Dining With Denise Neil

Byblos restaurant closes after 28 years

Byblos is no more. The restaurant closed a few weeks ago and will soon become a fast-food fried chicken and fish place.
Byblos is no more. The restaurant closed a few weeks ago and will soon become a fast-food fried chicken and fish place. The Wichita Eagle

Alert fans of Byblos, the Mediterranean restaurant that operated at 3088 W. 13th St. for almost 28 years, have noticed that the restaurant has been closed for several weeks.

Byblos’ new owners, who took over in September, say they have decided to turn it into something different, specifically a fried chicken and fish restaurant called Chicago Sharks that should open in about a month.

Rania Taha and her husband, Bashar Mahanweh, who bought Byblos from its founder Ilham Saad, recently opened a new restaurant called Petra: A Taste of Jordan. It’s at 6140 E. 21st St. and features authentic Jordanian cuisine. It also offers visitors the options to dine on cushions on the floor, just like people do in the Middle East.

Shortly after Petra opened, the couple said, they realized they were working against themselves.

“Our customers who like Arabic food are coming to Petra,” Taha said. “We don’t like to compete with ourselves.”

Before moving to Wichita, Mahanweh ran chicken and fish restaurants in Chicago. He thinks his concept will work in Wichita, too, Taha said.

The fast-food-style restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and will keep late-night hours, she said.

After they bought it, the couple remodeled Byblos, which had always been known for its lemony hummus and its ever-present owner, “Mrs. Saad.”

In March, it was damaged by a kitchen fire, and Taha and Mahanweh had to close Byblos for several weeks.

Petra opened on April 21, and Byblos closed about a week after that.

Stay tuned for updates on the new restaurant.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

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