Shipping container transformed into tiny house
"Prost" in German means "cheers."
And that's what fans of German food — and German beer — will likely be saying to the news that, at long last, Wichita is getting a new German restaurant and beer garden.
Manu English, who has gained a following with her 5-year-old German food truck Let'm Eat Brats, plans to open a German restaurant in the new Revolutsia open-air shipping container mall at Central and Volutsia, which should be ready this summer.
She'll call it Prost.
English is a German native who moved to the United States 25 years ago and opened her food truck in 2013. She and her husband, Austin, have been dreaming about and planning a brick-and-mortar restaurant for several years but could never find the right space.
A friend in the food truck community introduced them to Bokeh Development's Michael Ramsey, who was planning his big shipping container mall. He invited them to become a part of it, Manu said.
The two-story restaurant will have the most square feet of any other business in the development and will include a big outdoor beer garden on the second story. In total, the restaurant will be made up of nine separate shipping containers stacked in the northwest corner of the development.
The restaurant, which should seat about 100 inside and another 45-50 outside, will serve some of the same items as the food truck, including bierocks, brats and schnitzel, but the menu will be much larger. Manu said she envisions also serving German roasts like sauerbraten plus spaetzl, knodel (German dumplings), larger plates of schnitzel with gravy and many homemade German desserts.
The couple has had years to dream about everything they'd do if they opened a restaurant, and they have several special touches planned.
A stein club: A detail they're most excited about is their German stein club. For $100 a year, members of the club will have an authentic German stein assigned to them. It'll have its own special locked container, made from old ammunition boxes and hung on the wall of the restaurant. Each owner will have a key to unlock it when he or she visits. Members of the club will get $1 off their beers and 10 percent off their food when they visit. The restaurant will have 316 mugs available, and they'll all be different. The Englishes have been collecting the steins in Germany.
Bench seating straight from the Hofbraeuhaus: One of Germany's most famous beer halls is the Hofbraeuhaus in Munich, which frequently sells its used bench seating so it can be refinished and reused. The Englishes have ordered 24 for use in the restaurant.
A stammtisch: German beer halls commonly have a large, round public table called a stammtisch, where groups gather to drink and eat. Prost will have one toward the front of the restaurant, which will be sectioned off and available to members of the stein club to use once a year for a gathering.
A giant beer garden: Prost will have several outdoor seating areas, including the huge second-story patio that will have lights strung above it.
Polka music: The couple plans to hire polka-style bands whenever possible and will fill the restaurant and patio with Oktoberfest-sounding music the rest of the time.
German beer: Prost won't be a Bud or Coors kind of place. It will serve German beers, and at least three local breweries have committed to brewing a special German beer just for the restaurant.
Prost will be open for both lunch and dinner and likely will have lunch specials that will help nearby workers get in and out quickly. Its upstairs dining area will be available to rent for parties and meetings.
Manu and Austin said they plan to continue with their Let'm Eat Brats truck but will hire people to run it three days a week.
Last week, Ramsey detailed his plans for Revolutsia, Wichita's first shipping container mall that he said he hopes will become a destination for shoppers and diners and help transform the neighborhood near Central and Volutsia.
The center will offer a mix of offices, retail businesses and restaurants. Little Lion owners Ian and Jubilee Miller have already announced their plans to open a cafe there, as have Mario Quiroz and Mara Garza, who own Molino's and who plan to open a taqueria called Taco-tes.
All three restaurant tenants say they should be ready to open when the development is done in midsummer.