A new year, a new list of local restaurants to look forward to trying.
In 2013, Wichita will earn several fancy new restaurants, a piano bar, a place to eat like a Chicagoan and the city’s largest Asian buffet ever.
And those are just the restaurants we know about so far.
Here are some of the places that will open their doors to hungry Wichitans this year:
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Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, inside the Ambassador Wichita, 104 S. Broadway: The fancy new restaurant in the fancy new Ambassador Hotel opens for dinner on Friday. It’ll serve steaks, first-course pasta dishes and more. Starting Saturday, it’ll be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and also will offer Sunday brunch. For more information or to make reservations, call 316-239-7100.
Big B’s Beef, 4628 S. Seneca: Brian and Liz Bathgate plan a Monday opening for their new restaurant, which will serve Chicago-style sandwiches, hot dogs, fries, soups and Italian beef and sausage. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant has a drive-through window and will deliver to local businesses. For more information, call 316-522-2333.
Pita Hut: Old Town Square restaurateur Melad Stephan says he is close to getting his new food truck on the road, and his plan is to call it Pita Hut. It’ll sell schwarma and other Mediterranean specialties. He hopes to have it open by the end of January.
Teppanyaki Grill Sushi Buffet , 6710 W. Kellogg: Owners hope to have this mega-buffet, which will serve sushi and Chinese food in 12,000 square feet of restaurant space, open by early February. The space is next to Best Buy. For more information, call 316-942-7777.
Wasabi, 2404 N. Maize Road: Wichita’s third Wasabi sushi restaurant will open in the space that formerly held Peachwave Frozen Yogurt. The interior is under construction now, and the restaurant should open sometime in February. Wichita’s other two Wasabi restaurants are at 912 E. Douglas and 3242 N. Rock Road.
Mortimers Neighborhood Grille and Piano Bar, 3700 E. Douglas: Former Cibola owners Kevin Brown and Tracy Fahrbach hope to open their new piano bar before Valentine’s Day. The business, which will take over the old John Browns spot at Clifton Square, will be open for dinner Mondays through Saturdays and will feature a menu of made-from-scratch comfort foods such as sandwiches, burgers, prime rib and more. The restaurant will seat 50 on the first level and another 50 on the lower level, which on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights will be used as a piano bar.
Hill Bar and Grill, 4800 E. Douglas: Mike’s Wine Dive owners Brent and Brad Steven are planning this new restaurant in the former Barrier’s space at Douglas and Oliver. Though neighboring Crown Heights residents are protesting some of the details of the plan – including its late hours – the brothers hope to open in March and will serve craft beers and pub fare.
Hana Next Door, 321 N. Mead: Eunice and Jay Kim plan to open their new restaurant, an expansion of Hana Cafe at 325 N. Mead, sometime in March. The restaurant, which will serve express-style Korean food, is taking over the space that the Wichita Police Department substation previously occupied in Old Town Square.
May or June
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, 10096 East 13th St.: Lone Star Steakhouse founder Dennis Thompson is planning this upscale restaurant, specializing in wood-fired dishes with a Southwestern feel, in the former Brooks Brothers store at the Waterfront development. He hopes to be open by summer.
Qdoba Mexican Grill, location TBA: Representatives for Qdoba, a Chipotle-style restaurant where customers customize their own burritos and tacos, say the Denver-based chain should enter the Wichita market in the fall of this year.
Date to be determined
Mooyah: Anthony Powell, who opened Wichita’s first Mooyah to good reception at 352 S. West St. in early 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, though he’s still negotiating where. Plans are to open it before summer. Wichita’s first Twin Peaks, which features big portions and waitresses in short-shorts, opened at 8310 E. 21st St. in May of 2011.