Issa brothers buy Scotch & Sirloin

Scotch & Sirloin, 5325 E. Kellogg Photo by Megan True/ TheWichita EagleWICHITA — Mike Issa now confirms what Have You Heard? reported last month.

He and his brothers, Ty and Ali, have purchased the Scotch & Sirloin.

“The Scotch is the oldest institution in Wichita,” Mike Issa says.

There actually are older restaurants, but Issa says, “We really believe this is Wichita’s tradition restaurant. We would love to be part of it.”

The Issas officially take over Jan. 16.

The brothers first approached majority owner Lindy Andeel a couple of years ago about buying the restaurant, which is on East Kellogg between Oliver and Edgemoor.

“We got busy with other venues,” Issa says of the delay.

The Issas own Larkspur Bistro & Bar in Old Town, YaYa’s EuroBistro in Bradley Fair, Hereford House at Terradyne Country Club, Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge near Central and Rock and some IHOP restaurants in Wichita and Emporia.

Mike Issa is going to be more of a presence at the Scotch than his brothers.

“I’m going to be at the Hereford House, too,” he says of where he generally can be found already.

Issa says he and his brothers are able to do so many restaurants with “great help” and a “great management team.”

Karl Bachman is the new general manager the Issas hired to work at the Scotch. He’s already there.

Longtime general manager Sonny Glennon is still there, too.

“He’s still part of the whole package with us,” Mike Issa says.

Whether Glennon is still a co-owner in the business is unclear. Glennon referred questions to Issa, and Issa says only, “He’ll be working with our team 100 percent.”

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A change is in the works at Scotch & Sirloin

WICHITA — An ownership change appears to be in the works at one of Wichita’s most-storied restaurants, but no one seems to want to discuss it.

According to a filing with the state, Steaks R Us has applied for a liquor license at the Scotch & Sirloin.

Mike Issa, who is in business with his brothers Ty and Ali at several restaurants, is the applicant.

Mike Issa didn’t return a call for comment. Neither did Scotch co-owner Lindy Andeel.

Ty Issa demurs when asked about a possible purchase.

“Every time someone sees me having dinner with Lindy, they assume I’m doing something,” he says.

Scotch co-owner Sonny Glennon, who has been the face of the restaurant for years as the ever-present host, does not want to discuss a possible transaction with the Issas.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said when initially asked about a sale last week.

This week, Glennon suggested asking the Issas what’s going on.

Doug Farha also is an owner of the Scotch. He did not return a call for comment.

The Issas own Larkspur Bistro & Bar in Old Town, YaYa’s EuroBistro in Bradley Fair, Hereford House at Terradyne Country Club, Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge near Central and Rock and some IHOP restaurants in Wichita and Emporia.

Their deal at the Scotch is expected to close about a month into the new year. Look for more details soon.

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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City of Wichita produces a video in response to Jimmy Kimmel’s Wichitawesome spoof of the city

UPDATED — Take that, Jimmy Kimmel.

The city of Wichita has produced an official response to a recent skit on Kimmel’s show that spoofs the city as a “Wichitawesome” place for spring break.

The video itself isn’t so official, though. Instead, it takes off on a spring break theme where a cardboard cutout Jimmy Kimmel gets drunk off a beer bong at an Old Town bar, vomits by the Arkansas River and gets some handsy treatment from a TSA agent at the airport.

“It went right there to the edge, but it does have natural attention, and individuals are looking at it,” Mayor Carl Brewer says.

He says staff in the city manager’s office, including spokeswoman Lauragail Locke, produced the video. Brewer first saw it Tuesday. By this morning, it had 3,000 views.

Brewer says if he and City Council members had produced the video, “we’d probably have been a lot more conservative than that, but then if we had done it, we’d have a lot less than 3,000 hits.”

Locke says she hears the video went over well at “Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“So I think we were on the mark,” she says. “Our goal was to produce a video that would appeal to his late night talk show television audience in the hopes of getting on national TV. … We just want to draw more attention to our city and show that we are a fun place, and we have a lot to offer.” Locke says the main point was to invite Kimmel here.

