Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita woman opening restaurant in spot where she worked as a waitress in 1970s

Restaurants we lost in 2016

A look at ten of the Wichita restaurants that closed in 2016. (video by Jaime Green)
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A look at ten of the Wichita restaurants that closed in 2016. (video by Jaime Green)

When she was 15, CC Robertson got her very first job working at a carhop at the Sonic at 803 N. West Street.

Now, 42 years later, Robertson is about to open her own restaurant there.

Robertson, who owns a popular fruit and vegetable stand in town, plans to open Mo & Izzy’s in the spot on West Street, which most recently was home to WOW Cheesesteaks. Owner Tyler Sanders closed that business last summer.

She hopes to have it open by early March.

Mo & Izzy’s, which Robertson is naming in honor of her mother and her late father, will offer a full breakfast menu plus sandwiches, burgers, Mexican fare and home-cooking specials. On Sundays, she’ll offer a brunch featuring pan-fried chicken, and she’ll also serve low-carb and high-protein dishes.

She’s been wanting to get back in the restaurant business ever since she had to close her Kountry Kubbard cafe, which operated at 2207 W. Douglas from June 2016 until just before Thanksgiving that year, when a propane tank exploded and the cafe caught on fire. After that, Robertson took time off to care for her ailing father, named Elmo.

Getting back into the old Sonic after all those years was a strange experience, Robertson said. She was especially surprised to see how many seats would fit inside the little spot where the staff worked back in the 1970s.

“Back when I was working there, that’s where we made our onion rings,” she said.

Robertson has been working on sprucing up the restaurant and said she’ll be able to seat about 40 inside. Since the restaurant is a former drive-through, she’ll also have car-side delivery for anyone who wants food to-go. When the weather warms up, she said, she’ll put tables and chairs outside, too.

Because of her Tiny Market vegetable stand, which operates out of a small wooden enclosure on west Maple, Robertson is known to many as “the tomato lady,” she said. When the weather warms up, likely in late April or early May, she plans to relocate her stand to the restaurant property and rename it The Tomato Lady. Traditionally, she sells giant tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers melons and more out of the stand.

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