What’s not clear yet is where – or when – it will move.
The building’s landlord, Walter Morris Investment Co., is in talks with a potential new tenant for the space, said Joe Verbeckmoes of Benchmark Real Estate Group. He manages Piccadilly Square Shopping Center for Walter Morris. But most important, the aging building no longer is a good fit for Piccadilly. It has 21,000 square feet, where the average restaurant is about 6,000 to 8,000 square feet.
The deal for the new tenant is nowhere near complete, though, Verbeckmoes said, and anything could still happen. In the meantime, he’s trying to help Latour find a new space that would make more sense for Piccadilly.
If the deal goes through, it would also affect the Farris Wheel, a candy store that’s also a tenant in the Piccadilly building.
Joumana Toubia, Latour’s director of operations, said she already has started downsizing her market, which specializes in gourmet foods, imported cheeses and gift baskets. She’d like to stay on the east side of Wichita.
“I’ve been ready to move,” she said. “We’re looking for something smaller.”
The late Antoine Toubia first opened Piccadilly in 1989 in the space that had been a grocery store called Carl Bell’s Food Market. At first, Piccadilly was a gourmet grocery store that specialized in fresh meat, fish and poultry. It also had a deli serving hot and cold foods and a bakery with a wood-burning oven.
The restaurant expanded over the years, and in the 1990s, Piccadilly Grill was among the east side’s most popular restaurants. It also was one of Wichita’s earliest – and at times only – gourmet grocery, where cooks could find ingredients like arugula and imported cheese.
For years, one of Wichita’s best wine shops – Evers Wine & Spirits – also occupied part of the building.
Latour also had a Piccadilly on the west side, which was open from 1999 to 2005. A Piccadilly Express also operated downtown at 151 N. Main for 13 years, closing in 2010.
Toubia and Latour were responsible for many of Wichita’s early fine-dining restaurants, including Cafe Chantilly, the Olive Tree and Chelsea’s. It still has Bagatelle Bakery at 6801 E. Harry and runs The Muse, the cafe in the Wichita Art Museum. Latour also has a catering business.