The hottest new restaurant corridor in Wichita is giving diners two more reasons to stop by.
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Wingstop, a new franchise for Wichita, will open in the same center as the new west-side Twin Peaks later this year.
“It’s a validation of the strength of this market to see so many national restaurants wanting to be here,” says Dan Unruh of InSite Real Estate Group.
A new Great Clips also is going to open at the center, which Unruh is calling South Ridge Retail, and there’s still 2,851 square feet left to lease. Unruh says that space, which is between where Great Clips and Wingstop are opening, can be divisible to as small as 1,300 square feet.
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Unruh and InSite’s Curt Robertson are part of South Ridge LLC, which is developing the 16,500-square-foot center at 7325 W. Taft. Gallery Expressions will be Twin Peaks’ neighbor to the northwest across a parking lot, and the Lowe’s at Maple and Ridge Road is just north of that.
The center is across Ridge Road from a number of established restaurants, including Carlos O’Kelly’s, Panera Bread, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Applebee’s and IHOP. Pie Five Pizza also recently opened there. Abuelo’s will be opening at the northeast corner of Taft and Ridge Road, which is south of Panera, this spring.
McAlister’s Deli, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Outback Steakhouse also are around the Maple and Ridge intersection.
“It is a clustering effect that seems to be common,” Unruh says.
He says the area is attractive for restaurants because of high traffic counts, population density and daytime employment.
“It all just comes together with very convenient access.”
Jimmy John’s franchisee Matt Brane agrees.
“You know, there’s a lot of advantages to that location,” says Brane, who is president and owner of Bushwood Investments. The company has 35 Jimmy John’s, including five in Wichita with the new space, which will be in 1,600 square feet at the south end of the center. The end space allows for a drive-through.
Brane says he likes “the proximity to Kellogg and the traffic that goes along there.” Also, he says, “The daytime population is really good.” That’s significant because of how it impacts lunches.
Wingstop franchisee, or brand partner as the chain says, Steve Davis also is impressed with what he calls the vibrancy of the area. He says the opportunity to be in a new center “is very important to us.”
The 20-year-old Dallas-based chain has more than 600 restaurants nationally. Davis and his brother, Jeff, have deals for two Wingstops in Wichita and one in Stillwater, Okla.
“We are actively seeking a second location on the east side,” says Steve Davis, who is working with Unruh to find a site.
The first Wichita Wingstop will be in 1,800 square feet next to Jimmy John’s.
“It’ll be a comfortable place to watch a sporting event,” Davis says.
However, he says it’s not like a Buffalo Wild Wings.
“It’s just not … full-blown casual dining,” Davis says.
There will be some seating, a couple of TVs and bottled beer, but mostly the business will focus on take-out orders.
“Over the last few years, wings have moved from an appetizer to an entree in terms of how people are eating,” Davis says. “The category is growing … steadily.”
He says Wingstop serves traditional bone-in and boneless chicken along with chicken tenders with a variety of sauces and seasonings and quality side dishes, such as freshly cut fries.
Davis, a former Mazzio’s franchisee who is moving from Oklahoma to run the Wichita Wingstops, expects to be open by the middle of November.
Brane expects to have Jimmy John’s open by early December.
“Yeah, we don’t mess around, we’re freaky fast,” he says, playing off the chain’s commercials.
Brane says it makes sense to have so many restaurants so close to each other.
“I think we all complement each other,” he says.
Twin Peaks will open Oct. 13.
The new Great Clips, which is opening in 1,500 square feet next to Twin Peaks, also will open in October.
Franchisee Dean Ladd says there will be a dozen stations in the salon.
“It’s going to be one of the bigger salons here in town,” he says.
Ladd says he thinks the area is underserved for salons.
“There’s a lot of good … customers to be had in that area,” he says. “It’s going to be a good location.”
Unruh handled the Great Clips deal with Nathan Farha of NAI Martens. Unruh also handled the Wingstop deal. InSite’s Carl Hebert handled the Jimmy John’s deal along with Jon Cyphert of Jon Cyphert Commercial Real Estate.
Unruh and Robertson have reconfigured the center, which previously was office space. They had focused on the corridor when they were helping Twin Peaks find west-side space.
“We started playing around with the concept of this building and how it could be modified,” Unruh says.
He says that area of Wichita is so attractive in part because of the success of existing restaurants.
“You’ll find that most of the restaurant operators in this market have some of their best stores (there) not only in Wichita, but their entire portfolio,” Unruh says.
“So the market just perpetuates. I don’t know that you can reach a point that you have too many restaurants.”