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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You don’t say

“I gave that up at home. I don’t know why I wouldn’t do it here.”

Melad Stephan, joking about doing laundry at his Oeno Wine Bar in Old Town Square after some freshly washed, hot rags created a smoky haze Monday

Melad Stephan to debut Schwarma Truck

WICHITA — You knew it was just a matter of time.

The ubiquitous Melad Stephan has done just about everything else related to food – bars, restaurants, catering – so naturally now he’s going to have a food truck, too.

“I’m pretty much about 90 percent done with the deal,” he says.

He hopes to debut his Schwarma Truck in November. Stephan plans to sell dishes popular in his native Lebanon, including chicken and beef schwarma, gyros, falafel, hummus and fattoush, among other things.

Like the other popular food trucks spinning about town, Stephan will rotate his among businesses and events.

“We’ll definitely want to do one day in Old Town and compete with myself, right?” he says, joking about his Old Town businesses – Sabor Latin Bar & Grille, Luca Italian Kitchen, Oeno Wine Bar, Caffe Moderne, the coming Revolution Rock Bar and his Empire Catering at Eaton Place.

“I got too much going on, don’t I?” Stephan says. “Honestly, it’s just one of my kid’s idea.”

His son Jordan, 21, will operate the truck.

“He’s been bugging me about it for a couple of months,” Stephan says. “I’m just going to let him live the American dream.”

The food business is not Stephan’s dream for his children.

“I didn’t think I wanted any of my kids to do what I do,” he says.

It’s happening anyway, at least with one of them.

“I don’t know, must be in the blood or something,” he says.

Melad Stephan to open Revolution Rock Bar and move Empire Catering into Eaton Place

WICHITA — Melad Stephan is growing his Old Town empire, literally and figuratively.

Stephan’s Empire Catering is moving into Eaton Place at Douglas and St. Francis where Eaton Steakhouse used to be.

“We’re really going to attack the catering big time,” he says.

Instead of spending money to put in a kitchen there, Stephan is taking over the former Whiskey Creek space, which most recently was the Air Capital Grill, to use that kitchen for all his catering.

In the front of that space, which is at 233 N. Mosley, Stephan is putting in a bar called Revolution Rock Bar.

The building isn’t as visible as some restaurants in Old Town.

“It’s more like a bar-hopping place,” Stephan says of that area. “By putting a bar in there, it fits right in there with the other bars.”

Unlike Stephan’s Oeno Wine Bar in Old Town Square, which caters to an age 30-and-up crowd, Revolution will cater to a younger set.

“We’re going to do some exciting things in the front of the building to attract people in,” Stephan says. “We’re going to play music from the ’80s and things like that.”

He’ll have a DJ and show music videos on the wall.

The bar should open by early October.

Stephan hopes to open at the Eaton by early September.

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Press to close at the Waterfront; new business to open in its place

WICHITA — If you’re one of the people who purchased a Groupon from Press, you’d better use it soon.

Aug. 6 is the Waterfront bar’s last day in business.

“As of August sixth . . . something is going to happen there,” owner Melad Stephan says.

He has three offers for the space — two are local, one isn’t. The potential owners have three different ideas: One wants a restaurant, one wants a bistro-style business and one wants a combination bar and restaurant.

Stephan isn’t sure which one he — or his landlords — will accept. He’s hoping to get out of his lease, which still has four and a half years.

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Oeno Wine Bar expands with the Champagne Room for private parties

WICHITA — Way back in February, Have You Heard? told you of restaurateur Melad Stephan’s expansion plans for his Oeno Wine Bar in Old Town Square.

Now, part of those plans are almost ready.

Stephan is opening the Champagne Room immediately east of the bar area for private parties.

He’s been doing a lot of private parties at Oeno, but he has to close the bar to regular customers, which he hates to do.

The new room, which will have its own bar, will seat about 70 and should be ready next week.

Stephan had also hoped to expand his patio, but it looks like the city might not allow him to do it. He’s waiting on a letter from the city to learn why.

Stephan isn’t giving up on the city reversing its decision, though.

“There’s a chance.”

Oeno Wine Bar to expand in Old Town

WICHITA — Oeno Wine Bar is expanding.

The Old Town bar currently has 3,500 square feet and a 60-seat outdoor patio.

Owner Melad Stephan is now subleasing an extra 2,000 square feet behind Oeno from Associated advertising next door.

He’ll use 800 square feet for a party room.

Stephan isn’t sure what he’ll use the rest of the space for.

“I’ve got to figure out, what’s Old Town need?”

That could be a small grocery, which Stephan says Old Town sorely needs.

“It has to be the right spot.”

Or he may turn the space into a smoking lounge.

Stephan also now will be able to extend his patio even further for another 40 or so seats.

He says that will allow him to hire regional music groups that draw more people.

“That’s going to be a huge patio.”