U Grill to open in former Linkhaus space

WICHITA — An Oklahoma lawyer’s shopping trip to the Rock Road Sam’s Club led to him leasing the former Linkhaus space near the southwest corner of 37th Street North and Rock Road.

Will Clark was in Wichita shopping at Sam’s about six months ago.

“For some reason, I went north to 37th Street instead of south to . . . 96,” Clark says.

“It was nighttime, and I drove by the Linkhaus, and it was all lit up. And I thought, what in the world? I literally came in and bought a hot dog because I was curious about the building. I thought, that’s one heck of a building.”

He’s planning to open a fast-casual dining concept called U Grill in September.

“Basically what we’re looking at doing is like a fast food HuHot or a Genghis Grill,” Clark says.

Instead of having only rice or noodles to choose from along with grilled vegetables, U Grill will have hamburgers, cheese steak sandwiches and omelets for which customers can also select vegetables to grill.

The quarter pound burgers will be divided into two patties that are smashed and grilled quickly. The grilled vegetables will go between the patties.

Clark says he’s also getting a license for at least beer and wine and hopes to make U Grill a late-night spot for sporting events in addition to serving breakfast lunch and dinner.

“There’s a lot of potential for this area to have a after-hours place for people to gather.”

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Robert Eyster purchases the Board of Trade building and plans another renovation

WICHITA — The Board of Trade building at 120 S. Market is the latest acquisition for nascent downtown developer Robert Eyster.

“He’s planning on doing a complete remodel with it,” says Michael Ramsey, who is working with Eyster on several downtown projects.

They’re renovating and repurposing the Zelman building and the Victoria Park Apartments. They’ve also recently acquired property along Douglas Avenue between Main and Market streets where developer Kelly Donham previously had plans.

The Board of Trade renovation will be in conjunction with plans Eyster and Ramsey have for the Douglas property.

Ramsey won’t share all the details yet, but he says, “It’s following the Goody Clancy plan of changes they feel should be happening downtown.”

Part of Ramsey’s hesitation to talk just yet is due to potential city involvement.

“We’re really trying to work with the city through the project.”

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Linkhaus closes; new restaurant to open in its place

WICHITA — In March, Have You Heard? reported that Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey planned to move their Linkhaus hot dog restaurant from their building near the southwest corner of 37th Street North and Rock Road.

Last week, the restaurant closed.

“The location didn’t fit the venue,” Ramsey says.

Ramsey says a new Linkhaus at another site is still a possibility, but there are no plans for it at this time.

A new restaurant will open in the former Linkhaus space. An out-of-state operator is moving here to open it.

Look for details soon.

Burger Barn at Central and Zoo Boulevard is for sale, though not in danger of closing

WICHITA — Looking to get into the restaurant business but not quite up to taking the newly available Linkhaus space?

The Burger Barn is for sale.

Bill and Cheryl Powell own the 22-seat restaurant, though not the building, at Central and Zoo Boulevard. It’s been open for 15 months.

Winter was a little slow, Bill Powell says, but otherwise great.

“It’s been doing quite well,” he says.

Powell says he wants to sell in order be free to help some family members who are ill.

The Burger Barn will remain open until it sells.

“It’s too good of a business to be closing,” Powell says.

“It won’t be on the market long.”

Linkhaus to move; building near 37th Street North and Rock Road is available

WICHITA — Linkhaus developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey are planning to move their hot dog restaurant, which leaves their building near the southwest corner of 37th Street North and Rock Road available for another business.

“Over the past year we have seen how the market has driven us,” Ramsey says of the almost 1-year-old business.

“The market drives, at least in the hot dog-brat market . . . less of a price point,” he says. “The only way that we could capitalize on a smaller price point . . . is to decrease our overhead.”

The 3,500-square-foot, eco-friendly building with a large atrium for a dining room opened last year, but Ramsey says the hot dog and bar business didn’t draw people who wanted to stay for hours.

“It really didn’t work out as well as what we expected,” he says.

They’re not abandoning the concept, though.

“We’re certainly not dying,” Ramsey says.

He hopes to move to a strip center in the area and reduce prices.

Prices will drop starting April 2 in the current space along with an expanded menu, which will include chicken sandwiches, Angus burgers and fries.

“We’re adjusting to what the public wants,” Ramsey says.

He says a venue other than a restaurant could easily move to the Linkhaus space.

“The whole idea of the Linkhaus was the ability . . . for the concept to be modular, to be movable,” Ramsey says. “The building is that way.”

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Linkhaus developers to transform Zelman building into apartments, restaurant and office space

WICHITA — Linkhaus developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey were looking for a second site to put their hot dog restaurant last year when they toured the Zelman building downtown.

They immediately realized two things: A Linkhaus isn’t quite right for that spot, but they wanted the 15,000-square-foot building anyway.

“It was a hidden gem,” says Ramsey, who is managing partner for the restaurant and Zelman project.

“Everybody knows about the Zelman building,” he says. “It’s certainly a hometown type of story that we thought was cool.”

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that lawyer David Moses had a contract to sell the building at Douglas and St. Francis where his grandfather Sam Zelman’s namesake men’s clothing store was from the 1920s to 2006.

Eyster and Ramsey didn’t want to say much about their plans for a restaurant, apartments and office space at the property until the deal closed, which it now has.

Eyster, an orthopedic surgeon, is interested in the project for several reasons.

“It’s an opportunity,” Ramsey says. “The city and the people of Wichita have been very good to him, and he feels like it’s his responsibility to try to give back.”

Eyster likes the timing with the city’s plan for redeveloping downtown.

“It’s a great idea. I’m all for it,” he says. “If I can be part of that development, I think it will be good for me, and I think it will be hopefully good for Wichita.”

Eyster says he started Linkhaus in part to give the people who work for him something else to do, and that’s part of his thinking behind the Zelman building, too.

Also, Eyster has investments here and outside of Wichita, but he says, “I’m really interested in getting more of my investment portfolio here. I’m able to keep a close eye and be more involved.”

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