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.”

Original Timberline Steakhouse & Grill closes after 14 years in business

UPDATED — It was just a matter of time.

Eight months after the east-side Timberline Steakhouse & Grill closed, so has its sister restaurant on the west side.

“It was a very difficult decision that we needed to make,” says Scott Redler, who owned the chain with Bill Simon.

“We’re looking at this as a celebration of 14 great years of business for Timberline . . . and appreciate everyone involved.”

The Timberline near 21st and Tyler was Redler and Simon’s first in the chain, which had seven restaurants in six cities over the years.

There’s one Timberline left.

Salina licensee JRI Investments owns that restaurant and has purchased the concept with plans to open more Timberlines.

“You know, we had an opportunity to sell, and it just seemed to make sense,” Redler says.

He and Simon plan to continue to focus on Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, which they run with Simon’s brother, Randy, who also is a Panera Bread franchisee.

Redler says Freddy’s average ticket of about $6.50 makes a lot more sense than Timberline’s $17 average.

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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.

Twin Peaks to open in the former Timberline Steakhouse & Grill space this spring

WICHITA — Twin Peaks franchisee Rusty Rathbun confirms what Have You Heard? predicted earlier this month.

The first Wichita Twin Peaks will open this spring in the former Timberline Steakhouse & Grill space at 8310 E. 21st St.

“It’s got a lot of the motif that’s already inside a lodge,” Rathbun says of the Dallas-based chain’s theme.

Except, of course, his theme is a bit broader than that.

The restaurant’s name is about as veiled a reference as Hooters.

“I guess you could compare it to that level,” Rathbun says. “I would like to think that we’re just a little bit classier than that.”

He says he’s not trying to take anything away from Hooters.

“This is more of a lodge or mountain cabin atmosphere.”

The sports bar caterers to the 25-to-35-year-old single male demographic.

“But you should see how many people bring their families in.”

Rathbun, who is a Subway developer, has four partners in Twin Peaks.

The chain sells a range of food, including steak, pot roast, hot dogs and some fried food such as chicken fried steak. There’s also a kids’ menu.

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Twin Peaks may take former Timberline space on the east side

WICHITA — It looks like there may already be a new tenant for the former Timberline Steakhouse & Grill space.

No one involved is talking yet, but Twin Peaks may be locating there.

That’s the Dallas-based restaurant chain with the euphemistic name a la Hooters style.

In September, Have You Heard? interviewed CEO Randy DeWitt.

At the time, he said that although women and families are welcome, “Twin Peaks is really a restaurant built just for guys.”

DeWitt said he thought one centrally located Twin Peaks would be enough for the city.

DeWitt couldn’t be reached for comment today to confirm he’s taking the east-side space or answer whether he’s looking west, too.

Look for more details soon, though.

East-side Timberline Steakhouse & Grill has closed after 12 years in business

WICHITA — After a dozen years in business, the east-side Timberline Steakhouse & Grill has closed.

“It’s a tear-jerker,” says Scott Redler, who owned the restaurant with Bill Simon.

The west-side Timberline — the original in the chain, which opened in 1997 — will remain open.

The lease was up at the east restaurant at 8310 E. 21st St.

“It wasn’t worth renewing a lease and continuing,” Redler says.

“We were doing very, very well on the weekend,” he says. On weekdays, though, Redler found that people didn’t want to spend the average ticket price of $16 or $17.

“The reality is when you look at this segment of dining . . . the higher the check average, the more challenging it’s been.”

Redler points to similar restaurants, such as Lone Star Steakhouse, which he says has closed about half its restaurants in the last five years.

Redler says people’s incomes don’t make a difference in what they’re willing to spend for meals these days.

“Everybody watches what they spend more carefully now because of current economic situations,” he says.

That has hurt Timberline but helped Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, which Redler and Simon own with Simon’s brother, Randy.

“What I like to say (is) just because the economy’s bad doesn’t mean people learned how to cook,” Redler says.

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