Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita restaurant, dry bar to help former female prisoners start over

This old Burger King on North Broadway will soon be home to a restaurant and dry bar.
This old Burger King on North Broadway will soon be home to a restaurant and dry bar.

That old Burger King building that has sat empty and weedy at 1051 N. Broadway for years is about to get new life.

Laura Broyles, the head of the nonprofit New Life Reentry Program, has just signed a lease on the building and plans to open The Light Dry Bar and Grill, a restaurant and non-alcoholic bar.

She’s in the fundraising stage now but hopes to have the restaurant ready in early December.

New Life Reentry Program focuses on women who have been in prison and are trying to restart their lives. The nonprofit has a home where it serves about five women at a time.

The restaurant will give clients a place to work, said Broyles, who also is the pastor at Renewed Life Community Church. Proceeds also will raise money to help the women.

The Light will be open to anyone and will feature American fare like burgers and chicken fried steak. It’ll also feature a “dry bar,” where people can get non-alcoholic cocktail-style drinks. The restaurant will have a dance floor, pool tables, karaoke and also a place where kids can hang out.

“While dealing with people in recovery for so long – and I’m a minister myself – I’ve always liked going out and having fun and dancing, but I don’t like that atmosphere. I don’t want to have the option of drinking or having people spilling their beer all over the place. And I’ve gone to places where occasionally they have dances or something, recovery places, but they’re not all the time, and if it doesn’t fit in your schedule, it doesn’t work. I would love a place that I could go every evening if I wanted to, and I know there’s not really a place like that in Wichita.”

Broyles said she’ll probably have to get a loan to finance the restaurant but she’s also working on fund raising. On Saturday, Petra: A Taste of Jordan, the Jordanian restaurant at 6140 E. 21st St., will donate 10 percent of its sales from 5 to 8 p.m. to the restaurant.

Broyles also has set up a Go Fund Me page.

I’ll keep you posted on the restaurant’s progress.