Lawrence Freebirds World Burrito closes, but Wichita Freebirds is doing fine

WICHITA — The Freebirds World Burrito in Lawrence has closed after a year in business, but that doesn’t mean anything for Wichita Freebirds restaurants, one of the chain’s operators says.

“Everything’s great there,” says Bryce Katz, COO and partner in Overland Park-based FB Midwest Development, which is the first franchisee of the chain that’s based in Texas and California

“We never had a following in Lawrence, unfortunately,” Katz says. “Being a graduate of Kansas, it’s very disappointing.”

He says when the restaurant first opened on Massachusetts Street in late January last year, there was a great reception in the community. Then came a couple of big snowstorms followed by spring break.

“It just killed our momentum,” Katz says.

He’s not sure why.

“If I knew it would probably have helped us not to close.”

The first Wichita Freebirds opened in in June south of Central and Hillside in the same center as Great Wall.

“It’s the best in our system actually,” Katz says of the chain’s six restaurants.

“Wichita people have taken well to it,” he says. “We’re working on getting that service piece going faster and getting people through the line and operationally getting more sound.”

Katz says the rest of his company’s restaurants “are doing great.”

Another one is planned for the Village at Greenwich at 21st and Greenwich.

Katz says a west-side Freebirds is a possibility as well. He says there’s “room for expansion.”

“We’re definitely open to look.”

Great Clips to open at Tallgrass Plaza

WICHITA — Great Clips franchisee Lisa Schneider is getting ready to open another salon.

She’s taking a former salon space at Tallgrass Plaza at the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road. The salon will be between Great Wall and Boba Zone.

“This is actually my fourth salon, but my third in Wichita,” Schneider says.

She’s one of a few Great Clips franchisees here.

Schneider says the salon is a select service salon, meaning it offers haircuts, styles and perms but no color service. She says that’s because Great Clips wants to be able to guarantee its services, and it’s hard to guarantee color.

Great Clips officially will open on Oct. 26, but Schneider says she’ll probably have a soft opening a couple of days before that.

The salon will be in 1,400 square feet. Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Schneider already is thinking of future salons.

“I really don’t have plans to stop,” she says.

She’s interested in quantity, but only if the salons are quality as well.

“As long as I can continue to open them and maintain that for customers,” she says. “If the quality isn’t there, it’s time to stop.”

First Wichita Freebirds World Burritos to open near Central and Hillside

WICHITA — Almost a year after announcing they wanted to come to Wichita, the first Freebirds World Burrito franchisees will be opening here.

Overland Park-based FB Midwest Development is the first franchisee of the chain, which is based in Texas and California, and plans to develop Freebirds sites in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.

The first Wichita Freebirds will be just south of Central and Hillside in the same center as Great Wall.

“We like the area; traffic counts are good,” says Bryce Katz, COO and partner.

“Everybody said College Hill was a good little center.”

He says he and his partners especially like that Wesley Medical Center is at the intersection.

“That was obviously a huge draw for us.”

In July, Have You Heard? first reported that the group wanted to bring three Freebirds restaurants here.

The first one should open by the middle of June with seating for about 100, including a patio.

Katz says the restaurant is similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill and has a big focus on organic items such as grass-fed beef and hormone-free chicken.

Freebirds has what Katz calls “very, very fresh” burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, quesadillas, salad and seven kinds of salsa.

After the first Freebirds opens, look for a second possible announcement in the 21st and Greenwich area.

Beijing Chinese restaurant to open on West Central

WICHITA — There has been a string of restaurants at 3008 W. Central — most recently Lexi’s Restaurant and Bar, Maharaja and New York Cafe — but there’s a new one coming that may have more staying power.

Zhiyong Liu is opening Beijing, a Chinese restaurant. The concept is the same as his brother Benny Liu’s popular Great Wall restaurants, which are throughout the city.

Beijing will offer traditional Chinese dishes, seating for 30 and carryout. It will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Ish Tamas of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Look for Beijing to open in April.

Physiotherapy Associates to open at Auburn Pointe

UPDATED — Physiotherapy Associates, which has more than 650 sites nationally, is coming to Wichita for the first time in early September.

The Pennsylvania-based company is taking 2,000 square feet at Occidental Management’s Auburn Pointe development at 135th West and Maple.

Occidental’s Chad Stafford and Bree Kelley handled the deal. Bradley and Brandon Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Co. represented Physiotherapy Associates.

The company provides outpatient physical therapy and has an orthotics and prosthetics division as well.

Initially, the clinic will have a physical therapist and an athletic trainer.

Physiotherapy Associates also is looking to add two more clinics in the Wichita area.

Stafford, Occidental’s president, says another restaurant is in the works for Auburn Pointe, where Great Wall, Scooter’s Coffeehouse and Subway already are and Papa Murphy’s is coming.

That leaves only one space left to lease at the 5-year-old, 36,540-square-foot center.

Second Yamasa Japanese Grill to open

WICHITA — And in the final bit of restaurant news for today, Benny Liu is opening his second Yamasa Japanese Grill.

Liu’s first is at 327 N. Hillside.

The new one, which will be open in about three months, will be at 407 E. Pawnee.

It will feature hibachi-style cuisine and sushi.

As Have You Heard? previously reported, Liu’s family also is opening another Great Wall Chinese restaurant.

The new Great Wall, which is one of 12,  is by the Dillons at 21st and Amidon and should be open by Monday or Tuesday.

Great Wall to open at 21st and Amidon with its 11th Wichita-area restaurant

WICHITA — Sit @ Thai Bistro is hardly the only new Asian restaurant getting ready to open.

Great Wall is going to open its 11th location in the greater Wichita area, this time in 1,300 square feet by the Dillons at 21st and Amidon.

Landmark Commercial Real Estate’s Bree Kelley represented the center and said there were numerous Asian restaurants that looked at the space.

“I thought it was interesting,” she says.

Austin Kinzle, Kelley’s colleague at Landmark, represented Great Wall in the transaction.

Kelley thinks the restaurant will do well.

“There’s a great lunch crowd in that area.”