Have You Heard reported that Stephan said Finley was running the business for him until Finley could get his own liquor license and make changes, which could include a new concept.

According to state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division documents, Finley first applied for a license in May and was “denied that application due to Finley’s being disqualified by a previous revocation.” Finley applied for the license as president and sole owner of Sin, which does business as Revolution Rock Bar.

In August, according the documents, the ABC received a liquor license request from Finns Inc, doing business as Revolution Rock Bar, and Andrea Lambert was listed as president and sole owner.

The ABC conducted an investigation and found that the application showed Lambert’s address and e-mail as the same ones Finley had used. Upon interviewing Lambert, the ABC said Lambert said she never lived at that address. She said Finns was in her name, and she was signing paperwork for it, because of Finley’s inability to obtain a license. She said she was doing it for money.

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Luca Italian Kitchen closes; YO-B to open

UPDATED — Melad Stephan has sold his Luca Italian Kitchen.

Another downtown restaurateur, Nabil Bacha, took possession of it this afternoon.

“We wanted to bring something a bit different,” says Bacha, who owns Cafe Bel Ami at 229 E. William.

He considered doing something possibly called Bel Ami Bistro, which would have been similar to Stephan’s popular Uptown Bistro that was at the entrance to Old Town Square before Luca.

Bacha decided that’s too much like what is already in Old Town, though.

“They’re all competing against each other,” he says of sit-down restaurants there. “There’s just too many.”

Bacha decided to go another route with yogurt, custard and one really, really tasty burger, which he says will be similar to the popular In-N-Out Burger on the West Coast.

The name is tentatively YO-B, for yogurt and burgers.

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Kansas Dance Academy owners are new operators of Crown Uptown Theatre

Ray and Diane Gans (left) and Matthew Rumsey are the new operators of the Crown Uptown Theatre.

WICHITA — Ray and Diane Gans, who have owned the Kansas Dance Academy for 26 years, are the new owners and operators of the Crown Uptown Theatre.

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that an undisclosed group made an offer to Karen Morris, who for 31 years ran the theater near Douglas and Hillside with her late husband, Ted.

“We’ve just kind of always been involved in the theater,” says Diane Gans, who will be the artistic consultant.

Ray Gans, who will be director of operations, has a band called Oncall and is the son of Jeannie Park Gans, who had been with Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra in New York City in the 1940s.

Gans and his siblings sang professionally with their mother while growing up.

“We were the von Trapps of Wichita,” he says.

Jeannie Park Gans and her brother, Robert C. Park, are partners with Ray and Diane Gans in the Crown Uptown along with Scott and Lisa Ritchie.

“They’re just big supporters of the arts and want this to continue on with the Crown,” Ray Gans says.

The group is operating as Crown Partners.

Matthew Rumsey, an actor and former manager with Melad Stephan’s Empire Restaurant Management, is the executive artistic director and the food and beverage director.

Brian Mangers, a chef at the Candle Club, also will be the chef for the Crown Uptown.

Their first show is “White Christmas,” which will open Thanksgiving weekend.

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Sabor at the Waterfront is not closing

WICHITA — The hot restaurant talk at the end of last year has continued into this year, and that’s that the east-side Sabor Latin Bar & Grille is closing or converting into a new business.

“There were some rumors that we were closing, but right now we’re going to keep it open,” says Sabor district executive chef Jason-Paul Febres.

Febres says the Old Town Sabor had a better reception than the one that opened in late 2008 at the Waterfront.

“Downtown people . . . they’re more open to try Latin food,” Febres says.“They’re more open to new ideas.”

The economy has been a factor, too.

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