Issa brothers opening Emporia IHOP

WICHITA — A year and a half after buying their first IHOP, the Issa brothers are ready to open their second one, this time in Emporia.

“We had an opportunity, and we took it,” says Ali, who is partners in the business with his brothers Ty and Mike.

They also own Larkspur, Ya Ya’s Eurobistro, Hereford House and Heat Cigar & Hookah Lounge.

Their existing IHOP is at 515 S. Ridge Circle in west Wichita.

Their Emporia IHOP, which will open either Oct. 8 or 9, will be in the former Village Inn space at 2831 W. 18th Ave.

“We didn’t have a plan for Emporia,” Ali Issa says of locating there. “It just came up. … It was a good deal.”

He’s not sure where — or even if — they’ll open another IHOP.

“It’s hard to predict.”

Issa says he’ll spend the next month or two focusing on Emporia, although he says he’ll still continue to pop into Heat, which he also runs.

“Heat’s is doing very well,” he says.

Along with a loyal clientele, Issa says he has good employees to help him.

“We have some very good people (at) both places.”

John Browns in Clifton Square has closed, at least for now

John Fitzthum has closed — at least for now — his John Browns in Clifton Square.

“We’re going to take a break,” Fitzthum says. “We’re going to restrategize.”

Fitzthum opened in November in the former Clifton Wine and Jazz space.

“I think there needs to be some reconsideration of the hours. There needs to be some reconsideration of the menu,” he says. “You know, the late-night food in Wichita doesn’t work, in my opinion, which surprises me. I guess people prefer Village Inn.”

Fitzthum is going to try to make a decision by next week about either keeping John Browns or doing something new.

Regardless of what happens there, Fitzthum is going to go work for his brother-in-law, Louis Thompson, at the Candle Club. Fitzthum will be general manager.

“We’re going to be one big family over at the Candle Club.”


Village Inn remodeling will bring it into this century

village2WICHITA — The 25-year-old Village Inn at 7020 W. Central will be closed next week for remodeling that restaurant employees say will bring it into the 21st Century.

“It does feel like it’s 1985,” says Seth Leach, general manager. With the renovation, he says, “It’s going to feel more like today.”

The restaurant is going to get wireless Internet, flat-screen TVs and $250,000 worth of new carpet, wallpaper and paint, among other things.

Instead of the predominant 1980s dusty rose, the restaurant will now be several shades of pastel.

“They’re like Easter egg colors,” Leach says.

Sauerwein Construction is doing the remodeling.

Leach says prices won’t change at the restaurant.

Depending on how this remodeling goes, the South Rock Road Village Inn could be remodeled next. Leach says the Derby Village Inn isn’t very old and doesn’t need remodeling. And the South Meridian Village Inn already was remodeled in another style last year.

The West Central Village Inn will close at 3 p.m. Sunday and reopen June 13 at 6 a.m.