Dining With Denise Neil

Mexican restaurant closing after 32 years – but it might be back

Enrique and Mary Cortez will close their 32-year-old Mexican restaurant in February.
Enrique and Mary Cortez will close their 32-year-old Mexican restaurant in February. File photo

Mary and Enrique Cortez need a break. And they need to do some painting at their house.

But running their Cortez Mexican Restaurant at 29th and Broadway every day of the past 32 years has kept them from doing either, they said. So at the end of business on Feb. 18, they’ll close their family Mexican restaurant.

The closing may not be permanent, though, and they said they’ll continue to operate the nightclub and venue side of their business until they’re able to sell the building at 344 W. 29th St. North.

“It’s sad,” said Enrique Cortez. “I really enjoy doing this. I’ll miss the customers.”

Two years ago, the couple began saying that if business did not improve, they might have to close. Traffic had slowed in the neighborhood along with the economy, and the explosion of new restaurants on the east and west sides of Wichita and in Old Town didn’t help.

They celebrated the restaurant’s 30th anniversary in June 2015. Last summer, they put the building up for sale, saying they’d like to find a smaller location on the west side.

But the building still hasn’t sold, and the couple says it’s no longer profitable to open the cavernous building every day.

The duo plans to continue catering, and the space will be available to rent for parties and other events. They’ll also continue to open their restaurant as a nightclub venue on Friday and Saturday nights.

Enrique said he’d like to take off at least a year, though Mary said she doubted he’d last that long. First, they have to sell the building. Then, they’ll consider a new location, they said.

Starting on Thursday, they’ll change up their offerings a bit and will offer their Mexican buffet Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. (It was previously available on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.)

Until closing day, its hours will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. It’s closed Sundays and Mondays. Those interested in booking the party room can call 316-655-3733.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil