Hays Applebee’s to have Tesla charging station

teslaWICHITA — Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens is adding something new to the menu, so to speak, at his Applebee’s restaurant in Hays.

A Tesla charging station is going to be in the restaurant’s parking lot in a week or so. Tesla Motors is putting the stations from coast to coast.

“It’ll be the first Applebee‘s that’s ever had one,” Stevens says. “We have a location that’s convenient to the interstate. It’s easy on and easy off.”

He says the pricey electric vehicle is a “beautiful car.”

If Tesla owners charge at home, Stevens says, “It takes most of the night in your garage or wherever.”

At his place, he says, it takes just over half an hour.

There will be six stalls, three of which will be for Tesla drivers only. The other three can be used for Tesla charging stations or extra parking for other cars.

“There’s going to be a lot of people that just want to come see a Tesla,” Stevens says.

He figures the majority of them will probably stick around for a bite to eat.

One of these days, diners may be able to see a Stevens-owned Tesla in the lot.

“Well, at some point and time I will (have one),” Stevens says. “Online, people just rave about them. Say they’re just incredible.”

He adds, “I’m not a car guy, but you know, I’ll tell you what, to be able to drive from one coast to another and not spend a penny is pretty incredible.”

You don’t say

“I’m like an old dog. I can’t learn new tricks. I just try to remember some of the old ones.”

Applebee’s and Pie Five Pizza franchisee Jim Stevens

Wichita’s first Pie Five Pizza to open in late summer near Maple and Ridge

WICHITA — Late last year Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens told Have You Heard? that he planned to bring Pie Five Pizza to Wichita, and now he’s doing it.

Stevens’ first Wichita Pie Five will go on the lot south of his Applebee’s near Maple and Ridge Road, and it will be the first freestanding Pie Five for the Dallas-based national chain.

“I looked all over,” Stevens says of trying to find a strip center to open in. “There was nothing available.”

Stevens, who has franchise rights in Wichita and Omaha, will break ground on the 2,500-square-foot restaurant Monday.

Originally, Stevens says he had planned to do another restaurant concept, but former Applebee’s president Dave Goebel convinced him otherwise.

“I was talking to him about a different concept, and he said, ‘Well, you might want to take a look at Pie Five,’” Stevens says. “Dave is really a straight shooter.”

Stevens says he was impressed with the chain.

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Applebee’s to open in front of Warren Theatre on April 15

WICHITA — Jim Stevens is about to move his east-side Applebee’s into a new neighborhood, and he’s feeling a little nostalgic.

In November, Stevens told Have You Heard? his plans to open a new Applebee’s – one of 25 he owns – in front of the Warren Theatre at the Plazzio development at 13th and Greenwich.

That will open April 15. That means the Applebee’s near 21st and North Rock Road is closing at midnight Friday.

“This is my second Applebee’s I opened,” Stevens says of the North Rock Road restaurant.

“It was very memorable.”

Stevens says it was 1990.

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East-side Applebee’s to move to Plazzio

WICHITA — Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens soon will offer diners a chance to eat good in a new neighborhood, to borrow from the chain’s slogan.

He’s moving his Rock Road Applebee’s to the Plazzio development at the southeast corner of 13th and Greenwich.

“It probably won’t be till March of next year,” Stevens says.

“I kind of hate to close,” he says of the Applebee’s near 21st and Rock Road. “It’s still one of my better stores.”

With new car dealerships on a couple of corners of 13th and Greenwich, and restaurants, the Warren Theatre and the Alley already at Plazzio, Stevens says it “just seemed like … the right place to go.”

“There’s just so much development taking place out there,” he says.

“The whole intersection is really, really developing quickly,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

She says that “13th and Greenwich is the next 21st and Rock Road of east Wichita.”

Stevens will build the new Applebee’s between Sumo and Jose Pepper’s, which is at the light at the main entrance to the development.

The new Applebee’s will have a patio, which is a first for Stevens.

He had considered another concept – which he’s still thinking about – for the Plazzio space initially. Stevens says corporate wanted him to build a new Applebee’s prototype, though.

“They have some different things they’ve done to the bar and the inside area.”

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You don’t say

“We’ll have probably a lot of empty walls for a while.”

Applebee’s owner Jim Stevens, who is auctioning the photos and memorabilia at his Rock Road restaurant (March 24 to 31) in anticipation of an early May remodeling

Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens to remodel 24 restaurants

WICHITA — The design of the Applebee’s at Maple and Ridge has been so popular — some people even drive past an Applebee’s elsewhere to get to that one — owner Jim Stevens has decided to remodel his other 24 restaurants.

“They will be pretty much remodeled to look quite a bit like that one,” Stevens says.

That Applebee’s opened in late 2009.

Remodeling at the other restaurants, which will take three years to complete, will cost about $200,000 per restaurant.

Stevens will begin the remodeling next month with the Andover Applebee’s. Either the South Broadway or Rock Road Applebee’s remodel will follow.

Each restaurant will have to shut down for three days during the remodeling.

The restaurants will get new signs, lights, wall coverings, furniture and paint.

The bar areas will be remodeled, and there will be new pictures and artifacts throughout.

“The look with pictures on every square inch of our wall will go away,” Stevens says.

“That’s kind of a dated look. . . . It’s kind of had it’s day.”

Stevens expects the remodeling to boost sales.

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West-side Two Brothers BBQ and Burger Grill to move to former Applebee’s space

WICHITA — Tom Ryan hasn’t wasted any time moving on to a new project since opening his latest Two Brothers BBQ and Burger Grill.

He opened that restaurant on the northwest corner of Douglas and Hillside in late November.

Now, Ryan is making plans to move his Two Brothers at 8406 W. Central to the former Applebee’s space at 6730 W. Central just east of Ridge Road.

“It’s just about the same size,” Ryan says. However, he says, “The numbers will be better.”

Ryan is subleasing his current space from Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens, who offered him the new lease with an option to buy the building.

That’s part of what makes the lease attractive, Ryan says.

“We’ll take a look at it for about three years and see where we are.”

He’ll make a few changes when he moves to the new space in early April.

There will no longer be a buffet at dinner.

“It’s just very difficult to make a decent margin,” Ryan says.

He’ll offer an expanded menu in the evenings, which will include steaks and seafood.

Even though Ryan is looking ahead to his next space, he’s hoping people focus on his new restaurant on Douglas in the meantime.

“I truly believe that there’s a lot of folks that don’t know we’re open.”

This will be it on new projects for Ryan for a while.

“I don’t like to be stretched thin,” he says. “I’m much more conservative in my old age. We’re going to hang loose for a while and run our businesses.”

You don’t say

“I don’t care if it never snows again.”

—Restaurateur Jim Stevens, who owns numerous concepts including the local Applebee’s franchise, on how much snow hurts his business