Dining With Denise Neil

As Wichita Italian favorite Savute’s heads toward 75, longtime owner cuts back hours

Savute’s has been operating in Wichita for almost 75 years.
Savute’s has been operating in Wichita for almost 75 years.

Savute’s Italian Ristorante at 3303 N. Broadway will turn 75 next year.

And Peter Savute, the grandson of founder John Savute, has been running it for 17 of those years.

Now, Peter is about to turn 65, and he’s ready to slow down. He announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Thursday that he’s cutting the iconic Italian restaurant’s hours back by a day. Savute’s (and the attached Stick ‘N Rudder Club his father founded) will now be open from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Previously, the restaurant had been open Wednesdays through Sundays.

“I just thought I’d retire one day a week,” Peter said. “I’m 64 now and just taking it easy. I’d just like to be around my grand kids a little more.”

Fishing and golf also are on the agenda, he said.

Peter also will use some of his time to give the restaurant a little facelift. He’s having all the carpets cleaned and is repainting the building’s exterior.

“It just needs some touch ups,” he said. “It’s getting old.”

In fact, Savute’s is one of Wichita’s oldest still-running restaurants. By our estimations, it’s the sixth oldest behind only Livingston’s, NuWay on Douglas, Old Mill Tasty Shop, Merle’s Place and The Beacon.

Peter fondly recalls growing up in the restaurant, which his grandparents — first-generation Italian immigrants John and Mary Savute — opened in 1944, originally calling it The Highway Club, then Rosie’s. His father, John Jr., later took it over and changed the name to Savute’s.

John Jr., who died in a light-plane crash in 2001, ran Savute’s during its heyday, back when the restaurant joined Abe’s and Ken’s Club on a list of Wichita’s top restaurants.

Peter has run the restaurant, which specializes in steaks and pasta dishes, ever since his father died.

Here’s a story I wrote about the restaurant’s history when it turned 65 in 2009.

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