Barter Day at Little Lion and Espresso to Go Go
As Wichita's first open-air shipping container mall continues to take shape at the corner of Central and Volutsia, we're beginning to find out what businesses will fill it when it opens this summer.
Among the tenants at Revolutsia will be two restaurants whose owners have familiar faces.
One will be called Taco-tes, and it's a build-your-own taco concept by the owners of the popular Molino's Mexican Cuisine at 1064 N. Waco.
The other will be the long-awaited brick-and-mortar cafe for Little Lion, the homemade ice cream shop (that also makes killer burritos and waffles) that's owned by Ian and Jubilee Miller and is currently operating out of a kiosk inside Espresso to Go Goin The Lux.
We'll have news on a third restaurant tenant later this week, but in the meantime, here's a little more about what the first two are planning.
Taco-tes (pronounced tac-O-tez) means "big taco," and that's what Mario Quiroz and Mara Garza plan to sell at their new shop, which will be set up on the upper level of Revolustia in the southwest corner. They envision a build-your-own-taco shop that sells something similar to their famous pirata, a giant grilled taco-type creation. But customers will be able to customize their toppings by choosing from ingredients set out before them. Also, Quiroz said, the tacos will be available on either corn or flour tortillas.
The couple has long planned to expand into a new concept, and they found the opportunity when Michael Ramsey, their former landlord at their now-closed east-side location, told them about the shipping container mall he was planning.
"This is going to be a destination place," said Quiroz, who has visited container malls in other cities as he planned his concept. "It's going to bring life to that area. It's a special concept."
Taco-tes will have about 1,600 square feet, Quiroz said, and it'll have room for some seating inside plus lots of patio space. It will sell tacos, nachos and bowls using carne asada, carnitas and a few veggie options. There will also be a few signature tacos on the menu for people who don't want to get creative on their own.
The couple has a few more surprises planned for the space that they'll share as they work out the details. They plan to open this summer when Revolutsia does.
Ian and Jubilee Miller have long wanted to expand their Little Lion ice cream business, which they started with a modest mobile cart in March 2016, into a brick-and-mortar business. They just weren't sure where.
They met Ramsey when he rented them some kitchen space inside The Lux, his apartment development that also has Espresso to Go Go coffee on the ground floor.
He asked them to let him find a space for their future cafe, and he located a quaint stone cottage at the corner of Central and Volutsia that had previously held a hair salon. All thought it would be perfect for the business.
It was after that, Jubilee Miller said, that Ramsey began to think bigger and plan the Revolutsia shipping container mall to go up behind the building. The Millers liked that idea even better, but it meant they'd have to wait even longer.
While they waited, they opened their "petit cafe" inside Espresso to Go Go, where they sell ice cream, waffles and breakfast burritos.
Jubilee Miller says the wait will be worth it. Their new shop, which is the only nonshipping container space in the development, will anchor it on the Central-facing side. It's been completely remodeled inside to include a fireplace and a loft.
"The floors are all stone, and it's just got that cool A-frame open ceiling," Jubilee said. "It's really precious."
The couple plans to decorate with a Moroccan theme and to continue selling ice cream, burritos and waffles. They also hope to add pastries and will serve coffee, too.
Their space will have a Central-facing entrance as well as an entrance into the courtyard behind it. They'll have room for some seating inside and even more outside.
They're still deciding whether to keep the petit cafe inside Espresso to Go Go in operation.
"That's been a great learning opportunity, and we feel a lot more confident now that we have a lot more experience under our belts," Jubilee said. "But from the beginning, we had no idea how temporary or permanent it was going to be. We started it with the plan of it just being a stopgap measure, but we've really created a great thing there with Espresso to Go Go. We hate to leave but are not sure if we can do it all."
The Millers are hoping that their new cafe can open on July 15, which is National Ice Cream Day.