When George Youssef closed his popular French restaurant in the College Hill neighborhood in late June for a remodel, he thought he’d have it done in a month.
But it took longer than that, and when he reopens Georges French Bistro at 4618 E. Central on Friday, Sept. 29, customers will see why.
Youssef and his crew completely gutted the restaurant and transformed it into a spot-on replica of a Parisian French bistro.
When I visited on Wednesday, he didn’t want me to take many pictures. Though the restaurant is ready to go, he wants customers to be wowed when they walk in.
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And they will be.
Youssef’s remodel increases the size of the restaurant by incorporating the space next door that had previously held a hair salon. In the center of the restaurant now is a giant U-shaped marble bar with a dramatic brass storage system hanging above it.
The floors are now all an Italian ceramic that resembles white marble, and the walls are painted black with delicate gold trim. Movable glass doors will allow Youssef to section off two areas of the restaurant for private parties. Or, he can open them up to accommodate more nightly diners. He’s increasing his seating capacity by 50.
Most impressive is a retractable glass door in the front of the restaurant that completely opens it to the outside, just like in Parisian restaurants. He’s also expanded the patio, and inside, he’s added a glass wall where patrons inside the restaurant can watch the kitchen staff at work.
You won’t feel like you’re in Wichita at all.
“This is super Parisian,” Youssef said. “It’s something you’d see in France.”
The menu, which features simple French bistro dishes like French onion soup, crepes, mussels, chicken Paillard and steak frites, will stay mostly the same, with one big addition. When it reopens, Georges will add breakfast service, so customers can visit in the morning to order croissant, quiche and coffee and almost persuade themselves that they’re starting their morning in Europe.
The new hours will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
Youssef, a longtime fixture on Wichita’s chef scene, first opened Georges to big crowds in November 2015, and it’s had a loyal following ever since.
Once it reopens, I’ll visit for more pictures and a video tour.