You don’t say

“I’ll be honest: I don’t know.”

– A pleased-and-curious Brad Steven when asked how Mike’s Wine Dive wound up as one of OpenTable’s top 100 restaurants nationwide for notable wine lists

Club Indigo to become Indigo Lounge and shift to more of a cocktail lounge

WICHITA — After almost two decades in business as Club Indigo, the Old Town bar will be changing names and concepts soon, though only slightly.

Brothers Brad and Brent Steven are changing the name of the business to Indigo Lounge.

Brad Steven says the connotation of a club is a much bigger place than the 250-seat bar, which can accommodate 350 in warmer weather.

He says the new feel of the place will be more of a cocktail lounge and not as much of a nightclub. There will still be music, but it won’t be as loud. The plan is to attract a bit of an older clientele along with couples and also attract more people earlier in the evening.

Brian Arenson, who is known as DJ Overpour in Kansas City, is going to take over Indigo’s operations. He’s moving here to be managing partner.

“We want someone who can really put some TLC in the place,” Steven says. “Brent and I are going to be completely hands off pretty much.”

They’re going to concentrate on their new Hill Bar & Grill along with their more established Mike’s Wine Dive.

“That’s kind of more of the direction we’re wanting to do careerwise,” Brad Steven says. “We plan on opening more restaurants. … We’re not planning on opening any more nightclubs.”

He says they do plan to keep Indigo, though.

“We love Indigo, and we want to continue to own Indigo.”

Steven brothers plan public meeting on their new Hill Bar and Grill

WICHITA — As owners of Mike’s Wine Dive and Club Indigo, Brad and Brent Steven are already two of the most recognizable restaurateurs in Wichita.

For those who don’t know them, though, or for those who are worried about the new Hill Bar and Grill they have planned for the former Barrier’s space, the Stevens are holding a meeting there on Dec. 21.

“We really just wanted to meet with everyone and find out what their concerns are,” Brad Steven says.

He says the idea is to introduce themselves and their concept.

Some residents in the area worried about the Hill’s planned 2 a.m. closing time. Others have traffic and parking concerns.

The brothers already have proper zoning for the Hill, but they’re seeking some extra parking nearby where the owners of the building are going to raze a duplex. That area needs rezoned.

The meeting is at 4 p.m. in the building where the Hill will locate at the northeast corner of Douglas and Oliver.

Brad Steven says the idea is to meet, share plans, ease concerns and hopefully “keep everybody happy.”

Mike’s Wine Dive owners to open the Hill Bar and Grill in the former Barrier’s space

Brothers Brent (left) and Brad Steven in front of the former Barrier’s building at Douglas and Oliver, which they’re going to transform into the Hill Bar and Grill.

WICHITA — As some residents of Crown Heights are organizing a group to protest a bar and grill going in the former Barrier’s space at Douglas and Oliver, the restaurateurs hoping to open it are ready to share details.

Mike’s Wine Dive owners Brent and Brad Steven plan to open the Hill Bar and Grill — named for the hill in College Hill — in 5,100 square feet of the building in March.

Mike’s is in the center at the northwest corner of the intersection. The Hill will be on the northeast corner.

Though Brad Steven says the Hill will be a great place to catch a game, he says, “It’s not going to be a sports bar.”

“Our focus will be a wide selection of craft beers as well as American food,” he says. “Basically, we’re going to be specializing in beers the way we specialize in wine at Mike’s.”

There will be 25 beers on tap and craft beers from around the world.

Brent Steven describes it as “kind of like an ale house.”

He says the idea is “a place that’s totally different than Mike’s.”

Where Mike’s is more fine dining, he says, he and his brother envision the Hill as “more of a hangout spot.”

“It will appeal to a wider audience than Mike’s does.”

There will be seating for about 150 customers.

There will be an outside patio facing Douglas that is within the front of the building and will serve as an area for smoking. There will be another patio that wraps around the east side of the building.

There will be another 2,400 square feet left in the building for another business.

The Hill’s hours aren’t set yet, but the Stevens are thinking 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. most days and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekends.

The hours are a key issue for some residents.

“You can go on the news and see all the time what happens in Old Town at 2 a.m.,” says Melinda Foley, who is president of the Crown Heights Neighborhood Association.

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Skin Essentials moving from Happiness Plaza to Douglas and Oliver

WICHITA — Pam Spillman-Edmondson is trading Happiness for more space.

She’s moving her Skin Essentials shop from Happiness Plaza at 3555 E. Douglas to the center at the northwest corner of Douglas and Oliver. The new space, which will be next to Aspen Boutique, will open in early January.

Skin Essentials, which opened in 2007, has been in Happiness Plaza for three years.

“We like it here a lot, but we just have run out of room,” Spillman-Edmondson says.

Currently, she has less than 700 square feet. The new space, which will be in the former Beau Monde beauty bar location, is 1,300 square feet.

With the new room, Spillman-Edmondson says she plans to add four more estheticians for a total of eight. She says she’ll also add more natural and organic skincare lines and cosmetics on the retail side.

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Louie’s Coffee Dive to open in new Williams Ace Hardware in Goddard

WICHITA — A new coffee shop is going to open in the same building where the new Williams Ace Hardware is opening at 199th and U.S. 54 in Goddard next month.

