Bryce Kuhn to open Twelve Restaurant & Bar in former Shorty Small’s space

WICHITA — Bryce Kuhn is a familiar face to many Wichita diners from working for others at a number of restaurants here. Now, he’s going to have a place of his own in the space that Shorty Small’s left at the Westlake Retail Center at 119th and Maple.

“I’ve always loved the west side,” Kuhn says. “My heart’s over here.”

He’s opening Twelve Restaurant & Bar, which he describes as an American grill, in June.

“Twelve has been my favorite number since I was about 5 or 6 years old.”

Kuhn’s first basketball jersey was No. 12.

“It stuck with me.”

Also, he says 2012 “was pretty much my best year ever.”

Kuhn married last year, bought a house and found out he was going to become a father.

After a career traveling to various cities with Houston’s restaurants, Kuhn returned to Wichita to work for several restaurants here, including Bonefish Grill, YaYa’s Eurobistro, Newport Grill and the Lakeside Club most recently.

Kuhn plans for Twelve to be “upscale casual.”

“We want to give people an upscale dining experience, but we don’t want to make them feel like they’re paying an arm and a leg to have a nice night out on the town.”

The restaurant, which will have seating for about 150 and another 25 on the patio, will serve dishes such as hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood and roasted chicken along with sandwiches and salads.

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Shorty Small’s has closed, but there’s a chance it could open in Wichita again

UPDATED — Shorty Small’s last day in business in Wichita was Feb. 24.

“Yesterday was a very emotional, very hard day,” says Cindy Harsha, vice president of the Oklahoma City-based company.

“I just can’t begin to tell you how emotional and hard it was.”

The restaurant opened more than seven years ago on the southwest corner of 119th and Maple in the Westlake shopping center.

“We opened to some really great numbers,” Harsha says. “Then, after about a year or so, things were dwindling.”

The restaurant initially was a fast-casual concept, but Harsha says the neighborhood wanted something more, so the chain remodeled into a full-service restaurant.

She says diners “really had a lovely reaction to that.”

Sales didn’t remain strong, though.

“Wichita seems to have suffered some economic hardships,” Harsha says. “We’re not the only ones the economy has been mean to.”

Road construction in the area didn’t help either, she says.

Another retooling of the restaurant last year also helped, though.

“We did have a nice little bounce back of sales this last spring,” Harsha says. “It seemed like a curtain fell down this summer.”

She blames a combination of gas prices and Boeing’s planned departure from the city followed by the Bombardier Learjet Machinists strike in the fall.

“It just was pretty devastating to sales.”

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New Asian fusion restaurant to open in Samurai space near 37th and Woodlawn

WICHITA — A new Asian fusion restaurant is opening in the former Samurai space near 37th and Woodlawn.

Portland, Ore., resident Dave Wan and his wife, Nasy Chan, are moving to Wichita to open the restaurant in 2,000 square feet of the 12,000-square-foot center to the east of the southeast corner of the intersection.

“We have relatives there,” Wan says of Wichita.

He says he’s still mulling a name for the business, which will be a fusion of Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese food.

Wan is from Hong Kong. Chan has Cambodian and Vietnamese roots.

Dishes will include teriyaki, pho noodles and hibachi grill cooking.

“It’s an open-kitchen concept,” Wan says.

He thinks they most likely won’t serve alcohol but will have a variety of other drinks, such as bubble tea, Thai iced tea and fruit drinks.

Wan says he’s planning an April opening.

Building co-owner W.G. Farha says the new lease brings the center to 100 percent occupancy.

“We’re excited about the area with Koch’s expansion and two new schools opening in the Bel Aire area,” he says.

He’s also an owner in the 12,600-square-foot center next to that one, which has one 1,400-square-foot space left.

District Advisory Board votes in favor of extra parking for the Hill Bar and Grill

WICHITA — The issue of whether developers can get extra parking for a bar and grill in the former Barrier’s space is heading to City Council.

A District Advisory Board considered the issue Monday with a packed audience in attendance. Many of the 70 or so people who were there are opposed to the 2 a.m. closing time brothers Brad and Brent Steven want for their new Hill Bar and Grill.

The board voted 8 to 1 in favor of allowing building owners Christian Ablah and W.G. Farha to raze a duplex near the building for more parking.

City Council likely will consider the issue early in the new year.

Mike’s Wine Dive owners to open the Hill Bar and Grill in the former Barrier’s space

Brothers Brent (left) and Brad Steven in front of the former Barrier’s building at Douglas and Oliver, which they’re going to transform into the Hill Bar and Grill.

WICHITA — As some residents of Crown Heights are organizing a group to protest a bar and grill going in the former Barrier’s space at Douglas and Oliver, the restaurateurs hoping to open it are ready to share details.

Mike’s Wine Dive owners Brent and Brad Steven plan to open the Hill Bar and Grill — named for the hill in College Hill — in 5,100 square feet of the building in March.

Mike’s is in the center at the northwest corner of the intersection. The Hill will be on the northeast corner.

Though Brad Steven says the Hill will be a great place to catch a game, he says, “It’s not going to be a sports bar.”

“Our focus will be a wide selection of craft beers as well as American food,” he says. “Basically, we’re going to be specializing in beers the way we specialize in wine at Mike’s.”

There will be 25 beers on tap and craft beers from around the world.

Brent Steven describes it as “kind of like an ale house.”

He says the idea is “a place that’s totally different than Mike’s.”

Where Mike’s is more fine dining, he says, he and his brother envision the Hill as “more of a hangout spot.”

“It will appeal to a wider audience than Mike’s does.”

There will be seating for about 150 customers.

There will be an outside patio facing Douglas that is within the front of the building and will serve as an area for smoking. There will be another patio that wraps around the east side of the building.

There will be another 2,400 square feet left in the building for another business.

The Hill’s hours aren’t set yet, but the Stevens are thinking 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. most days and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekends.

The hours are a key issue for some residents.

“You can go on the news and see all the time what happens in Old Town at 2 a.m.,” says Melinda Foley, who is president of the Crown Heights Neighborhood Association.

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