Dining With Denise Neil

Restaurant doomed by Kellogg construction moving, shifting focus

Hibachi Boy at 601 S. Greenwich closed in July, but its owners plan to relocate.
Hibachi Boy at 601 S. Greenwich closed in July, but its owners plan to relocate. The Wichita Eagle

An unfortunate bit of timing that caused Roung Kumgool to close her Hibachi Boy restaurant just over a year after opening it might turn out OK in the end.

She’s planning to relocate the restaurant to a nearby spot and give it a trendy new focus: ramen.

Kumgool, who also owns the original (and still open) Hibachi Boy at 1220 N. Rock Road in Derby, opened her second Hibachi Boy in a strip center at 601 S. Greenwich in April 2015.

Just two months later, she received a notice that construction on Greenwich and Kellogg would affect her restaurant, restricting access to her parking lot. The completed project would run just a few feet from the business, she was told.

“We were there only two months,” she said. “We were in a state of shock.”

Business was good, but she had to close the restaurant in mid-July, Kumgool said. She was frequently losing water service for several hours a day because of construction, making it impossible to run the business.

She will, however, receive money as part of a turnpike relocation program, she said, and she will use it to move the restaurant to a space nearby. She and her husband, Philip Sayavong, are considering a space but aren’t ready to say where it is just yet.

When it opens – likely sometime next spring – it will still serve the hibachi grill and sushi items her customers have become used to, but she also plans to add ramen and other noodle soups to the menu.

She and her husband are about to take a trip to Southeast Asia, and while there, he will train with Japanese chefs who will teach him the intricacies of udon and ramen soup making.

They’ll likely give the new restaurant a new name, she said.

In the meantime, she said, customers have been driving all the way to Derby without complaint.

“It’s turned out well,” Kumgool said. “All the Wichita customers and Andover customers went over to Derby.”

Stay tuned for news on the new restaurant’s location and opening date.