Twin Peaks has west-side space, and it isn’t where anyone suspected

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O'Kelly's and Panera Bread.

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread.

WICHITA — There’s been a popular guessing game of where the west-side Twin Peaks might go. As it turns out, it’s not opening at any of the spots most people thought it might.

Franchisee Rusty Rathbun considered most of those sites, but he’s settled on 7325 W. Taft instead.

“It’s been overlooked from a retail perspective,” says Dan Unruh of InSite Real Estate Group.

The building, which is across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread, was built as office space that most recently was home to American Family Insurance.

Gallery Expressions will be Twin Peaks’ neighbor to the northwest across a parking lot, and the Lowe’s at Maple and Ridge Road is just north of that.

“This one kept coming up as a great site if we could just make the building work,” Unruh says.

InSite is part of South Ridge LLC, a group that purchased the 16,800-square-foot center where Twin Peaks is going.

Rathbun says he seriously considered about 15 properties before deciding on the Taft site.

“It works because of the traffic count and all the number one restaurants in the area,” he says.

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Twin Peaks nears west-side deal

WICHITA — One of the most popular restaurant questions for well more than a year has been, “Where’s the west-side Twin Peaks going?”

There has been lots of talk that a deal is done, but that’s been inaccurate. There’s still not a deal, but one is close.

Representatives from Twin Peaks corporate planned to be in Wichita today to give final approval on a site that franchisee Rusty Rathbun has selected.

“I’m wanting to get this thing done,” Rathbun says.

He says he regularly fields questions about it, as does corporate.

“We’ve had people e-mail into corporate,” he says. “They want to be partners in it. They want to know where it’s going. It’s quite interesting to say the least.”

Wichita’s first Twin Peaks opened in 2011 in the former Timberline Steakhouse & Grill space at 8310 E. 21st St.

Rathbun was already thinking about possible west-side space then. Even his friends relentlessly question him about it, he says.

“They’re killing me,” Rathbun says. “We’re so close.”

You don’t say

“You can whine and cry all you like … but I don’t make enough money to cry for long.”

Rusty Rathbun of Twin Peaks on dealing with the flu

Twin Peaks franchisee negotiating on west-side space where another restaurant is

WICHITA — A popular pastime in some circles seems to be guessing where the west-side Twin Peaks will go.

Franchisee Rusty Rathbun is regularly asked about spaces as they become available, which has included the former Brooklyn’s Chophouse space, where Larry Bud’s Sports Bar & Grill now is, and the former Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge and Gobi Grille spaces.

“We’ve got something else in the works,” he says. “We’ve got a better location in mind.”

Rathbun says he can’t talk about the space because there’s a restaurant in it.

“Somebody’s in it, and negotiations are under way,” he says.

Rathbun hopes to open in the space by April or May.

He says the location isn’t one anyone is likely to think he’d put a Twin Peaks.

“It’ll blow people’s mind.”

Ciao Italian Kitchen may open in former Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge space

WICHITA — Less than a year after opening Ciao Italian Kitchen on the east side at the Waterfront, Guillermo Perez-Munoz is working on a west-side location.

Perez-Munoz isn’t talking yet, but it looks like he’s negotiating to take the former Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge space at 2121 N. Tyler.

Twin Peaks owner Rusty Rathbun has eyed that spot as well and is still considering other west-side space.

Look for a west-side Ciao deal possibly in the next week or two.


Twin Peaks eyes former Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge space and one other west-side site

WICHITA — There’s buzz about Twin Peaks opening near 21st and Tyler where Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge closed last month, but that’s only one of two west-side options for the restaurant.

“We’re looking at it,” says franchisee Rusty Rathbun. “There’s another one that popped up.”

He won’t say where the other space is because “there’s a restaurant in it.”

Wichita’s first Twin Peaks opened in the former Timberline space near 21st and Rock Road last year, and Rathbun says it’s doing well.

He says there are issues with both west-side buildings. For instance, at the former Tommy’s space – where owner Michael Redick says he overspent on renovations and had to close – Rathbun says he would have to spend $1 million to remodel.

“To me, that’s a little too much.”

If neither space works, Rathbun says he’ll go to Manhattan or Topeka next. His preference is to find west-side space first, though, and he’d like to be open by September.

