Thompson and former Wichitan Doug Glendenning and a private New York equity firm own 23 Firebirds Wood Fired Grills and have six more under construction.
Thompson, who founded the company in 2000 in Charlotte, N.C., planned to go to Oklahoma City and Tulsa next but changed his mind.
“I happened to be in Wichita for a class reunion,” he says.
While here, Thompson toured the former Brooks Brothers store at the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road.
The 7,650-square-foot space is on the corner of the retail section of the Waterfront and is known for its decorative domed roof.
“It’s the most prominent spot in the retail center,” says the Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II.
Glendenning, the former president of Lone Star, calls the Waterfront “one of the best areas in the greater Wichita area for sure.”
“I used to live just a couple of blocks from there, so I know that area very well,” he says.
Glendenning is a founder of Firebirds, too, but he says Thompson really created it.
Thompson’s Aspen home inspired what initially was a Colorado lodge theme.
“Over time … it’s evolved,” Glendenning says. “It’s a lot less Colorado feel and more just kind of upscale casual.”
“The theme is based around steaks, but we’re not perceived necessarily as a steakhouse,” Thompson says.
There are lots of wood-fired dishes, many of which have a southwestern flair.