Paul Cohlmia’s east-side Riverside restaurant to reopen on the south side

WICHITA — Paul Cohlmia is reopening his east-side restaurant, but not on the east side.

He’s opening Riverside Cafe South in the center on the southwest corner of Pawnee and Meridian. The almost-3,000-square-foot space has been home to a number of restaurants.

“For my customers, I think I’m hitting a niche right over there,” Cohlmia says.

Still, he’s sorry for his east-side customers.

“I tried to find something, but I couldn’t, really,” he says of economical space.

Cohlmia had to close Riverside Too at 924 S. Woodlawn because he says Dollar General is interested in putting a store there.

His original Riverside Cafe is in Riverside, and he has one in Derby as well.

The south-side restaurant will open sometime in April.

“We miss our customers out east,” Cohlmia says. He hopes they come to the new restaurant, as some of them having been doing at his other restaurants.

“Some of them have been coming in, thank goodness.”

Riverside Too may have to move

WICHITA — It looks like Riverside Too at 924 S. Woodlawn may need a new home.

Dollar General is interested in putting a store at the intersection of Lincoln and Woodlawn.

Paul Cohlmia, whose original Riverside Cafe is in Riverside, opened the second one in the former Livingston’s Cafe in 2010.

If the Dollar General deal happens, it sounds like he most likely will try to keep Riverside Too open in another spot.

We’ll let you know what happens.

New York Times review surprises Minh Hoa Restaurant & Cajun Seafood owner; Wichita surprises restaurant reviewer

UPDATED — Wichitans were surprised to find a New York Times review over the weekend of Minh Hoa Restaurant & Cajun Seafood. No one was more surprised than Sarah Vo, who owns the Wichita restaurant at 1556 N. Broadway.

“Everybody asks me the same question,” Vo says. “Do I have connections?”

She doesn’t, but Bonnie Bing does.

Bing, The Eagle’s recently retired fashion writer, is friends with freelance writer Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, who wrote the review and also is the author of “A Tiger in the Kitchen.”

“I went to Wichita for one reason: Bonnie Bing,” Tan says.

She and Houston Chronicle food editor Greg Morago know Bing from when she used to cover Fashion Week in New York, and for years they said they planned to visit Wichita.

“When I heard she retired this year, I thought this is finally the year,” Tan says.

Bonnie Bing (center) with friends Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Greg Morago.

She spent a week just “to kind of get away from New York” and work on her second book. Tan says it was an especially productive week.

“I guess whenever that book comes out I will have Wichita to thank.”

Tan still had plenty of time to tour and dine around Wichita, and she was impressed.

“This is going to sound probably bizarre,” she says, but, “I loved your grocery stores.” She was floored at how large Thai Binh is and says Wichita has some items New York doesn’t have outside of Chinatown.

Tan thinks the Wichita Art Museum is “just beautiful” and Watermark Books and Cafe, where signed copies of her book are on sale, is “darling” and she’s thrilled to see it thriving. She also enjoyed the Keeper of the Plains, the original Pizza Hut building, Riverside and Delano, where she shot pool at Club Billiards.

Sam Taylor, a poet who teaches English and creative writing at Wichita State University, is a friend of Tan’s and was one of her tour guides. (He also snapped the photo above.)

Tan loves the big sky in Kansas and all the space here, particularly because in New York “I live in a box pretty much.”

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Lights Salon Studio to open in Riverside

WICHITA — Jen Kimble has seen the light.

After a year off from the salon business, which she’d previously been in for about 16 years, she’s preparing to open a new salon in Riverside called Lights Salon Studio.

“This is just the perfect location,” Kimble says of the space she’s opening next to the Riverside Perk at 11th Street and Bitting next month.

Kimble also is an artist, which is what she’s been focusing on for the last year, and she takes a lot of inspiration from light.

She thought about that and working with hair color, which is what led to the Lights name.

“It’s so important to have lighting,” Kimble says. “When I draw I use a light table.”

In addition to having two styling chairs, Kimble will have a small studio in which she can do her art.

She also plans to be on the Final Friday circuit and have regular exhibits in her shop.

Kimble will lease her second chair to stylists who might like to rent by the day.

“It’s just really helpful to have a place you could just do five clients,” Kimble says.

With day rentals, she says, “It’s a possibility to have seven employees in a very small space.”

To kick off her Sept. 10 opening, Kimble is going to offer a $60 cut and color.

“I know that can’t be beat,” she says. “Not in this town. Not anywhere, really.”

You don’t say

“It was just amazing how strangers . . . would stop by and recount stories and just talk about how they would enjoy the place anyway, but they loved the idea of using the old name.”

Kirk David, who has decided to keep the name Squeezer’s Palace for his new Riverside business despite objections from the founder of the original Squeezer’s from the ’70s

Riverside Cafe of Derby to open this summer

WICHITA — Riverside will no longer be exclusive to Wichita.

Riverside Cafe, that is.

Paul and Heather Cohlmia own the restaurant on West 13th Street in Wichita’s Riverside neighborhood along with Riverside Too, which they opened last year in the former Livingston’s Cafe space at 924 S. Woodlawn.

Now, they’re preparing to open Riverside Cafe of Derby at 824 N. Baltimore.

“It’s old Derby,” Paul Cohlmia says.

He’s going to offer the same family-style dishes he has at his other restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“There’s probably not any family-cooked meals there the way we do it here,” Cohlmia says.

The restaurant, which will be in 3,000 square feet, will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., which is the same hours as his other restaurants.

Cohlmia expects to open in late August or early September.