Dining With Denise Neil

Steven brothers opening a restaurant in fancy new East Douglas development

Vora Restaurant European will open by the end of the year on the ground floor of the under-construction Uptown Landing at 3252 E. Douglas.
Vora Restaurant European will open by the end of the year on the ground floor of the under-construction Uptown Landing at 3252 E. Douglas. The Wichita Eagle

College Hill residents have been watching over the past several months as Uptown Landing, a swanky new apartment building with restaurant and retail space on the first floor, has gone up (and up and up) at the corner of Douglas and Rutan.

Now we know what at least one of the businesses on the ground floor will be: a European-themed restaurant by brothers Brad and Brent Steven.

The restaurant will be called Vora Restaurant European, and it will specialize predominantly in French and Italian cuisine, the Steven brothers said. But the menu also will have food influenced by Spain, Germany, Greece and Portugal.

The brothers, who also own two other restaurants on Douglas — Wine Dive and The Hill Bar & Grill — plan to have Vora open by the end of the year.

"College Hill is becoming a big destination, and with everything that's going on with Dempsey's and Georges and all of our places, we'd kind of like to get another one in the mix," Brad Steven said. "We're all busy, and the area is adding even more residents."

The brothers said they were approached last year by Mike Brand, the project's developer, about opening a restaurant there, and they decided it was a good idea.

Vora will occupy 5,375 square feet on the southeast corner of the building's main floor.

The Steven brothers said they chose their approach based on some of the foods they've fallen in love with while traveling in Europe, especially in France and Italy.

Vora, which the brothers plan to open at both lunch and dinner, will have a brick pizza oven in which the restaurant will prepare bread and different styles of pizza. They envision making Neapolitan-style pizzas as well as the type of flatbread served in Provence. They also want to serve flammkuchen, a type of Alsatian/German flatbread.

The menu will also include fresh pastas, fresh gnocchi and lots of charcuterie, the brothers said. They plan to offer tapas, which are Spanish-style small plates, during happy hour.

They're about to launch a search for a chef.

Vora will have a full bar and a focused, refined wine list, said Brad Steven, who is a certified sommelier. It will be heavy on European wines.

The atmosphere will be bright and airy with tile floors, the brothers said, and they'll have room for a big outdoor patio. The interior will be full of natural light, will seat about 220 people and will have private dining space.

"It probably will be our best-looking restaurant," Brent said. "It'll be nice."

The name "Vora" is short for "voracious," which the dictionary defines as "wanting or devouring great quantities of food," Brad said.

The first phase of the upper-level apartments is scheduled to be ready in September, and the Stevens plan to have Vora ready to go in time to have a Christmas or New Year's Eve party in the space.

The Steven brothers opened Wine Dive at 4714 E. Douglas in 2010, followed by sports bar The Hill at 4800 E. Douglas in 2013. They also opened Wine Dive + Kitchen in Manhattan last fall.

I'll keep you updated as construction progresses.

Denise Neil travels to Winfield to check out Shindigs Bar & Grill. The restaurant opened last April and is full of unique touches and giant meals. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

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