Couple to reopen Brints Diner

01/08/2013 7:56 AM

01/08/2013 7:56 AM

Chuck Giles has the happy luck of fulfilling a longtime dream while making some Wichitans very happy in the process.

Giles, who owns Neighbor’s Restaurant & Bar in Twin Lakes, is reopening Brints Diner.

“People are just freaking out because it was closed,” Giles says. “I’ve always wanted a little diner.”

He and his girlfriend, Connie Schrader, are opening the business within the next two weeks.

The more than 50-year-old Brints, which is near the northeast corner of Lincoln and Oliver, closed in October. Former owner Jessie Medina said construction in the area was to blame.

Giles has owned Neighbor’s at 21st and Amidon for more than 10 years and worked at Stroud’s for 10 years before that, first as kitchen manager and then as general manager.

“There’s just really not a lot of old restaurants left in Wichita,” he says.

That’s why he says he was interested in Brints.

“I just think the history of the place is worth something.”

The restaurant, which seats 64, is one of the city’s few remaining Valentine buildings – metal, mobile diners that Wichita’s Valentine Manufacturing built between 1938 and 1971.

“I was told there’s 13 in the country that are still operating,” Giles says.

He scoffs a bit when people ask him if he’s purchased the old recipes from Brints.

“What old recipes? Bacon and eggs?”

Giles says it reminds him of when he left Stroud’s and people asked if he took the fried chicken recipe with him.

“What, the flour, salt and pepper?”

He says few restaurant recipes are a secret.

“They didn’t have anything secret,” Giles says of Brints. “Being an old Valentine diner, that’s what they were known for.”

More recently, Brints has been known for being featured in a 2007 segment of Guy Fieri’s show “ Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Brints will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. to serve “just the old comfort type of things that everybody’s kind of got away from,” Giles says.

That includes hot beef sandwiches, meatloaf, chicken fried steak, chili and soup. Fried chicken will be on the menu only one day a week.

“It’s too small to have fried chicken every day,” Giles says. “The food has to be stuff that’s fast.”

Giles says landlord Homer Morgan has done a good job remodeling the space and is going to place two new signs on Lincoln and Oliver to promote the business.

Much of the original Brints still exists, Giles says. For instance, the floor still has vintage tile.

“It’s still got a lot of the old charm.”

Drive-in business

“Route 44s for everyone!”

That’s how one Sullivan, Higdon & Sink employee heralded the news on Facebook that the agency landed Sonic as a client.

“It’s a great start for the new year,” says Lathi de Silva, vice president and director of brand reputation.

The agency’s Kansas City office will handle what’s called below-the-line communications for the chain’s 3,500 drive-ins nationwide. That includes in-store communications and any communications on Sonic lots. It also includes menu boards and any localized marketing for specific stores.

“We’re really building what we call our food value chain practice,” de Silva says.

She says the agency serves clients from farm to fork on the food chain, such as Cargill and Borden Cheese.

“It’s just good for everybody to have these kinds of brands in our backyard,” says Sam Williams, SHS managing partner.

Though most of the work will be done in Kansas City, he says the Wichita office will offer support.

“Every time you win a national brand, it’s just huge when you’re a small, independent agency,” Williams says. “The thrill of winning never changes no matter how many times you’ve done it.”

He says the agency’s food connection goes back to the days it did print work for Pizza Hut when it was headquartered in Wichita.

“A farm-to-table strategy is very much in our DNA,” Williams says. “It’s been part of what we like to do for a long time.”

You don’t say

“My mom really knew how to handle every situation with grace. After all, she lived with Willard for 57 years.”

Julie Sheppard speaking about her mother, the late Jean Garvey, at the celebration of her life at the Orpheum Theatre on Jan. 5

Carrie Rengers first reported these items on her blog. Be among the first to get her business scoops at blogs.kansas.com/haveyouheard.

About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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