Contractor Larry Cook files mechanics lien against YO-B owner Nabil Bacha

WICHITA — Contractor Larry Cook has filed a mechanics lien against YO-B owner Nabil Bacha for $87,882.

On the advice of his attorney, Cook says he won’t comment, but Bacha has plenty to say.

“The construction was embarrassing,” Bacha says of Cook’s work on the new Old Town Square restaurant, which opened in February in the former Luca Italian Kitchen space, which previously was Uptown Bistro.

Bacha, who also owns Cafe Bel Ami, says it took Cook “seven months to do four walls” during which time he saw three other area restaurants either renovated or opened.

“I don’t know why that’s such a hard time for him to do. Maybe he should not be in the construction business to start with.”

Cook’s attorney, Frank Ojile, doesn’t address specific claims by Bacha, but he says that “basically, we deny his claims.”

“My client hasn’t been paid, and we filed the mechanics lien, and I probably won’t have further comment … because of possible future litigation.”

Bacha says renovating the space for YO-B, a burger and yogurt restaurant, was supposed to be an $80,000 project and was to be completed by Oct. 15.

Cook “never delivered,” Bacha says.

“I had to have him redo so many things that were wrong,” he says. “Nothing was going right.”

Bacha says he paid almost $79,000 and then Cook told him he needed more money. Bacha says Cook kept changing the amount.

Bacha says he pointed out issues with the bill, and he says Cook told him he would take care of them. Instead, Bacha says, he got the lien.

“All of a sudden, that’s what I saw.”

In addition to saying he doesn’t owe Cook anything more, Bacha says he lost a lot of money due to the delays, and he’s left disillusioned with the process.

“I’m professional. I have never been through something like this.”

YO-B still opening in Old Town Square

WICHITA — Cafe Bel Ami owner Nabil Bacha is still planning to open YO-B in the former Luca Italian Kitchen space in Old Town Square, but when?

“Good question,” he says.

Bacha says he’s no closer to naming an opening date than when he announced the venture in August.

First, he thought the gourmet burger and yogurt business would open in mid October. When that didn’t happen, Bacha predicted mid November. That’s not going to happen, either.

“I would hate to tell anybody anything because I already failed twice,” Bacha says.

He says a reasonable guess would be December.

“Things are going very slowly right now.”

Bacha says he has many things on order.

“We’ve taken everything out, and we’re redoing everything.”

Yo-B diners will have the option of ordering from a kiosk. Bacha says he’s trying to be trendy and appeal to young customers.

“It is just a simple concept,” he says.

Opening, though, is not so simple, and that’s why Bacha says “it’s just kind of scary to pinpoint a date.”

Luca Italian Kitchen closes; YO-B to open

UPDATED — Melad Stephan has sold his Luca Italian Kitchen.

Another downtown restaurateur, Nabil Bacha, took possession of it this afternoon.

“We wanted to bring something a bit different,” says Bacha, who owns Cafe Bel Ami at 229 E. William.

He considered doing something possibly called Bel Ami Bistro, which would have been similar to Stephan’s popular Uptown Bistro that was at the entrance to Old Town Square before Luca.

Bacha decided that’s too much like what is already in Old Town, though.

“They’re all competing against each other,” he says of sit-down restaurants there. “There’s just too many.”

Bacha decided to go another route with yogurt, custard and one really, really tasty burger, which he says will be similar to the popular In-N-Out Burger on the West Coast.

The name is tentatively YO-B, for yogurt and burgers.

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