Applebee’s to open in front of Warren Theatre on April 15

WICHITA — Jim Stevens is about to move his east-side Applebee’s into a new neighborhood, and he’s feeling a little nostalgic.

In November, Stevens told Have You Heard? his plans to open a new Applebee’s – one of 25 he owns – in front of the Warren Theatre at the Plazzio development at 13th and Greenwich.

That will open April 15. That means the Applebee’s near 21st and North Rock Road is closing at midnight Friday.

“This is my second Applebee’s I opened,” Stevens says of the North Rock Road restaurant.

“It was very memorable.”

Stevens says it was 1990.

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East-side Applebee’s to move to Plazzio

WICHITA — Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens soon will offer diners a chance to eat good in a new neighborhood, to borrow from the chain’s slogan.

He’s moving his Rock Road Applebee’s to the Plazzio development at the southeast corner of 13th and Greenwich.

“It probably won’t be till March of next year,” Stevens says.

“I kind of hate to close,” he says of the Applebee’s near 21st and Rock Road. “It’s still one of my better stores.”

With new car dealerships on a couple of corners of 13th and Greenwich, and restaurants, the Warren Theatre and the Alley already at Plazzio, Stevens says it “just seemed like … the right place to go.”

“There’s just so much development taking place out there,” he says.

“The whole intersection is really, really developing quickly,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

She says that “13th and Greenwich is the next 21st and Rock Road of east Wichita.”

Stevens will build the new Applebee’s between Sumo and Jose Pepper’s, which is at the light at the main entrance to the development.

The new Applebee’s will have a patio, which is a first for Stevens.

He had considered another concept – which he’s still thinking about – for the Plazzio space initially. Stevens says corporate wanted him to build a new Applebee’s prototype, though.

“They have some different things they’ve done to the bar and the inside area.”

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Orange Leaf to open at Westlake center at 119th West and Maple

WICHITA — And now for the weekly yogurt update.

Orange Leaf Self Serve Frozen Yogurt franchisee Jeff Finnell is planning to open a new store this summer at 119th West and Maple between Shorty Small’s and Felipe’s  Mexican Restaurant, which is on the east end of WestLake. That’s also where Kanai anchors the northwest side.

“We just saw that as a great destination spot and a great spot to add a dessert location,” Finnell says.

Bradley Tidemann and Cristi Howell of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

There’s been a spate of yogurt places opening around the greater Wichita area, but Finnell was one of the first when he opened an Orange Leaf at the retail center at 21st and Tyler in front of the Warren Theatre last summer.

There’s a second Orange Leaf franchisee in the market as well.

The newest Orange Leaf, which will be in 1,600 square feet, will be the area’s fourth.

Finnell thinks this should do it for him in Wichita.

“I would think we pretty well got it covered.”

Orange Leaf opens Friday at Siena Plaza

WICHITA — Sean O’Brien’s first Orange Leaf is opening Friday in Siena Plaza, a Chuck Caro property at 37th and Rock.

This is Wichita’s second Orange Leaf yogurt franchise.

Jeff Finnell, the other franchisee here, opened the first Orange Leaf at the retail center at 21st and Tyler in front of the Warren Theatre in July.

O’Brien also is working to bring Orange Leaf to Caro’s strip center near the northeast corner of Central and Greenwich.

Look for a probable October opening there.

Third Orange Leaf planned for Wichita

WICHITA — On the heels of Orange Leaf opening in Wichita and a second one on its way, there’s now a third planned for the market.

Franchisee Sean O’Brien is going to bring the frozen yogurt shop to Caro Development’s strip center near the northeast corner of Central and Greenwich.

His first Orange Leaf will open at Caro’s Siena Plaza at 37th and Rock in about four weeks.

Jeff Finnell, the other Orange Leaf franchisee here, just opened Wichita’s first Orange Leaf at the retail center at 21st and Tyler in front of the Warren Theatre.

The self-serve yogurt comes in 16 flavors and has 40 toppings from which to choose.

O’Brien already has identified a couple of other potential Orange Leaf sites, but he wants to see how the first two do before signing deals for other spaces.

Look for the third Orange Leaf to open by Oct. 1.

Second Orange Leaf coming to Wichita, followed by a possible third

WICHITA — There’s a second Orange Leaf self-serve yogurt shop coming to Wichita, but it’s not by the same franchisee who is bringing one to 21st and Tyler.

Jeff Finnell is bringing the Oklahoma-based franchise to the west side in front of the Warren Theatre next month.

Franchisee Sean O’Brien also has an Orange Leaf planned for Siena Plaza on the northwest corner of 37th and Rock by mid-August.

“The shopping center’s great,” O’Brien says of the Caro Development property.

He likes how upscale it is and that it has a high traffic count.

The shop, which features a large variety of flavors and toppings, will be about 1,900 square feet and seat 40 inside and more outside.

O’Brien also is working on another Wichita site which he may finalize in the next week or two.

“We are the fastest-growing yogurt franchise going right now,” says CEO Arty Straehla.

When he and a business partner bought the chain in April, there were 15 Orange Leaf sites.

Now there are 25, and there are 15 more under construction and another 15 in the leasing stage.

The concept started in Oklahoma last year.

“It really caught on,” Straehla says. “We’ve seen that pretty much everywhere.”

He says the stores generally serve areas within a couple of miles of where they’re located, so he thinks Wichita could support several Orange Leaf shops.

“We’re not going to oversaturate the market,” Straehla says.

“Five or six is definitely within reason,” he says. “Maybe a few more.”

Orange Leaf yogurt franchise to open at 21st and Tyler

WICHITA — By July, when it’s particularly heating up, the west side will have a new way to cool down.

The self-serve frozen yogurt franchise Orange Leaf is coming to the retail center at 21st and Tyler in front of the Warren Theatre.

“I’m not kidding,” says franchisee Jeff Finnell, “by the end of the summer, people are going to be talking about this.”

Finnell and his wife, Kathy, also own Holy Trinity Catholic Books and Gifts at 8651 W. Central.

They used to live in Wichita and are now in Oklahoma.

Orange Leaf, which has about 30 sites nationally, used to be based in California but recently moved to Oklahoma City.

“We just felt like this would go over very, very well in Wichita,” Jeff Finnell says.

There will be 16 flavors from which to choose along with 40 toppings.

“And then when you’re all done creating your masterpiece, you take it to the cash register, you put it on a scale and you pay for it by the ounce,” Finnell says.

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