Dining With Denise Neil

Krab Kingz Seafood taking over a spot where another Wichita seafood place just closed

Zoes Kitchen opens Friday at Waterfront Plaza

Brandy List, general manager of the new Zoes Kitchen, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the new Waterfront Plaza restaurant. Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle
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Brandy List, general manager of the new Zoes Kitchen, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the new Waterfront Plaza restaurant. Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle

Crab-hungry Wichitans were excited earlier this month when they found out that a restaurant called Krab Kingz Seafood was eying the west side and planned to open there soon.

Now, the Texas-based restaurant chain has chosen a spot. It’s going into the space at 784 N. West St. where Emilia’s Family Restaurant and Pie Shop operated for 30 years. It’s in a strip center just north of Central and West streets.

The only bad news: The restaurant that’s occupied that space for the past year, a Mexican seafood restaurant called La Isla, has already closed. Owners Jose Gandara and his wife, Yuliana, closed their restaurant about three weeks ago. But their original location at 1935 N. Broadway is still open and will soon be expanding its hours.

“We were pretty busy on the weekends, but there just weren’t enough sales,” Jose said. “We gave it about a year.”

Krab Kingz moved into the space right away and have already put a sign up on the building. The chain, which has a fast-casual concept and operates about 10 restaurants and food trucks in Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Missouri, offers a menu that includes crab, shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn, all the ingredients in a typical seafood boil. It also offers a full bar. Here’s a look at the menu at the Houston restaurant.

Despite spelling crab with a “K” in the restaurant’s title – a spelling commonly associated with imitation crab on salad bars – the restaurant will sell actual, real crab in clusters – a treat that’s not widely offered in Wichita.

Company partner Mickey Smith, who is based in Kansas City, Mo., (where a restaurant operates at 3805 Broadway) said he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll open and doesn’t want to speculate on a date. When he first announced plans to enter the Wichita market, he said he hoped to be open by late February. I’ll update you when the restaurant chooses an opening date.

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