Jason-Paul Febres to open second Taste & See in part of former Doc Howard’s space

UPDATED – Jason-Paul Febres is heading back to Old Town.

“Now I’m moving back to my roots,” says the man who became known as Sabor Latin Bar & Grille’s first executive chef.

The Venezuela native is returning to Old Town with his own place — a second Taste & See.

“Well, first of all, it’s about time,” Febres says. “I don’t think it was a matter of if we were going to expand. It was a matter of when we were going to expand.”

Febres is taking 4,532 square feet at 252 N. Mosley, which is part of the space developer Dave Burk is converting at the former Doc Howard’s Lounge building.

“I love Old Town,” Febres says. “I like the crowded scene. That’s what I’m made for.”

Febres bounced around to various restaurants before opening Taste & See with a partner at Office This in the former Wichita Mall. Febres says he plans to keep that site, which will be open for lunch, classes and private events. It will be known as Taste & See The Venue.

The new Taste & See will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Febres is planning a “very, very upscale tapas lounge” and “a beautiful patio.”

He’s also working on a new menu.

“It’s going to be a little more out there, and it’s going to be more fun,” Febres says. “I’m going to have the chance to play with more food than I was able to.”

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Taste & See owner Jason-Paul Febres to appear on Spike’s “Bar Rescue”

Jason-Paul Febres

WICHITA — Taste & See owner and chef Jason-Paul Febres has always wanted to be on TV, but he couldn’t believe it when he got a call from the Spike television network a couple of months ago.

“They called me, which was surprising. I didn’t even have to call them.”

A Spike representative wondered if Febres might like to discuss appearing as a guest expert on “Bar Rescue,” which is similar to shows such as “Restaurant Impossible” and “Kitchen Nightmares” that feature experts trying to help struggling restaurants.

So Febres submitted a video and did an interview but didn’t allow himself to get his hopes up, so he was shocked when Spike called back to inform him he’d been selected.

“I was freaking out. I jumped out of the shower and was screaming.”

The Caracas, Venezuela, native, came to Wichita in 2006 and says he thinks Spike was interested in him because “Bar Rescue” was looking for a chef with Latin flair.

Though the show helps business owners, it’s not always in the nicest ways possible.

“It is pretty explicit, which is fun,” Febres says. “It’s pretty out there. They like to do everything controversial. Pretty dramatic, ‘Jersey Shore’ style.”

Febres flies to Los Angeles Jan. 7 for a week of filming at a yet-to-be-named restaurant.

He admits he won’t be shy about telling others what to do.

“I’m very particular about the way I run my businesses.”

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Taste & See Everyday Gourmet to expand with market and new dining room

WICHITA — Jason-Paul Febres is expanding his Taste & See Everyday Gourmet in a couple of ways.

The business, which is in Office This at 3825 E. Harry, is part restaurant and part cooking school. Now, it’s going to have a small retail area as well.

“It’s like a market … to sell our signature products,” Febres says. He says customers “keep asking repeatedly (so) we decided to do it.”

For instance, Febres says, customers go crazy for his cilantro lime aioli.

“The way people react when they eat it is very funny,” he says. “They make noises. … It’s ridiculous.”

The products will be made fresh daily, and Febres says if they don’t immediately sell, he’ll use them at the restaurant.

Febres says other businesses have approached him about selling his products as well, but he’s not ready to announce anything.

The market will feature a type of cart that Febres compares to an old-style European market cart. The market area also will have a refrigerator for perishables.

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Pitas & Paninis closes; Roni Attari continues catering

WICHITA — Pitas & Paninisbrief existence has come to an end.

Owner Roni Attari opened the restaurant on Tyler just south of Central with Jason-Paul Febres as Yuca Latin Bistro. He then parted with Febres during the April 2010 opening and changed the name in December.

Now, he says he’s going to concentrate on catering.

“I just couldn’t give the restaurant, you know, 100 percent of my time,” Attari says.

Help was an issue, he says.

