The big restaurant story of 2012 in Wichita will no doubt be the much-anticipated arrival of two free-standing Chick-fil-A restaurants.
If you’re not a fan of fried chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, though, the new year will bring many other new restaurants along with it, including a couple of new pizza places, some Asian eateries and a couple of restaurant re-dos.
Here’s a run-down of what’s been announced. But as the year develops, so will the list.
• Ziggy’s Pizza, 3700 E. Douglas: This new pizza place should open in late January in the space at Clifton Square most recently occupied by the Bay Leaf Cafe. Owned by brothers Ryan and Jamie Verbeckmoes, it’ll serve square-shaped pizzas, toasted sandwiches, salads and a full bar. Everything is finished, Jamie said, except hiring staff and obtaining proper permits. Once open, the hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Thursdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant’s phone number is 316-613-2529.
• Lakeside Grill, 2121 N. Webb: Businessman Wink Hartman already is accepting members for his private club, which he plans to open in late January. It’s in the former Bella Donna space, and Hartman has favorite local chef Jeremy Wade in the kitchen. For information on how to join, visit www.clublakeside.com.
• Jimmie’s Diner, 1519 George Washington Dr. The former Toc’s Coffeehouse space is almost converted into a second Jimmie’s Diner. It should open in late January.
• Chosen Wok, 8971 W. Central: (first week of February) Owners Michelle Chin and William Tsao are still remodeling the former Starbucks space where they are opening a second location of the Great Bend-based fast Chinese restaurant.
• Jose Pepper’s, 2243 N. Tyler: Wichita’s second Jose Pepper’s restaurant is set to open in the former Timberline space in early February.
• Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill, 222 N. Washington (mid-February): Owner Charlie Badeen, who also has Dudley’s at 8550 W. 21st, says he will start hanging sheet rock soon on his new restaurant, which he says should be ready by mid-February.
• Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits, 3131 N. Rock: The Popeye’s chain will open another store in Wichita in February.
• Todd Brians Brick Street Cafe & Tavern, 315 N. Mead: Chris Tincher plans to open his American cafe, featuring dishes such as crawfish etouffee, taco plates and cheeseburgers, in the former Imbiss Grill space in February.
• Golden Bay, 3811 W. 13th St. North: Owners Brian and Jing Kitchens plan to open Golden Bay, a fusion of sushi, Japanese and Chinese cuisine, in the former Mama-Sans Japanese Restaurant space in February.
• Chick-fil-A, 7990 E. Central: Wichita’s first Chick-fil-A has taken shape, and the opening date is tentatively scheduled for March 1. A second free-standing Chick-fil-A is planned for the southwest corner of 21st and Maize roads and should open by early fall.
• Pita Pit, 3242 N. Rock: Cammy Onek and her husband Chad plan to open a Pita Pit sandwich shop in the former Froz space. Wichita had a Pita Pit a few years ago at 320 N. Rock, owned by another franchisee, but it closed. The Oneks hope to open in March.
Later this year
• Jimmy John’s, 21st and Maize: A fourth Wichita location of this sandwich chain (but the first for the west side) should open late spring.
• Rock Island Pizza Co., location TBA: Partners Robert McMullin and Kevin Groom originally hoped to open their pizza place, specializing in Quad Cities-style pies, in Delano this month. But the location feel through, and now, they’re working on securing financing and finding a new spot. (They’re looking at a building downtown.) They hope to be open by late spring.
• Rock Island Cafe, North Rock Road: Kirsten Teague is reviving the former Rock Island Cafe, which operated from 1985 until the mid-1990s in the building that eventually became the original Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.
It will offer gourmet sandwiches. Teague is working on leasing a building and hopes to be open by April.
• Mooyah, location TBA: Local franchisee Rusty Rathbun says that one location of this Dallas-based hamburger chain should open in the middle of 2012. Two more should follow in 2013, he said.