Taco Tinga reopens and replaces three Taco Tico restaurants

WICHITA — Taco Tinga is back open along with what looks to be three Taco Tico restaurants, though they’re now Taco Tingas, too.

“We’re currently working on getting the signage changed,” says David Eron, an attorney for the new owner, HAK Group.

The state seized and then reseized the assets of several of Mahmood Karim’s Taco Tico restaurants along with his Taco Tinga for failure to pay taxes.

Karim briefly acknowledged he’s back at the restaurants under a new agreement.

Jeannine Koranda, a spokeswoman for the state, says, “We have not reached any agreement. It would have to be under new ownership.”

In a follow-up call, Karim deferred further questions until after the lunch hour. Then, a woman who identified herself as Mrs. Karim left a voicemail message to say any further calls would have to be to her attorney, David Eron.

Eron won’t discuss the ownership of HAK Group except to say that Mahmood Karim isn’t involved. He won’t say if Mrs. Karim is an owner.

“Again, I can’t disclose ownership issues.”

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You don’t say

“They’ve not stuck by the agreement.”

– Spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda on how the state has reseized the assets of four Taco Tico restaurants because owner Mahmood Karim hasn’t followed a payment plan for paying back taxes, and it has closed and seized the assets of his Taco Tinga restaurant as well

Qdoba Mexican Grill to open at least two restaurants on east and west sides

UPDATED — Restaurateur Eric Estes is bringing a new franchise to Wichita:

Qdoba Mexican Grill.

“We’re really impressed with … their culinary attitude (and) approach to food,” Estes says.

Estes Enterprises has 20 A&W and Long John Silver’s franchises in Kansas, including six of the seafood restaurants in Wichita.

Denver-based Qdoba, which was founded in 1995, has about 600 restaurants in 42 states.

Initially, Estes plans to bring Qdobas to Wichita’s east and west sides.

“Our plan is to have the first unit open by the end of ’12 or the very beginning of ’13,” he says.

The east-side Qdoba will be built first.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons is helping Estes with the deals, which aren’t yet finalized.

Wink Hartman II of Ink Construction is the contractor.

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Taco Tinga to open in former Dolci & Joe’s

WICHITA — Diners soon will once again be able to find tacos at 3425 East Douglas.

That was Taco Tico’s home years ago before Breezy’s and then Dolci & Joe’s opened there.

Now, Angel Varela and M.M. Karim are opening Taco Tinga there.

Varela used to own the La Hacienda grocery at 31st and Hillside and the La Picosa restaurant within it.

His new restaurant will be similar to a Chipotle Mexican Grill in that customers will walk in and select ingredients from a counter featuring various fillings for tacos, burritos, sandwiches and quesadillas.

Unlike Chipotle, there will be some ready-made items as well, such as chili rellenos and enchiladas.

Initially, Taco Tinga will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Later, breakfast will be available, too.

The restaurant opens Aug. 1.