She adds, referring to the city’s cable network, “It was definitely not meant for a City7 audience.”

Locke says she’s not sure how much the video cost, but she says money spent was mainly for the cutout that a company produced and a sound effect that was used in the video. It was shot with city staff and equipment.

The mayor’s response was to call Kimmel field producer Sarah Robe, a native Wichitan, and invite the talk show host to town. That’s when he says he heard that “many of the staff there thought Wichita was a fictitious city.”

“She had to educate them and tell them no, whoever did it did their homework, and it was a real city.”

Robe tells Have You Heard? that staffers do in fact know of Wichita, but they didn’t realize that places in the video, such as Scotch & Sirloin, are real.

“That’s why it’s funny, too, and why it resonates because it’s a town that everyone’s heard of,” she says.

Writer Jonathan Bines is responsible for the original Wichitawesome video spoofing Wichita as a great spring break destination.

“Whenever a comedy writer thinks about the top anything, they immediately try to think of what the bottom might be,” he says. “It’s nothing against Wichita.”

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New bars and restaurants opening on east, west sides and downtown

WICHITA — There are several new bar and restaurant deals in the works.

Not unexpectedly, Charlie Badeen and David Allan have decided to reopen their O’Brien’s Irish Pub on East Kellogg by Scotch & Sirloin.

They closed it last year, and the short-lived Encore Restaurant and Nightclub took its place.

Earlier this month, Badeen told Have You Heard? he and Allan were considering various options for the space, including reopening O’Brien’s.

They originally closed because they were opening the new Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill in Old Town, plus they already had Dudley’s Sports Bar and Grill on the west side and Mulligan’s Pub out east.

They’ve since sold Mulligan’s, and they’re ready to open Joe’s in the next week or two.

Badeen says O’Brien’s should open by the end of March.

“Basically everything’s going to be about the same.”

There’s another deal in the works to bring a Pacific Coast Pizza downtown near Intrust Bank Arena.

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Former O’Brien’s Irish Pub owners prepare to put new venture where Encore Restaurant and Nightclub was

WICHITA — Encore Restaurant and Nightclub proved to be a short-lived venture.

The business, which was in the former O’Brien’s Irish Pub space along East Kellogg by Scotch & Sirloin, lasted only a few months.

Owner Michael Todd couldn’t be reached for comment, but Charlie Badeen says he and David Allan are taking back the space.

It’s not clear what happened with Encore.

“I really couldn’t tell you,” Badeen says. “I have no idea.”

Nor is he sure what he and Allan will do with the space.

Is there a chance they’ll bring back O’Brien’s?

“Can’t answer that question. Don’t know.”

Badeen expects to make a decision in the next few days and says he’ll let us know as soon as he does.

He and Allan are also close to opening their new Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill in Old Town. Look for an opening date soon

Metro Grill III to open Friday

WICHITA — Metro Grill III opens Friday in the new Encore Restaurant and Nightclub next to Scotch & Sirloin on East Kellogg.

Metro Grill owner Michael Gonzalez has entered into a partnership to sell some of his popular sandwiches and salads at the new club.

He’s particularly excited for customers who have been wanting to enjoy his food with a bottle of wine. Gonzalez says he’s frequently asked about that, but his location in Towne East Square’s food court doesn’t have it, nor does Metro Grill II in Andover, which he recently sold.

Gonzalez still hopes to sell sandwiches at other Wichita bars, which is a new venture he’s exploring, but he says he has to make sure everything runs smoothly at Encore first.

His food will be available for lunch and dinner.

Encore Restaurant and Nightclub and Metro Grill enter partnership to serve food

WICHITA — Since selling his Andover restaurant, Metro Grill owner Michael Gonzalez has been thinking of ways to expand his business, which started in Towne East Square.

