Abuelo’s inching closer to west-side deal

WICHITA — Abuelo’s, the Mexican restaurant chain that opened at the Waterfront in April 2004, is working on a deal for west-side space.

“It’s been a good market for us,” Abuelo’s director of marketing Melanie Carroll says of Wichita.

She says the Lubbock-based company is always looking for growth opportunities and believes Wichita could sustain two Abuelo’s restaurants, but she won’t share details beyond that.

Landmark Commercial Real Estate president and CEO Brad Saville, who represents Abuelo’s in Wichita, says the chain is eyeing three west-side sites and hasn’t yet determined where it will go.

Other sources, though, says Abuelo’s is getting closer to a deal at a site near the Kellogg and Ridge Road corridor not far from where the new Twin Peaks is going to open.

Earlier this month, Have You Heard? reported that Twin Peaks, which already has an east-side site, is going to open at 7325 W. Taft. It will be in a building across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread, which is south of Maple and Ridge.

The area is becoming a hot spot for restaurants such as Applebee’s, McAlister’s Deli, Chipotle Mexican Grill, IHOP and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers among others.

Look for more news on Abuelo’s in the months ahead.

Twin Peaks has west-side space, and it isn’t where anyone suspected

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O'Kelly's and Panera Bread.

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread.

WICHITA — There’s been a popular guessing game of where the west-side Twin Peaks might go. As it turns out, it’s not opening at any of the spots most people thought it might.

Franchisee Rusty Rathbun considered most of those sites, but he’s settled on 7325 W. Taft instead.

“It’s been overlooked from a retail perspective,” says Dan Unruh of InSite Real Estate Group.

The building, which is across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread, was built as office space that most recently was home to American Family Insurance.

Gallery Expressions will be Twin Peaks’ neighbor to the northwest across a parking lot, and the Lowe’s at Maple and Ridge Road is just north of that.

“This one kept coming up as a great site if we could just make the building work,” Unruh says.

InSite is part of South Ridge LLC, a group that purchased the 16,800-square-foot center where Twin Peaks is going.

Rathbun says he seriously considered about 15 properties before deciding on the Taft site.

“It works because of the traffic count and all the number one restaurants in the area,” he says.

Read More »

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.”

Read More »

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.”

Panda Express to open at One Kellogg Place

WICHITA — Panda Express has chosen One Kellogg Place on East Kellogg where Wal-Mart is for its first Wichita site.

Last year, Have You Heard? reported the California-based chain of more than 1,300 restaurants wanted to come to the Wichita area.

The first Panda will be in a freestanding 2,449-square-foot building with a drive-through between Pizza Hut and IHOP.

It will be ready in the fall.

“We just like the energy that surrounds that area,” says Susan Flesher, Panda’s real estate manager.

She specifically points to the nearby traffic and daytime population.

“We just felt like that was a good first site.”

Read More »

New commercial development coming to 21st and Maize Road

WICHITA — There’s a new development coming near the southwest corner of 21st and Maize Road behind Bank of the West.

A group of as-of-yet unnamed developers are purchasing the former New Medical Health Care building, razing it and building a new 10,000-square-foot center for retail and restaurant space.

Last year, New Medical moved to 21st and Ridge Road by Braum’s.

The new development group will have a total of almost three acres and may build a second phase for offices.

There will be access to the development from both 21st Street and Maize Road, “which makes this an extremely attractive property,” says Cory Harkleroad, managing director of KW Commercial.

Harkleroad is handling the sale of the property and has already landed two tenants.

Read More »