Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita’s Old Town about to get a new sports bar, restaurant

Fans of the recently closed Joe’s Oldtown Bar & Grill, take heart.

The giant nightclub and restaurant space at 222 N. Washington will not be vacant for long.

By late this year or early next, Club Rodeo owners Eric and Tracy Ragain will open a sports bar called The Bullpen in the space.

The couple, who six years ago took over ownership of Club Rodeo, a nightclub and live music venue at 10001 E. Kellogg that also features live bull riding, were ready to expand their business, Eric Ragain said, and his wife was interested in opening a sports bar.

They knew the owners of Joe’s, Charlie Badeen and David Allan, and let them know they’d be interested in taking the space over.

“It seems to complement what we do, not compete with it,” Eric Raigan said. “We’re not trying to open a country deal. We’re going for a completely different market.”

The Ragains are in the middle of redesigning the big space that housed Joe’s, including adding new flooring. They also plan to utilize the adjacent space, which Badeen and Allan had run as a dance club called 316 Lounge & Nightclub, but they haven’t yet decided exactly what they’ll do there.

“We have a couple of ideas in the works,” Eric Ragain said. “We’ll see if it’s possible.”

The Bullpen will serve food, and the Ragains are trying to develop a menu that’s different from the “wings and pizza” their Old Town neighbors are focused on, Eric Ragain said.

The Ragains, who also own a Club Rodeo in Springfield, Mo., will keep their Wichita nightclub open, too.

Stay tuned for more details and an opening date.

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