Dining With Denise Neil

Owner of popular Wichita bar The Anchor eying a summer renovation

The Anchor's owner plans to start a big remodel this summer, which could mean closing the bar down for six to eight weeks. But she has a backup plan.
The Anchor's owner plans to start a big remodel this summer, which could mean closing the bar down for six to eight weeks. But she has a backup plan. Eagle file photo

For years, Schane Gross has been talking about her big plans to remodel and reconfigure her massive (and massively popular) 14-year-old bar and restaurant, The Anchor, at 1109 E. Douglas.

She plans to finally do it this summer— but that could mean that Wichita will have to do without its favorite downtown bar for six to eight weeks.

Don't panic. She has a backup plan.

When Gross is ready to start her remodel — which will include moving the bar and expanding the kitchen — she plans to have a backup location ready to go.

Gross is taking over the building at 151 S. Laura that was once home to wholesale florist Roots & Bloom and is turning it into an event center. The space, which is right around the corner from The Anchor, also will serve as a temporary home to the bar and its fans when it is closed down for the remodel.

She'll call the new venue Anchor 151, and after The Anchor project is complete, she'll continue using it for events and private parties. She also plans to put on her own events at the venue, which has both indoor and outdoor space, and may even use it for Tiki parties on Final Fridays.

Her goal is to start the remodel of Anchor 151 soon and have it ready to go before she begins tearing up The Anchor. Then, she'll move her Anchor operations temporarily around the corner.

"We'll just operate out of there," she said. "It will be like a daily pop up. We'll do what we can when we can."

When The Anchor remodel is complete, the restaurant and bar will have a whole new look. Gross plans to move the bar from the west side of the restaurant to the east side and set it up against the east wall, right next to a new, high-tech draft system. She'll also lower the wall that runs down the center of the bar, separating the east side from the west.

The bar will get all-new restrooms, though Gross said she fully expects her new ladies room to be filled with deep thoughts in the form of wall graffiti just like her old one.

She'll also construct a pass-through from the east side of the bar to the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop next door, where people will be able able to wait for their tables and enjoy a drink and watch TV.

The most important change, she said, will be the construction of a new kitchen all along the back of the restaurant. The Anchor's current kitchen can't always keep up with the demand in her giant restaurant, Gross said.

Her goal is to have it all complete by Sept. 30 so she can be ready for fall, historically her busiest time, she said.

"The Anchor is broken, and it needs to be fixed," she said. "It's just not efficient."

We will let you know when Gross is ready to start her big remodel.

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