“I can’t stay away from the kitchen, so here I go,” says Gonzalez, who has been making pitches to other area restaurants to carry his popular sandwiches.

“He was like, ‘Hey, I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I think I have the best food in town,’” says Encore Restaurant and Nightclub owner Michael Todd, who is one of the business owners Gonzalez made his pitch to.

“I just assumed it was another guy trying to make a dollar.”

Encore is in the former O’Brien’s Irish Pub space next to Scotch & Sirloin.

Gonzalez brought along his brother, Jose, for the pitch. Todd had two thoughts after meeting them.

“Either these are the best salesmen I’ve ever seen, or they have the best food.”

So he went to Towne East to check it out.

“Sure enough, they are the best salesmen and they have great food,” Todd says. “They’re so pumped. Their food isn’t just a product they made. It’s really from their heart.”

He quizzed people he knows about Metro Grill.

“It’s just nonstop love for the place. Not a bad remark for anything from there.”

So Todd is discontinuing most of his current menu, except for pizza, and adding eight Metro Grill sandwiches and two salads. He may expand the offerings eventually.

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Two former Scotch & Sirloin managers file lawsuit claiming they were fired after refusing to lie for the company

WICHITA — Two more former Scotch & Sirloin employees have filed a lawsuit against Scotch Investment Corp.

Former managers Saprina Almosrati and Lindsey Moate filed a federal lawsuit last week over their dismissal from the restaurant for what they say are issues related to past lawsuits waitresses have filed against the company.

Almosrati and Moate claim they were fired for their unwillingness to lie or falsify documents related to those lawsuits.

In recent years, two former waitresses sued the company claiming they were fired or reassigned jobs after becoming pregnant.

A third employee filed a lawsuit after claiming she was fired for reporting the issue over the pregnancies to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Part of that lawsuit included a claim that the Scotch has wage payment practices that are in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The claim that money had been illegally deducted from waitresses’ pay for cooks and advertising became certified as a collective action.

Each of the discrimination cases was settled and the company has paid the wage claims.

Randy Rathbun, the attorney who filed the lawsuits on behalf of those clients, also is representing Almosrati and Moate in their suit against Scotch Investment.

“We’ve got a situation where they tried to cover up wrongdoing with lies,” Rathbun says. “If they would have been honest from the start and not tried to get people to lie about it . . . it would have been much less of a problem to them than it is now.”

General manager Sonny Glennon says what Almosrati and Moate are claiming is wrong.

“I really don’t think I’ve done anything,” he said. “I didn’t do anything except do what I had to do to run a business, and unfortunately, I’m going to have to listen to what other people have to say.”

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Mulligan’s Pub and O’Brien’s Irish Pub to sell; O’Brien’s to be renamed

WICHITA — In July, Have You Heard? reported on how Charlie Badeen and David Allan are trying to cover all their bases around Wichita by opening the new Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill in Old Town.

The two already have Dudley’s Sports Bar and Grill on the west side near 21st and Tyler, Mulligan’s Pub on the east side near 32nd Street North and Rock Road, and O’Brien’s Irish Pub along East Kellogg by Scotch & Sirloin.

Now, though, they’re selling Mulligan’s and O’Brien’s. It looks like the sale will allow them to focus on opening Joe’s in late October or early November and continue running Dudley’s.

Joe’s, which will be at 222 N. Washington, will be similar to Dudley’s. It’s known for its burgers, pizza and bar food. Joe’s also will offer some lighter fare for business lunches and dinners.

Brad Beyer, formerly of Mike’s Wine Dive, will be the manager and chef.

At O’Brien’s, Michael Todd and Andey Ast are taking over and renaming it Encore Restaurant and Nightclub.

Encore’s grand opening is Nov. 5.

Todd, who has been in construction since age 18, says he’s “just kind of tired of banging a hammer.”

He likes O’Brien’s location on East Kellogg, and he also likes the numbers he’s seen for the business.

“It seems like it’s a doable deal.”

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