Melad Stephan to open Revolution Rock Bar and move Empire Catering into Eaton Place

WICHITA — Melad Stephan is growing his Old Town empire, literally and figuratively.

Stephan’s Empire Catering is moving into Eaton Place at Douglas and St. Francis where Eaton Steakhouse used to be.

“We’re really going to attack the catering big time,” he says.

Instead of spending money to put in a kitchen there, Stephan is taking over the former Whiskey Creek space, which most recently was the Air Capital Grill, to use that kitchen for all his catering.

In the front of that space, which is at 233 N. Mosley, Stephan is putting in a bar called Revolution Rock Bar.

The building isn’t as visible as some restaurants in Old Town.

“It’s more like a bar-hopping place,” Stephan says of that area. “By putting a bar in there, it fits right in there with the other bars.”

Unlike Stephan’s Oeno Wine Bar in Old Town Square, which caters to an age 30-and-up crowd, Revolution will cater to a younger set.

“We’re going to do some exciting things in the front of the building to attract people in,” Stephan says. “We’re going to play music from the ’80s and things like that.”

He’ll have a DJ and show music videos on the wall.

The bar should open by early October.

Stephan hopes to open at the Eaton by early September.

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Old Town Architectural Salvage owners buy adjacent space, plan eventual new business

WICHITA — Upgrades coming to Douglas and St. Francis are inspiring Grant and Janet Rine to do some remodeling just up the street near their Old Town Architectural Salvage shop, at 126 N. St. Francis.

The city is reconfiguring that corridor and adding landscaping, and developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are also working to transform the Zelman building on the northeast corner into apartments, retail and restaurant space.

“That is an inspiration for us to clean that space up and do something productive,” Janet Rine says of the lot where they keep some of what they salvage.

The Rines purchased the approximately 10,000-square-foot building between their shop and the lot where they keep stone and other large pieces.

“It will, eventually over the next couple of years or so, become something else,” Rine says. “We are entertaining all kinds of ideas.”

She says her Caffe Moderne partner, Melad Stephan — who is never short on new business ideas — has said, “Gosh, wouldn’t it be great to put a great bar down there?”

She wouldn’t mind something along those lines.

“Melad would love to have, like, a Cajun bar,” she says. “Me, I’d rather have a speakeasy.”

It’s an idea she previously entertained for the salvage space.

For now, the Rines are using their new space for storage.

“It’s massively filled.”

Much like the lot, which Rine says is “driving me nuts.”

“I’d like to put temporary walls up . . . just to make it more decorative,” she says.

“We’re eventually going to empty that lot, and it will become a parking lot.”

In the meantime, she says, she’ll have to put up with it.

“It’s just my little pet peeve.”

Press to close at the Waterfront; new business to open in its place

WICHITA — If you’re one of the people who purchased a Groupon from Press, you’d better use it soon.

Aug. 6 is the Waterfront bar’s last day in business.

“As of August sixth . . . something is going to happen there,” owner Melad Stephan says.

He has three offers for the space — two are local, one isn’t. The potential owners have three different ideas: One wants a restaurant, one wants a bistro-style business and one wants a combination bar and restaurant.

Stephan isn’t sure which one he — or his landlords — will accept. He’s hoping to get out of his lease, which still has four and a half years.

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You don’t say

“The other alternative was to close. Didn’t want to do that.”

— A very busy Janet Rine, who is now partnering with restaurateur Melad Stephan on her Caffe Moderne so she can concentrate on other projects

Rine Center for Performing Arts is coming to former Immanuel Baptist Church on South Hillside

WICHITA — When last we checked with Janet and Grant Rine, they’d decided not to move their Old Town Architectural Salvage to the former Immanuel Baptist Church at 147 S. Hillside.

They bought the former church and adjacent school in April but decided to put plans on hold for a while.

Now, they’re moving forward by trying to get commercial zoning for what likely will be called the Rine Center for Performing Arts.

“It’s a slow, painful process,” Janet Rine says.

“It just takes time to jump through all the hoops and get everybody on the same page,” she says. “Sometimes it’s just difficult to be progressive.”

Kathy Page-Hauptman and Ann-Marie Rogers will book and produce shows that Rine says will create “a niche that’s not being met in Wichita.”

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Rines reconsider moving Old Town Architectural Salvage

Janet and Grant Rine have decided not to move their Old Town Architectural Salvage after all.

Last month, the Rines closed on their purchase of Immanuel Baptist Church at 147 S. Hillside. They had planned to move their shop to the former school on the property, but they’ve decided they want to utilize the space for other things.

“There are options,” Janet Rine says. “We can do offices in there. Another thing that we’re looking into is maybe in a few years creating a fine dining culinary school.”

Jan Whittle, Rine’s chef and general manager at her Caffe Moderne, is especially interested in the school.

“He already knows the team he’d bring over from the UK,” she says of Whittle’s home country.

And Rine wants to use the school’s kitchen for events that could be held in the auditorium.

“It would be a place to hold parties and dances and such,” Rine says.

She’d still like to reopen a speakeasy in the space above Old Town Architectural Salvage at 126 N. St. Francis to serve steaks and seafood.

Nothing is likely to immediately happen with the former church and school, but we’ll keep you posted.

Janet Rine finds Salvation — and more work

legionThanks to Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita may once again be home to a speakeasy like ones that were here in the ’20s and ’30s.

In fact, Caffe Moderne owner Janet Rine may open one in what she says is an actual former speakeasy location.

Her husband, physician Grant Rine, has Old Town Architectural Salvage at 126 N. St. Francis, which is a former American Legion building just north of the new arena.

“The building it resides in has become too valuable,” Rine says. “We want to make better use of that store.”

churchSo this week, the Rines purchased the former Immanuel Baptist Church at 147 S. Hillside and plan to move the salvage store to the former school on the property. More on that in a minute.

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