Panera Bread on North Rock Road to temporarily close to install drive-through

WICHITA — It may not have happened by spring as he hoped, but Randy Simon is now about to add a drive-through at his Panera Bread at 1605 N. Rock Road.

The restaurant is going to close from Monday until July 22 to make the addition along with interior remodeling.

Derby is the only other Wichita-area Panera with a drive-through so far.

Simon says he’s in the process of submitting plans to do a drive-through at the Panera at Taft and Ridge.

He’s just finished remodeling the Panera near Central and Hillside, which wasn’t able to have a drive-through.

“We just were not able to work the necessary arrangemetns out with Walgreens,” Simon says.

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You don’t say

“You can bet that stewardess got a nice, free meal at Freddy’s.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers operating partner Scott Redler, who returned to Wichita on Southwest Airlines and heard a flight attendant say, “Welcome to Wichita, now you can get off and go get yourself some Starbucks and some Freddy’s.”

Strip center to join restaurants along Ridge Road corridor

WICHITA — Restaurants aren’t the only new businesses that will be opening in the Ridge Road corridor between Kellogg and Maple.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers partners Scott Redler and Bill and Randy Simon also will be building a strip center on the approximately four acres they have along the corridor.

Have You Heard? this week reported that Abuelo’s will be opening at the northeast corner of Taft and Ridge Road, which is south of where Randy Simon has a Panera Bread next to a Freddy’s. There’s also a Twin Peaks under construction across Ridge Road.

Redler says he’s not sure how soon construction will start on the center. He says it depends on when the first tenant signs.

The 8,400-square-foot strip center will be to the north of Abuelo’s.

“We probably have room for one restaurant, and the rest would be retail-oriented,” Redler says. “We’re restaurateurs, and we want to make sure we have ample parking for all the restaurants. … Parking’s so critical.”

He says Freddy’s and Panera do well and will require some extra parking.

Redler says he thinks Abuelo’s will do well, too.

“They really do a great job,” he says. “I’m personally a big fan of (Abuelo’s) chile rellenos.”

You don’t say: Our favorites from 2013

Some were newsy, some were shocking, but most were simply fun or funny. Here are some of our favorite “You don’t say” quotes from 2013.

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“I said, ‘You must know a lot of angry people.’ (They) said, ‘I work at Spirit.’”

Best of Times owner Nancy Robinson on a person who bought 10 Dammit Dolls, the soft dolls angry people can safely slam on any surface to blow off steam on bad days

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“My first place that I am not going to get married at is the Grand Chapel.”

– Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Skelton, whose upcoming marriage to Stacy Luke won’t take place at the facility he sued over his daughter’s wedding

“That’s correct, he’s not.”

– Grand Chapel owner Dennis Wilkie, who says Skelton is “a troublemaker, and I just don’t want to deal with troublemakers.”

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“Women pilots don’t land at the wrong airport. We ask for directions!”

– A tweet from Seattle-based pilot Karlene Petitt (‏@KarlenePetitt) about the Dreamlifter incident at Colonel James Jabara Airport

- – -

“Be aware, Boeing, ‘this route has tolls.’ Bring some change.”

– An NPR story that acknowledged a stranded Dreamlifter likely couldn’t be towed from Colonel James Jabara Airport to McConnell Air Force Base but offered a Google map and driving directions anyway

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“I thought I’d get in line right behind him.”

– Outgoing Chamber chairwoman Debbie Gann, who “about choked” at the group’s annual dinner Tuesday when possible mayoral candidate Jeff Turner suggested she would make a great mayor

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“I’m going to drop off a baked bean can and a string tomorrow … so we can chat later in the day.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers co-owner Scott Redler teasing City Council member Pete Meitzner about his antiquated BlackBerry

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“With all the crying and whining in Washington, I’m feeling ready to be a new father come November.”

– Expectant father U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder speaking Friday at the 2013 Congressional Summit at the Hotel at Old Town

- – -

“We know you’re a Democrat.”

– Park City administrator Jack Whitson, teasing the city’s chamber president, registered Republican Dean Frankenbery, about a misprint that said Rep. Mike Pompom, not Pompeo, would be the group’s next speaker

- – -

“I know you are all wondering if that beautiful new red car parked over there is a door prize. It’s not. It’s the speaker’s gift.”

Delta Dental of Kansas vice president of human resources Kara Hunt, speaking at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler about a car that Davis-Moore had at the event

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“I thought that Davis-Moore . . . has been hurting so bad that they needed a sale, so I thought I’d help them out.”

– Car dealer Brandon Steven, joking about why he bought a Viper at his competitor’s dealership

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“I think it’s awesome that he bought himself a nice car.”

– Davis-Moore’s Dawson Grimsley, retorting with a teasing implication that Steven couldn’t find a nice car at his own lot

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“The @WichitaOrpheum could use a little Jesus after @RealTracyMorgan’s performance there. #itwaspurefilth”

— A tweet from comedian Ron Shively, aka @FunnyMrBiggs, after hearing City Life Church is going to rent the Orpheum Theatre every Sunday morning for services

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“Puppies and people all over town are sad today.”

—Accountant David Jabara on the death of Doggy Day Care owner Marilyn Walk

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You don’t say

“I’m going to drop off a baked bean can and a string tomorrow … so we can chat later in the day.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers co-owner Scott Redler teasing City Council member Pete Meitzner about his antiquated BlackBerry

Bill Warren’s theater in Moore, Okla., has some tornado damage but is fine, he says

UPDATED — Bill Warren’s theater in Moore, Okla., sustained damage from a tornado that tore through the city this afternoon, but he says everyone there is fine.