“I’ve got to have something nailed down in May before I can open in September,” Rathbun says. “We’re crossing our fingers … and hoping we can.”

Former KSN, Channel 3, anchorman is the new Mooyah franchisee for Wichita

UPDATED — Anthony Powell can now add hamburgers to his resume — loaded ones at that.

The former KSN, Channel 3, weekend and 5 p.m. anchorman, who still contributes on-air reports for the station, and his wife, Jennifer, are the new Mooyah franchisees for Wichita.

The Powells are working with Twin Peaks franchisee Rusty Rathbun and Maria Peak of Bovine Development, a company that is developing Mooyah sites.

Jennifer and Anthony Powell

“The guy is very, very impressive with his track record at Subway and Twin Peaks,” Anthony Powell says of Rathbun. “He’s just so experienced with the restaurant business. He knows what it takes to be successful.”

Powell says Rathbun’s office is helping him with traffic counts and other information on where to locate.

He’s looking everywhere but says that “the west side is looking more promising right now.”

The Dallas-based Mooyah chain is in several states, though the majority of its restaurants are still in Texas. It’s in the fast-casual dining segment, which caters to people who want quick meals in a nicer dining setting than fast food restaurants usually provide.

“Fast casual is affordable but still a dining experience,” Powell says.

Mooyah specializes in hamburgers with a serious array of toppings. There also are veggie and turkey burgers, thick-cut fries, shakes and a children’s menu.

Powell hopes to have his first Mooyah open by June.

“We’re in talks on one,” he says.

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Twin Peaks franchisee looking for west-side space

WICHITA — Twin Peaks franchisee Rusty Rathbun is scouting west-side sites for a second Twin Peaks.

“Nothing’s etched in stone,” he says.

Rathbun wants to make a decision by the end of March so he can open by September at the latest.

Wichita’s first Twin Peaks, which opened in the former Timberline space near 21st and Rock Road last year, is doing well enough to consistently be in the top 10 of the chain’s more than 20 restaurants in terms of volume, Rathbun says.

For the west-side location, he’s considering existing spaces along with possibly constructing a new building.

“We think that it’s probably going to take four months to build it,” he says.

So which would he prefer?

“I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet.”

Rathbun and his partners in the Udder Group, a company that is developing Mooyah sites, are close to signing a franchisee who will open six or seven of the burger restaurants in Wichita.

He says the deal should happen in early February. If all goes as planned, Wichita’s first Mooyah should open by May or June.

We’ll keep you posted.

First two Wichita Mooyah sites should be open by late fall

WICHITA — In January, Have You Heard? reported that a Mooyah franchisee, who didn’t want to be named yet, is looking to bring seven of the hamburger restaurants to Wichita.

Now, the franchisee is talking, and he doesn’t mind sharing his name or his plans.

Twin Peaks franchisee Rusty Rathbun and his five Wichita partners, who do business under the name Le Grande Tetons, have a second company called the Udder Group to develop Mooyah sites.

The Dallas-based chain sells third-pound hamburgers, French fries, hot dogs and shakes among other things. It also bakes fresh buns daily.

“We are moving ahead,” Rathbun says. “Moooving ahead.”

He says he hoped to start with two Wichita sites but may wind up with three.

“I may have to take three to get two,” he says of a deal with one potential landlord.

He and his partners initially planned to be the franchisees for each site, and they may still run one, but now they’re looking for franchisees for the other potential Mooyahs so they can keep their focus on Twin Peaks.

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Twin Peaks to open next week

WICHITA — Twin Peaks is opening — just a bit behind schedule — next week in the former Timberline Steakhouse & Grill space at 8310 E. 21st St.

“We had a heck of a time getting our timbers in,” franchisee Rusty Rathbun says.

Rathbun is referring to the chain’s signature big wooden columns because, in addition to Twin Peaks being as veiled a reference as Hooters, there really is a lodge look at the restaurant as well.

The restaurant will open for half days — 5 p.m. to midnight — starting Tuesday.

Then its regular schedule will begin May 23.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Rathbun says he’s going to gauge customer demand for a possible west-side Twin Peaks as well.