You don’t say

“We performed the wedding in the kitchen area. It was darn cold everyplace else.”

– Retired Judge David Dewey on the recent wedding he performed in the vacant former McDonald’s on West 13th Street, which is where the couple met several years earlier

Four of six Kansas Turnpike service stations to change either food or fuel options

WICHITA — A disappointed traveler noticed the McDonald’s has closed at the Matfield Green service station along the Kansas Turnpike, but he’s happy to see a Dunkin’ Donuts will be opening there.

It’ll actually be a combination Dunkin’ Donuts and Hardee’s restaurant. Four of the six service stations along the turnpike are undergoing changes.

“The contract was up,” says Lisa Callahan, the Kansas Turnpike Authority’s director of public relations.

There was a new bidding process, which is what’s leading to the changes.

The Towanda service station also is converting from a McDonald’s to a combination Hardee’s and Dunkin Donuts.

The McDonald’s restaurants at the Lawrence and Belle Plaine service stations were the successful bidders and will remain in those stations.

Some fuel operating partners are changing, though.

Like the previous contracts, the new ones are for 10 years.

Callahan says KTA owns the land and buildings for the stations, but its business partners operate them.

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McDonald’s by 13th and Woodlawn to close

UPDATED — As aging McDonald’s sites around the city are torn down and rebuilt in the chain’s latest style, there’s one that will be torn down and not rebuilt at the same spot.

The McDonald’s on Woodlawn just south of 13th Street, which has been there for 40 years, will close late next month.

“In the short term, yes, unfortunately, we’re closing at that location,” says Dale Carter, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Vicki.

He says the lot isn’t big enough to handle the new McDonald’s model or he would rebuild there.

“I would love to, yes,” Carter says. “We’ve watched our kids and a heck of a lot of other kids grow up visiting that McDonald’s.”

The Carters own five of the city’s couple of dozen McDonald’s restaurants.

Carter says brokers have been looking for a new site for him.

“We just haven’t been able to find a suitable location,” he says. “Ultimately, it’s McDonald’s decision. At this point, McDonald’s is not comfortable that they have the right spot.”

The Carters have owned the Woodlawn McDonald’s since 1997. It will close after business on March 26.

“Personally, it’s very tough for us to do,” Carter says. “We will miss being there.”

Augusta McDonald’s to reopen March 15 — which is big news for the city

WICHITA — Several McDonald’s locations around Wichita have remodeled or rebuilt, which isn’t necessarily big news.

If a temporarily closed McDonald’s is in a smaller city such as Augusta, though, it’s huge news.

“It’s the talk of the town,” says Jennifer Lane, whose family owns and operates the restaurant.

“I see people parked across the street,” she says.

Some just watch the construction. Others take pictures.

Others have had to find alternative meeting places during the restaurant’s reconstruction.

“I think they might have been having some coffee shops in their houses,” Lane says.

Even Lane’s family – the ones who don’t own the restaurant – are getting in on it.

“Well, I stopped by, checked on everything,” Lane’s father, John Tipton, informed her while she was out of town. “Seems to be doing pretty good.”

By the time the restaurant reopens on March 15, construction will have lasted less than two months.

“We’re setting a record for the region on this build,” Lane says.

Wichita’s Petra construction company is the contractor.

“I can’t even speak highly enough of them,” Lane says.

There’s a ribbon cutting on March 14. Retired employee Claudette Williams, who is 94, will do the honors. She’s thinking she may want to stay around and return to work.

Williams and her daughter occasionally make the drive from Wichita “to check on everything,” Lane says.

She says Williams has told her: “I don’t think anybody should retire. I just don’t like it at all.”

Lane says the new McDonald’s, which is still at 520 W. Seventh St., will have “a very crisp, clean look” with modern, sleek lines and fewer pictures on the walls.

Though the busy Lane undoubtedly will be happy to have the restaurant open once again, the temporary closure has offered an opportunity for her to see how important the restaurant is in Augusta.

“It’s really cool.”


McDonald’s on West 13th Street gets facelift in preparation for possible new occupant

WICHITA — There’s been a lot of activity at the former McDonald’s on West 13th Street near Johnson’s Garden Centers, but there’s not yet a new business for the space.

“I’m just fixing it up for somebody that wants to rent it or buy it,” says owner Romualdo Lopez.

He says he’s put about $75,000 into the space.

That includes a new roof, facade and a general cleaning of the space.


Lil Joe’s Dyne Quik closes after less than a year in business

WICHITA — Lil Joe’s Dyne Quik owner Richard Jack has given up.

Tuesday was the last day of business for the restaurant at 1202 N. Broadway.

Jack and his family did extensive work on the building before opening it nine months ago.

Dyne Quik is one of the city’s few remaining Valentine restaurants — metal, mobile diners that Wichita’s Valentine Manufacturing built between 1938 and 1971.

Jack says the location wasn’t right, though.

“I got tired of the prostitutes and the homeless people and the vagrants bugging customers,” he says.

Then, when the police would come to deal with those individuals, Jack says, they blocked his driveway.

There were other issues as well, he says.

“People are too used to going to McDonald’s and Burger King. They can drive through. Here, they have to pull up and actually walk in the building.”

Jack says he had a number of loyal customers — whom he says he especially appreciates – but not enough of them.

Moving the restaurant to another location is a possibility.

“Anywhere but here,” Jack says. “I loved cooking.”

Remaining open where he was is not an option.

“Sooner or later you get tired of hitting your head against the wall.”


Hey, what’s going on there . . . ?

UPDATED — There are several pockets of activity that have readers wondering what’s going on. Here’s an update — or, in some cases, a reminder.

– There’s more construction happening near where the new LongHorn Steakhouse has been built in front of the Lowe’s near 29th and Maize, but it’s not for another restaurant or shop.

It’s simply an extra parking lot behind the steak house, which will be opening soon.

– Colorado-based Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage is close to opening in the former Borders Books space at 1715 N. Rock Road.

The grocery will open Nov. 23. The chain’s first Kansas store opened Nov. 11, 2010, in Lawrence.

The store sells organic produce, gluten-free products and offers nutritional education and counseling.

What shoppers won’t find is anything with high-fructose corn syrup, sugar substitutes or hydrogenated oils, among other things, which — as a spokeswoman puts it— makes studying labels a little easier.

Right at Home, which offers in-home care and assistance, has moved just down from where it’s been in the shopping center on the northwest corner of 21st and Ridge.

The business this week moved into the former Ruthie’s Hallmark space, which offers more room.

– Finally, except for Chick-fil-A questions, the most popular question we’ve heard lately is, “What’s that building by the McDonald’s at 21st and Rock?”

Laham Development is building a new retail center at Tallgrass Plaza, which is at the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road where a BP filling station used to be.

Vitamin Shoppe is the first announced tenant for the 6,200-square-foot center. Look for an announcement on the second tenant soon.