“The theater had a little bit of damage, but I don’t care about that,” he says.

He says staff and customers are safe.

“We talked to the staff, and everyone is safe.”

The glass front of the building is damaged, Warren says.

“I just saw the theater on CNN,” he says. “Well, the front looks kind of bad.”

Then Warren talked with a manager at the theater.

“He said that the front of the place is superficially pretty torn up,” Warren says. “That looks pretty tore up, but the building’s fine.

He says a nearby hospital is damaged as well.

“The bowling alley next door is leveled,” Warren says. “The houses behind the theater are flattened.”

He says he believes the tornado veered and mostly avoided his building.

Warren says he’s been told by a Wichita news outlet that his theater is being used as a staging area for responders, but he hasn’t confirmed that with anyone in Oklahoma.

“The building’s whole and safe, and it’s got emergency lighting.”

Warren says he’s relieved about everyone’s safety at the building.

“That’s all that counts. I don’t care about the building. I’ve got insurance for that.”

There’s also a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers a block south of the theater.

Freddy’s COO Scott Redler says there’s no word on the condition of the restaurant yet but that everyone there is OK.

“No one in Freddy’s is injured,” he says. “Our regional manager actually had to park a distance . . . and walk to the restaurant.”

A text from the manager to Redler says that no one is hurt and that there aren’t any phones.

“That’s the important stuff,” Redler says. “No one’s injured, so that’s really all that matters.”

Redler says he spoke with Warren, who told him he thinks he saw the restaurant on TV and that it looks OK.

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Scott Redler is a partner in the Traqueros restaurant opening in Overland Park

WICHITA — What’s a man who oversees a chain of almost 90 restaurants do to kick-start his culinary creativity?

Start a new restaurant, of course.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers COO Scott Redler is a partner in the new Traqueros, a Mexican restaurant that’s opening next month at 11831 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park.

“I’m involved from a conceptual point of view … but not from an operational standpoint,” Redler says.

“It’s a quick-casual concept,” he says. “Everything will be cooked to order. … It’s a Mexican restaurant with the same service style as a Pei Wei.”

His partners include Dave Dreiling and Bud and Bobby Cox.

They’re known for such Manhattan-based restaurants as CoCo Bolos, Cox Bros. BBQ, Ingredient and Local.

Dreiling’s company, HCI Hospitality, will manage Traqueros.

Redler says his Freddy’s partners, Randy and Bill Simon, are fine with him being involved in another concept.

“They want me to keep getting creative. That’s part of my role,” Redler says. “This helps me just kind of reenergize and just understand everything else going on in the market.”

He adds, “Even some things I’ve done in Traqueros … have helped us with some of our decisions for Freddy’s.”

Redler isn’t involved with creating recipes, but he says, “I am involved in the tastings, so that’s fun.”

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You don’t say

“I want them removed.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers partner Scott Redler’s teasing reaction at a Thursday party when a guest wondered where he got the custard for the Tumbleweeds he was making

Panera Bread isn’t coming to Andover yet

WICHITA — Andover residents often wish for more restaurants in their backyard, and Panera Bread is tops on that list for some.

Is there a chance it’ll happen?

“I suspect it’ll be as soon as they have a daytime population,” says Panera franchisee Randy Simon.

Simon says a Panera needs to see 800 people a day “in order to be economical at all.”

“If you go into areas that don’t have much daytime population, it is very difficult to try to survive.”

The problem with Andover, Simon says, is so many residents drive to Wichita for work.

“We do 85 percent of our business between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.,” Simon says.

Andover residents shouldn’t give up hope, though.

“I continue to talk to people out there,” Simon says.

Simon is working with his Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers partners — his brother, Bill, and Scott Redler — on two new Kansas City area restaurants.

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Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is getting a new corporate office

WICHITA — Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is getting a new corporate office at 260 N. Rock Road, which is conveniently located across the parking lot from the Freddy’s restaurant at 310 N. Rock Road.
“I obviously was cheering for this one,” says Freddy’s partner Randy Simon, whose Panera Bread office shares the same lot as well.

The Freddy’s partners, who include Scott Redler and Simon’s brother Bill, have been leasing about 3,500 square feet at 1445 N. Rock Road.

Now, they own the 18,000-square-foot building at 260 N. Rock Road, of which they’ll use 6,000 square feet on the upper level.

“With our expansions – we just opened our 74th restaurant – and in our current location we’re busting at the seams,” Redler says.

The chain’s 75th restaurant opens this week. There are eight corporate stores out of the 75. The rest are franchises.

Redler says they want to make sure to keep ahead on resources for franchisees. The company has six franchise business coaches and is looking to add a couple of more.

“We just want to have the right space to do it right,” he says.

Remodeling will start in a month. The new space should be ready to move into by the end of the year.
“This should cover us for a lot of years,” Redler says.

Another 15 to 18 Freddy’s restaurants will open this year. That includes a third one in Kansas City at the end of September near West 119th Street and Blackbob. Three more Kansas City area restaurants are in various stages of development, including one near West 107th Street and Roe Avenue in Overland Park that also should open by the end of the year.

Redler says there likely will be a celebration to mark the 100th restaurant, but there’s not one for the 75th this week.

“It’s just kind of another day.”