Wichitans are known for their love of dining out, and as the year progresses, they’ll have several new restaurants to sample – including a fine-dining spot, a neighborhood bar and grill and an arena-adjacent pizza place.
One of the fanciest additions will be Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, which native Wichitan and Lone Star Steakhouse founder Dennis Thompson and some partners plan to open this summer.
The restaurant, which will serve steaks and other wood-fired dishes, will open in a 7,650-square-foot space at the Waterfront, the development at 13th and Webb that already is home to some of Wichita’s most popular restaurants, including P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Abuelo’s, Bonefish Grill, Ciao and Chester’s Chophouse.
The space it’s taking over used to house Brooks Brothers and has an eye-catching domed roof.
The feel of the restaurant, owners say, will be akin to Redrock Canyon Grill, which opened in 2001 at Bradley Fair.
Several other restaurants planned for this year are second locations of already successful spots – or second ventures by successful restaurateurs.
One is Hill Bar and Grill, a neighborhood restaurant and hangout space by Mike’s Wine Dive owners and brothers Brent and Brad Steven. They’re currently working on the restaurant, which is going in the former Barrier’s space at Douglas and Oliver. It will serve craft beers and American bar fare and will seat about 150. The Stevens are aiming for a March opening.
Also expected in March is a new Wasabi, whose owners already have two other locations of the sushi restaurant at 912 E. Douglas and 3242 N. Rock Road. The new one will be at 2404 N. Maize Road in the former Peachwave Frozen Yogurt spot in New Market Square.
Pacific Coast Pizza owner Rusty Law, who opened his first restaurant at 7718 E. 37th St. N. in 2009, plans to open a second this spring. It will be at 222 S. Commerce on the south end of the former Spaghetti Works space, which sits just east of the arena. The restaurant will give Intrust Bank Arena patrons a nearby pre-show meal option. He hopes to open in March.
And Eunice and Jay Kim, who moved their Hana Cafe from Rock Road to Old Town Square in 2006, are expanding their business next door into the former Wichita Police Department substation. The new restaurant will be called Hana Next Door and will serve healthy dishes to go, including Korean fare, and dishes made with tofu and vegetables. That restaurant should have an April opening.
Other restaurants that should appear in 2013:
• Mortimers Neighborhood Grille and Piano Bar, 3700 E. Douglas: Former Cibola owners Kevin Brown and Tracy Fahrbach are close to opening their new piano bar in the old John Browns spot at Clifton Square.
• Qdoba Mexican Grill, location TBA: The Denver-based chain, which operates a lot like Chipotle, should enter the Wichita market this fall.
• Mooyah: Anthony Powell, who opened Wichita’s first Mooyah at 352 S. West St. in November, says he hopes to find an eastside Mooyah location sometime this year.
• Twin Peaks: Rusty Rathbun has plans to open a second Twin Peaks somewhere on the west side, although he’s still negotiating where. He hopes to have it open by summer. The restaurant would join Wichita’s first Twin Peaks, which opened at 8310 E. 21st St. in May 2011.