Raquel Ramirez lived in Riverside until about a year ago, when she and her husband, Robert, left to move into a house that had been in their family.
But she loved living there and had particularly fond memories of taking her grandchildren for ice cream at the bright-but-tiny Squeezer's Palace ice cream shop when it operated at 828 W. 11th St. from 2011 to 2015.
Back then, on her long walks by the river, she'd dream about opening her own place in the little hut at the corner of 11th and Bitting. After Squeezer's Palace closed and before Chiquita's Corner moved into the space, Ramirez tried to get it but wasn't successful.
This time, though, she was. After Chiquita's Corner closed for good a few months ago, Ramirez approached the landlord again about the building, which has space inside just for a kitchen and cash register but a big patio where Riverside residents like to gather. She plans to open Roxy's in Riverside, an ice cream and snack shop, there by the end of the month.
"It became available again, so I thought, 'Why not jump on it?'" she said.
Ramirez already owns The Lunchbox, a tiny cafe on the ground floor of the High Touch Technology building at 110 S. Main. Last year, in my quest to find Wichita's best cinnamon rolls, many readers nominated the ones Ramirez made at The Lunchbox.
She plans to keep The Lunchbox going once she opens Roxy's in Riverside, Ramirez said, though business there has been significantly slower since King of Freight moved out of the building last year.
At Roxy's, Ramirez said, she will serve slushie drinks, ice cream sundaes, her baked goods (including cinnamon rolls) plus snacks like chips and salsa and hotdogs. On the weekends, she plans to fire up her two big flat-top grills and cook a special on it, things like enchiladas, burgers and grilled street tacos.
"It'll be like a big picnic outside every weekend," she said.
Eventually, Ramirez said, she'd like to get her liquor license and sell her slushies with alcohol.
She plans to be open from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. She's still fine-tuning the hours.
Ramirez said she hoped to be open by May 27, and if she can't make that happen, she'll be open by June 1.