Louie’s Coffee Dive is coming to the space and will have a drive-through as well.

It looks like some of the same people who once were involved in Mike’s Wine Dive and the Gaslamp Grille & Lounge in Wichita are involved in Louie’s as well.

Corey Gonzalez, the former marketing director at Mike’s and the now-closed Gaslamp, is handling a lot of the details on the opening. He didn’t return numerous calls to comment.

It sounds like former Mike’s and Gaslamp owner Whitney VinZant is a partner in this venture as well. He couldn’t be reached for comment, either.

Sources say plans call for this to be the first of a chain of Louie’s Coffee Dives.

The hardware store’s grand opening is April 13 to 15. It’s not clear when Louie’s will open.

 

Steven brothers and VinZant settle lawsuit over Mike’s Wine Dive

UPDATED — Brad and Brent Steven are now the sole owners of Mike’s Wine Dive.

Earlier this month, Have You Heard? reported that the brothers sued longtime friend and Mike’s co-founder Whitney VinZant and several other people associated with the almost 2-year-old business near Douglas and Oliver.

“We all agree that the restaurant doesn’t work with all these cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, so we need to part ways,” Brad Steven said at the time. “Either he takes full ownership or we take full ownership, and the lawsuit is to figure that out.”

The parties reached an agreement today.

“We’ve resolved it amicably,” says Joe Cassell, the Stevens’ lawyer and stepfather.

There were differences in how the brothers and VinZant wanted to run the College Hill restaurant, and there were disputes over who owned how much of the business.

The brothers have been gone from the restaurant for several weeks but are now back.

“We’re taking over the company,” Cassell says. “One hundred percent of it.”

 

Brothers Brad and Brent Steven sue Mike’s Wine Dive co-owner Whitney VinZant

WICHITA — The relationship among the partners of Mike’s Wine Dive has, to put it in the parlance of the College Hill bar and restaurant, taken a dive.

Brothers Brad and Brent Steven are suing co-founder Whitney VinZant and several other people associated with the almost 2-year-old business near Douglas and Hillside.

“We all agree that the restaurant doesn’t work with all these cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, so we need to part ways,” Brad Steven says. “Either he takes full ownership or we take full ownership, and the lawsuit is to figure that out.”

The three have been friends since high school.

VinZant, who also now owns Gaslamp Grille & Lounge, had previous restaurant experience with Old Chicago and Jimmy’s Egg. The Steven brothers have bar experience through Club Indigo, which they still own, and Backstage Bar and Grill.

The three opened Mike’s Wine Dive in spring 2010. There’s a dispute over who owned what percentage when the business opened and who owns what now.

“There’s too many operating agreements,” Brad Steven says. “Everything is screwed up.”

VinZant says the brothers have a “disregard for the changes we tried to make.”

“We tried to put in place, you know, a more robust inventory management system,” VinZant says. “I’m not going to speculate as to why or how, because frankly I don’t know, but I do know that our costs on both food and beverage costs were really high. We weren’t running the profitability levels that we should be running there.”

The Steven brothers have been gone from the restaurant for a couple of weeks. VinZant says they’d like to buy him out, but he doesn’t want to sell.

“He never really is in town, so I’m not really sure who’s operating the restaurant,” Brad Steven says.

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Southeast corner of Central and Oliver ready for development, including a restaurant

WICHITA — It’s been a long time coming, but developer Christian Ablah has acquired an entire city block on the south side of Central near Oliver and is preparing the property for development.

“I’m just basically preparing this for future development,” says Ablah, a broker with his family’s Classic Real Estate.

“I’m just trying to clean up the area,” he says. “The project’s taken a lot longer than I thought it ever would.”

Ablah is close to a deal with a restaurant that would go in the former Dillons store on the southeast corner of the intersection.

There’s talk that it could be a certain Mexican restaurant looking to expand.

“I can’t do the guessing game, but I can tell you it is a sit-down restaurant,” Ablah says.

Part of his demolition of nearby duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes is to make room for parking for the restaurant.

“All the demolition will be complete in a couple of weeks,” Ablah says.

He says any new development will complement what Nathan Toubia is doing with his Bocconcini Italian Eatery next to the former Dillons.

Ablah hopes to close on the restaurant deal in a couple of weeks, but he’s working on other leases as well.

“There’s a lot of demand right now for office — large office space — as well as retail,” Ablah says.

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Office Park Plaza to locate at former Allegiant GMAC Real Estate building

WICHITA — After sitting empty since late 2008, the red brick Colonial-style building near Douglas and Oliver has a new owner.

Contractors Christian Shomberg and Mark Eggel have bought the building at 4601 E. Douglas, where Allegiant GMAC Real Estate used to be and Associated was before that.

The two plan Office Park Plaza, which Shomberg describes as similar to Max Cole’s Office This on East Harry.

They plan to lease office spaces, which will come with desks, phones and computers, on a month-to-month basis.

“The idea is kind of staging an office,” says Shomberg, who owns other commercial and residential properties.

Shomberg also is a national contractor who paints Pizza Huts.

Eggel has M.L. Eggel Construction.

Shomberg says since the economy began struggling, he’s found that it’s easier to lease space that’s already furnished.

“This I’m taking to the next level to having everything provided,” he says.

The 12,000-square-foot building has two stories and a basement that will all be for lease.

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