Deal to buy Luca Italian Kitchen falls through, but Pho Hot Bistro owner Danny Nguyen still looking to open in Old Town

WICHITA — Restaurateur Melad Stephan is back from an overseas trip, so now it’s possible to ask about a little situation that happened with his Luca Italian Kitchen a few weeks ago.

Luca, the Old Town restaurant that replaced Stephan’s once-popular Uptown Bistro, has struggled since opening in 2011. It briefly closed around the time Stephan left for his native Lebanon and a European tour, but the closure wasn’t related to the trip.

Stephan had been negotiating for months with Pho Hot Bistro owner Danny Nguyen to sell him the restaurant.

Nguyen’s Vietnamese restaurant is at 306 N. Rock Road, and he’s interested in having one in Old Town as well.

“We just couldn’t come to an agreement,” Stephan says.

He says he thought the deal would go through, so he stopped ordering food. Stephan says when the sale didn’t happen, he’d already run out of food and had to briefly close.

Nguyen isn’t discussing what happened.

Luca is now open for dinner only. Stephan says he’s saving money by not having to pay for lunch labor. He says the restaurant will remain open, though he adds his standard line: “Everything I have is for sale for the right price.”

Nguyen says he’s still interested in coming downtown.

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Melad Stephan to open Revolution Rock Bar and move Empire Catering into Eaton Place

WICHITA — Melad Stephan is growing his Old Town empire, literally and figuratively.

Stephan’s Empire Catering is moving into Eaton Place at Douglas and St. Francis where Eaton Steakhouse used to be.

“We’re really going to attack the catering big time,” he says.

Instead of spending money to put in a kitchen there, Stephan is taking over the former Whiskey Creek space, which most recently was the Air Capital Grill, to use that kitchen for all his catering.

In the front of that space, which is at 233 N. Mosley, Stephan is putting in a bar called Revolution Rock Bar.

The building isn’t as visible as some restaurants in Old Town.

“It’s more like a bar-hopping place,” Stephan says of that area. “By putting a bar in there, it fits right in there with the other bars.”

Unlike Stephan’s Oeno Wine Bar in Old Town Square, which caters to an age 30-and-up crowd, Revolution will cater to a younger set.

“We’re going to do some exciting things in the front of the building to attract people in,” Stephan says. “We’re going to play music from the ’80s and things like that.”

He’ll have a DJ and show music videos on the wall.

The bar should open by early October.

Stephan hopes to open at the Eaton by early September.

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Let’s Be Frank to close, possibly reopen elsewhere

WICHITA — After fewer than six months in business, Let’s Be Frank is closing.

“We got an eviction notice today, and we are probably going to be closed,” says partner Brad Standing.

The restaurant, which is at 2425 E. Douglas, will close Nov. 1.

Standing says there’s been an ongoing dispute with his landlord over a sewage line problem.

It’s the same problem that drove Savage Salon from the center.

Salon owner Chawalee Riggs reopened at 230 N. Mosley across from Whiskey Creek in Old Town.

Her new salon is called Salon Q, which she named for her 5-year-old, Quentin.

Standing would like to reopen somewhere else, but he’s not sure if he will.

“This all happened just a few hours ago, so no definite plans yet,” he says.

If Let’s Be Frank reopens elsewhere, look for it to still be in the Douglas Design District, Old Town or possibly Delano.

54 new plaques give Old Town visitors a glimpse of history

plaque2WICHITA — Old Town is obviously one of Wichita’s most historic areas. Now, some of that history is readily available for people to learn as they visit the area.

Developer Dave Burk this month placed 54 plaques on buildings throughout Old Town. He finished a couple of days ago and has already seen visitors stopping to look.

“This was research that we put together when we compiled all the information to get this into a National Historic District,” Burk says.

That was back in 1990.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” Burk says.

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