Contractor Larry Cook files mechanics lien against YO-B owner Nabil Bacha

WICHITA — Contractor Larry Cook has filed a mechanics lien against YO-B owner Nabil Bacha for $87,882.

On the advice of his attorney, Cook says he won’t comment, but Bacha has plenty to say.

“The construction was embarrassing,” Bacha says of Cook’s work on the new Old Town Square restaurant, which opened in February in the former Luca Italian Kitchen space, which previously was Uptown Bistro.

Bacha, who also owns Cafe Bel Ami, says it took Cook “seven months to do four walls” during which time he saw three other area restaurants either renovated or opened.

“I don’t know why that’s such a hard time for him to do. Maybe he should not be in the construction business to start with.”

Cook’s attorney, Frank Ojile, doesn’t address specific claims by Bacha, but he says that “basically, we deny his claims.”

“My client hasn’t been paid, and we filed the mechanics lien, and I probably won’t have further comment … because of possible future litigation.”

Bacha says renovating the space for YO-B, a burger and yogurt restaurant, was supposed to be an $80,000 project and was to be completed by Oct. 15.

Cook “never delivered,” Bacha says.

“I had to have him redo so many things that were wrong,” he says. “Nothing was going right.”

Bacha says he paid almost $79,000 and then Cook told him he needed more money. Bacha says Cook kept changing the amount.

Bacha says he pointed out issues with the bill, and he says Cook told him he would take care of them. Instead, Bacha says, he got the lien.

“All of a sudden, that’s what I saw.”

In addition to saying he doesn’t owe Cook anything more, Bacha says he lost a lot of money due to the delays, and he’s left disillusioned with the process.

“I’m professional. I have never been through something like this.”

YO-B still opening in Old Town Square

WICHITA — Cafe Bel Ami owner Nabil Bacha is still planning to open YO-B in the former Luca Italian Kitchen space in Old Town Square, but when?

“Good question,” he says.

Bacha says he’s no closer to naming an opening date than when he announced the venture in August.

First, he thought the gourmet burger and yogurt business would open in mid October. When that didn’t happen, Bacha predicted mid November. That’s not going to happen, either.

“I would hate to tell anybody anything because I already failed twice,” Bacha says.

He says a reasonable guess would be December.

“Things are going very slowly right now.”

Bacha says he has many things on order.

“We’ve taken everything out, and we’re redoing everything.”

Yo-B diners will have the option of ordering from a kiosk. Bacha says he’s trying to be trendy and appeal to young customers.

“It is just a simple concept,” he says.

Opening, though, is not so simple, and that’s why Bacha says “it’s just kind of scary to pinpoint a date.”

Luca Italian Kitchen closes; YO-B to open

UPDATED — Melad Stephan has sold his Luca Italian Kitchen.

Another downtown restaurateur, Nabil Bacha, took possession of it this afternoon.

“We wanted to bring something a bit different,” says Bacha, who owns Cafe Bel Ami at 229 E. William.

He considered doing something possibly called Bel Ami Bistro, which would have been similar to Stephan’s popular Uptown Bistro that was at the entrance to Old Town Square before Luca.

Bacha decided that’s too much like what is already in Old Town, though.

“They’re all competing against each other,” he says of sit-down restaurants there. “There’s just too many.”

Bacha decided to go another route with yogurt, custard and one really, really tasty burger, which he says will be similar to the popular In-N-Out Burger on the West Coast.

The name is tentatively YO-B, for yogurt and burgers.

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Cafe Bel Ami resolves its lawsuit over parking at the O’Rourke Title Building

UPDATED — Cafe Bel Ami’s parking situation at the O’Rourke Title Building finally is resolved, although so far no one is sharing details.

Restaurant owner Nabil Bacha filed a lawsuit against his landlord at the building at 229 E. William after reserved signs were placed on certain parking spots that he says his customers have a right to use.

Through an e-mail, Simon Palmer Properties says there’s now “an amicable resolution,” although president Troy Palmer won’t elaborate on it.

Bacha didn’t return calls for comment, but his attorney, Harry Najim, says, “It is a fair and equitable resolution of the lawsuit.”

The Simon Palmer e-mail regarding the resolution says: “The building owners are pleased to have one of Wichita’s Finest Downtown Restaurant as a long-term tenant.”

Go! Steaks and Cafe Bel Ami owner Nabil Bacha is working on a new project

WICHITA — Some west-siders were disappointed when Nabil Bacha closed Go! Steaks near 21st and Tyler, but there’s hope for the future.

“The concept might resurface, but not anytime soon,” Bacha says. “I’m already deep into a different project. I don’t know if I can do two at the same time.”

Bacha, who also owns Cafe Bel Ami downtown, started Go! Steaks seven years ago to sell and deliver steaks and sides. He hoped to create a chain.

He’ll revisit the concept after getting his next project off the ground. Bacha isn’t sharing details about it yet.

“It’s kind of still … hush-hush.”

There’s little Christmas cheer in the parking lot at Cafe Bel Ami downtown

WICHITA — The parking situation still isn’t resolved at Cafe Bel Ami.

Cafe Bel Ami owner Nabil Bacha recently filed a lawsuit against his landlord at the O’Rourke Title Building at 229 E. William after reserved signs were placed on certain parking spots that he says his customers have a right to use.

Simon Palmer Properties president Troy Palmer, who manages the property, said he hoped to have the situation resolved in a matter of days. That was in late October.

“Tell him Christmas is coming, too, OK?” said Bacha’s attorney, Harry Najim, at the time.

Najim was successful in getting a restraining order that forced Palmer to remove the reserved signs. The situation was only temporary until a hearing last month.

As Palmer says, “Yes, Christmas is coming, and the signs are back up.”

Cafe Bel Ami owner sues landlord and property manager over parking

WICHITA — The owner of Cafe Bel Ami is in a parking dispute with his landlord and the company that manages the O’Rourke Title Building at 229 E. William, where the downtown restaurant is located.

Nabil Bacha filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court after reserved signs were placed on certain parking spots that he says his customers have a right to use.

Harry Najim, Bacha’s lawyer, says his client has nonexclusive use of the entire parking lot during certain hours and that reserved signs hinder that.

He says customers “don’t want to go in the restaurant and come back and find their car gone.”

Troy Palmer, president of Simon Palmer Properties, says he can’t discuss the dispute much beyond saying that there is one.

“We really hope to have it resolved before Friday,” he says. “We’re still kind of negotiating.”

There’s a temporary restraining order that forced Palmer to remove the reserved signs for now. A hearing is set for Friday.

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