“If I wasn’t there (food) wasn’t coming out the same way.”

In addition to continuing his own catering, Attari will handle catering for his uncles, Tony Abdayem, who owns La Galette, and John Abdayem, who owns T.J.’s Burger House.

“That way (customers) just have more variety of what to order,” Attari says.

He says he prefers catering to running a restaurant. He says there’s more flexibility with catering and a better profit margin, too.

Not that he wouldn’t consider opening another restaurant. Attari says he’ll consider it very carefully before trying again, though.

Yuca Latin Bistro moves forward as Yuca Bistro, minus chef Jason-Paul Febres

WICHITA — Monday was supposed to be the grand opening of the new Yuca Latin Bistro, which Jason-Paul Febres and Roni Attari planned for the former Quiznos building on Tyler just south of Central.

The two chefs have parted ways, though.

“I’ll be honest,” Attari says. “It’s probably better that we didn’t make it to opening day.

“If there’s a disagreement in the beginning, there might be a bigger disagreement in the end.”

That’s the one thing on which he and Febres apparently agree.

“We definitely have to be (on) the same page to open the restaurant,” Febres says.

“We were ready, ready, ready to open,” he says.

Food already was coming in.

The two couldn’t agree on several things, though, such as a final menu.

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Yuca Latin Bistro may or may not open on Tyler

WICHITA — Today was supposed to be the grand opening of the new Yuca Latin Bistro, which Jason-Paul Febres and Roni Attari planned for the former Quiznos building on Tyler just south of Central.

The restaurant didn’t open as planned, and it’s unclear whether it will in that space.

A Yuca representative posted something on Facebook to say that the restaurant wouldn’t be opening in that space.

There are some last-minute negotiations taking place, though.

Febres promises more on the story Tuesday. Check back here for more information.

Jason-Paul Febres and Roni Attari to open Latin restaurant near Central and Tyler

WICHITA — Jason-Paul Febres once again has left Sabor Latin Bar & Grille.

Last year at about this time, he left to start his own restaurant amid differences with owner Melad Stephan, but another restaurateur nabbed the space he wanted.

Febres and Stephan reconciled, and Febres returned to Sabor last summer.

Now, he’s teaming with Roni Attari, another employee of Stephan’s Empire Restaurant Management, to open Yuca Latin Bistro.

The restaurant, which will offer Latin fusion food, will open within a month in the former Quiznos building on Tyler just south of Central.

“Everybody was telling me, ‘Open on the east side! Open on the east side!’ ” Febres says. “But I guess the west side has a lot of potential.”

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Sabor Latin Bar & Grille closes at the Waterfront

– Despite numerous protestations that it wouldn’t happen, the east-side Sabor Latin Bar & Grille has closed.

When first contacted late last year about whether the restaurant was closing, owner Melad Stephan had a good laugh over how rumors get started.

Then last month, Sabor district executive chef Jason-Paul Febres said those rumors would disappear for good with some changes that were coming to the restaurant.

But Saturday was its last day in business.

“I just got fed up with it, not having the sales,” Stephan says. “It’s cheaper right now for me to shut it.”

He has five years left on his lease.

“I need to visit with my partners about it to see what we might want to do.”

Selling is an option.

“I’m willing to entertain an offer,” Stephan says. “I’m willing to walk away.”

He’s also considering bringing a franchise to the space.

The fondue restaurant the Melting Pot is his most likely choice.

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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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Sabor chef Jason-Paul Febres is eager to return

WICHITA — Venezuela native Jason-Paul Febres says he always knew he would return to Sabor, which he left in February after differences with owner Melad Stephan.

“It’s part of my beginning here in Wichita,” Febres says. “That place, I love it.”

He still wants his own restaurant one day, but Febres says he also hopes to eventually have ownership in Sabor and use successes with a chain of the restaurants to start his own venture.

As for Stephan saying Febres had some growing up to do, Febres says perhaps they both did.

“It’s getting to an agreement,” Febres says. “We both got on the same page.”