Issa brothers buy Scotch & Sirloin

Scotch & Sirloin, 5325 E. Kellogg Photo by Megan True/ TheWichita EagleWICHITA — Mike Issa now confirms what Have You Heard? reported last month.

He and his brothers, Ty and Ali, have purchased the Scotch & Sirloin.

“The Scotch is the oldest institution in Wichita,” Mike Issa says.

There actually are older restaurants, but Issa says, “We really believe this is Wichita’s tradition restaurant. We would love to be part of it.”

The Issas officially take over Jan. 16.

The brothers first approached majority owner Lindy Andeel a couple of years ago about buying the restaurant, which is on East Kellogg between Oliver and Edgemoor.

“We got busy with other venues,” Issa says of the delay.

The Issas own Larkspur Bistro & Bar in Old Town, YaYa’s EuroBistro in Bradley Fair, Hereford House at Terradyne Country Club, Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge near Central and Rock and some IHOP restaurants in Wichita and Emporia.

Mike Issa is going to be more of a presence at the Scotch than his brothers.

“I’m going to be at the Hereford House, too,” he says of where he generally can be found already.

Issa says he and his brothers are able to do so many restaurants with “great help” and a “great management team.”

Karl Bachman is the new general manager the Issas hired to work at the Scotch. He’s already there.

Longtime general manager Sonny Glennon is still there, too.

“He’s still part of the whole package with us,” Mike Issa says.

Whether Glennon is still a co-owner in the business is unclear. Glennon referred questions to Issa, and Issa says only, “He’ll be working with our team 100 percent.”

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A change is in the works at Scotch & Sirloin

WICHITA — An ownership change appears to be in the works at one of Wichita’s most-storied restaurants, but no one seems to want to discuss it.

According to a filing with the state, Steaks R Us has applied for a liquor license at the Scotch & Sirloin.

Mike Issa, who is in business with his brothers Ty and Ali at several restaurants, is the applicant.

Mike Issa didn’t return a call for comment. Neither did Scotch co-owner Lindy Andeel.

Ty Issa demurs when asked about a possible purchase.

“Every time someone sees me having dinner with Lindy, they assume I’m doing something,” he says.

Scotch co-owner Sonny Glennon, who has been the face of the restaurant for years as the ever-present host, does not want to discuss a possible transaction with the Issas.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said when initially asked about a sale last week.

This week, Glennon suggested asking the Issas what’s going on.

Doug Farha also is an owner of the Scotch. He did not return a call for comment.

The Issas own Larkspur Bistro & Bar in Old Town, YaYa’s EuroBistro in Bradley Fair, Hereford House at Terradyne Country Club, Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge near Central and Rock and some IHOP restaurants in Wichita and Emporia.

Their deal at the Scotch is expected to close about a month into the new year. Look for more details soon.

Issa brothers opening Emporia IHOP

WICHITA — A year and a half after buying their first IHOP, the Issa brothers are ready to open their second one, this time in Emporia.

“We had an opportunity, and we took it,” says Ali, who is partners in the business with his brothers Ty and Mike.

They also own Larkspur, Ya Ya’s Eurobistro, Hereford House and Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge.

Their existing IHOP is at 515 S. Ridge Circle in west Wichita.

Their Emporia IHOP, which will open either Oct. 8 or 9, will be in the former Village Inn space at 2831 W. 18th Ave.

“We didn’t have a plan for Emporia,” Ali Issa says of locating there. “It just came up. … It was a good deal.”

He’s not sure where — or even if — they’ll open another IHOP.

“It’s hard to predict.”

Issa says he’ll spend the next month or two focusing on Emporia, although he says he’ll still continue to pop into Heat, which he also runs.

“Heat’s is doing very well,” he says.

Along with a loyal clientele, Issa says he has good employees to help him.

“We have some very good people (at) both places.”

Issa brothers purchase west-side IHOP

WICHITA — The restaurateuring Issa brothers have purchased the IHOP at 515 S. Ridge Circle, just down from the new Panera Bread.

“It’s a good opportunity,” Ali Issa says. “There’s a future in it. They’re very successful.”

Issa and his brothers, Ty and Mike, also will continue to operate Larkspur, Hereford House and Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge.

At IHOP, they’re making a lot of changes. Some are cosmetic on the interior and exterior. Other changes include retraining the staff “from A to Z,” Ali Issa says.

He says he and his brothers are not looking to buy other IHOPs, at least not yet.

“We’re too busy with that one. It’s too early to talk about the next venture.”

Kansas Right to Choose files motion to join lawsuit over statewide smoking ban

WICHITA — Kansas Right to Choose is now taking legal action in its fight against the statewide indoor smoking ban, which takes effect July 1.

The group of more than 50 business owners and others concerned about the ban formed a couple of months ago. It has hired Topeka lawyer R.E. “Tuck” Duncan in its fight.

Duncan has filed a motion for intervention on a lawsuit that the Downtown Bar and Grill in Tonganoxie has filed against the state of Kansas over the ban.

There’s a hearing in the suit June 29.

Duncan says he’s hoping for a temporary injunction on the ban “pending a full court hearing on whether there ought to be a permanent injunction.”

He plans to argue several theories, including equal protection.

The ban would allow casinos and drinking establishments operated by the state to still have smoking but not other gaming facilities, bingo parlors or drinking establishments.

“There’s no basis for that distinction,” Duncan says. “The obvious conclusion is the state doesn’t want to lose revenue from its own operation.”

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New group of business owners and others forms to fight indoor smoking ban

WICHITA — More than 50 business owners and other people concerned about the state’s new indoor smoking ban met Thursday for the first meeting of Kansas Right to Choose.

“Everybody’s upset,” says Ali Issa, who hosted the meeting at his Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge.

The group is trying to organize a public meeting for next week for other business owners “and also people who do not smoke but don’t like the idea of the state telling you what to do,” Issa says.

He says people from around the state are joining the group.

Issa says the goal is to get as many members as possible to barrage legislators with calls and e-mails voicing their opposition to the ban, which takes effect in most places July 1.

Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, is one of the people who attended the inaugural meeting.

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East-side Italian Garden to close; west restaurant will remain open

WICHITA — Ali Issa has decided to close the east-side Italian Garden at Kellogg and Webb, which has been open since 2000.

“The volume is down,” Issa says. “There’s no traffic. We don’t know where to get the people. You can’t go home and bring them from their homes.”

The Italian Garden at 21st and Tyler will remain open, and the east restaurant’s catering will move there. There’s been an Italian Garden on the west side since 1989, when it opened at Douglas and West.

Issa says the closure has nothing to do with his Heat Cigar and Hookah Lounge at 338 N. Rock, which he says is doing “phenomenal.”

There’s a chance Issa will bring back an east-side Italian Garden one day when the economy is better and he finds a new location.

Issa wants longtime east-side customers to know Italian Garden will be open through dinner Sunday and then close for good.

“I just want to give them a chance to say goodbye.”