Laham Development starts new development; LongHorn Steakhouse is first tenant

WICHITA — Construction has begun at Laham Development’s latest development, which is on almost six acres at the northwest corner of Kellogg and Towne East Mall Drive.

LongHorn Steakhouse is the first tenant to sign a lease there. The chain already has a Wichita site on the west side near 21st and Maize Road.

Its east-side restaurant will be 6,200 square feet, which will allow for more than 240 diners, and will open in September.

On property next to Laham’s, Old Chicago is already in business, and further east BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse is under construction.

Other deals are in the works for the new development, says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development, which also has Bradley Fair, Regency Lakes and Plazzio among other developments.

“We have had interest from several different groups for different types of businesses,” Erickson says. “We’re evaluating all our options.”

That could be more restaurants, retail or even a hotel.

“We hope to have announcements on some of the other parcels later this summer.”

Former Brews Brothers Ice House Bar and Grill owner buys west-side Emerson Biggins

WICHITA — Former Brews Brothers Ice House Bar and Grill partner Luis Lopez has purchased the west-side Emerson Biggins near 21st and Maize Road.

The Old Town Emerson Biggins is a separately owned business.

By May 9, Lopez hopes to have most of the old Brews Brothers menu in place.

“We’re going to have the same fun food and the same great times that we had at the Brews Brothers bar and grill.”

That includes dishes such as his pork chili, fried flour tacos, sweet pepper pastrami sandwich and signature Reuben.

“I thought I was going to change the name, but we decided to keep it Emerson Biggins,” Lopez says.

He says he gave up his two Brews Brothers restaurants, which were near 13th and Tyler and South Seneca and I-235, to concentrate on nine Burger King restaurants.

“I didn’t have the flexibility to run all of them.”

At the time, similar restaurants such as Old Chicago were expanding to more Wichita locations.

“I had a better opportunity with the Burger Kings.”

Now, he thinks his opportunity is with Emerson Biggins. Lopez would like to open one on the east side in 2013 followed by one in Hutchinson.

Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge closes

WICHITA — A Wichita institution has come to an end.

Saturday was the last day of business for Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge.

“I guess you could say we were pretty underfunded from the beginning,” owner Michael Redick says.

Redick bought the business at 2121 N. Tyler in February 2011 from longtime owner Tommy D’Annunzio.

D’Annunzio and Sonny Glennon, who owns Scotch & Sirloin, started the business as Tom & Sonny’s at Douglas and West Street in 1979.

“We were trying to revitalize it,” Redick says. “It was taking a legend on the west side and, you know, give it its life back.”

Redick says he had no choice but to renovate.

“It was just an aged building,” he says. The remodel “ate up all of our working capital.”

The 7,000-square-foot space is twice what Redick says he needed.

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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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Palmers Grill to open in former Fritz Co. Grille space near K-96 and Webb Road

WICHITA — The investors who recently purchased the former Fritz Co. Grille space near K-96 and Webb Road have a tenant for the space.

Trey Dower, who has a long history as an Old Chicago manager for several locations, is opening Palmers Grill where Fritz used to be.

“It’s pretty much ready to go,” he says of the space.

He’s painted quite a bit, but he’s not doing too much else right now.

“It’s like buying an older house. When you start tearing into things, you find more than you want,” Dower says. “We’re really going to kind of live with it before we make further changes.”

The restaurant will serve burgers, sandwiches, steaks, pasta and salad.

Dower is calling it Palmers after “an old family name on my wife’s side.”

Picking a name “was probably the hardest part. It was kind of nuts.”

Picking a location was easier.

“I always liked the building,,” Dower says. “It’s unique for restaurants anymore.”

Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

Dower likes the layout of the former Fritz space and the two private dining rooms, which seat 40 and 12.

The main dining room seats 100, and the bar seats 50. There are another 32 seats on a patio and a deck.

New neighbor Menards is another factor in Dower’s decision to locate there, as is the road that connects that stretch of businesses to the businesses near Golf Warehouse.

“It was a dead end road before the Menards was built,” Dower says.

Look for the restaurant to open around the end of February.

City prepares to market two valuable properties at and near Kellogg and Rock

WICHITA — The city is getting ready to market two parcels of land that many developers would consider some the most enticing commercial acreage in Wichita.

The city owns 5.46 acres where the Village Fashion Center used to be on the northeast corner of Kellogg and Towne East Drive just west of the new Old Chicago.

It also has 2.91 acres on the northwest corner of Kellogg and Rock where the La Quinta and the former Old Chicago used to be.

“It’s valuable,” says John Philbrick, the city’s real estate administrator.

“It’s got good exposure, good location, high traffic counts.”

The city bought the properties when it was widening Kellogg but no longer needs them.

Philbrick says before deciding to sell, the city considered other options for the land.

“We take a look at potential city uses before we put something on the market,” he says.

The city has chosen a real estate broker to handle the listings, but Philbrick says he can’t say who it is until there’s final approval from the Wichita City Council.

The city already passed on some opportunities to sell the properties.

“We’ve had some offers, but at the time, the property was being used so we . . . rejected the offers,” Philbrick says.

Look for more news on the properties soon.

Reflection Ridge Chiropractic to open Monday

WICHITA — The new Reflection Ridge Chiropractic opens Monday near the northeast corner of 21st and Tyler behind Old Chicago.

Chiropractors Chris Kabler and Jason Armstrong are merging their practices into Kabler’s approximately 2,700 square feet there.

The two have practicing here for more than 20 years.

Kabler says the merger will allow them to expand services and patient care.

Brooke Armstrong, Jason Armstrong’s wife and the office manager for Armstrong Chiropractic, says there will always be a doctor on call.

“Which is going to be wonderful for patients because pain obviously doesn’t take a vacation.”

She says hours will expand as well.

Hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Previously, both chiropractors took certain days of the week off. Now, someone will be available to see patients throughout the entire week.

Kabler and a partner own the building where his Kabler Chiropractic is and where Reflection Ridge Chiropractic will be.

“I’m hoping that in a couple of years that we are both so busy that we don’t have a choice but to add on.”