For the second time in a week, a new Wichita restaurant underestimated how much demand it would be facing on opening day.
First it was Mama Nith’s Crawfish, which opened on Nov. 17 to a rush of people hungry for a taste of its seafood boils and crawfish pho. The owners ran out of food before opening day was over and had to close the following day to regroup.
Just a few days later, it was Prost — the new German restaurant that Manu and Austin English opened last week at the new Revolutsia open-air shipping container mall at Central and Volutsia. When they flung the doors open, the crush of business was so overwhelming that the couple had to close the restaurant the following day and then abbreviate its hours.
It’s a good problem to have, the couple admits, though it caught them a bit off guard. They’re tweaking the way they do a few things and plan to open as usual on Tuesday. They’re asking customers for patience as they navigate their new business in an all-new and unusual setting — stacked shipping containers turned into a restaurant.
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“It will be great once we kind of iron out our wrinkles and get it all mastered,” Austin English said. “Everyone was over the moon about the way it looked, the feel of the restaurant and the atmosphere.”
Austin English said he knew that people in Wichita were excited about German food. They’ve kept the couple’s food truck, Let’m Eat Brats, in business for the past five years. And he’d faced months of inquiries from people excited to sit down with a German stein full of beer and a plate full of schnitzel.
On Tuesday, many of those people flooded into the place, and Prost was out of food by 8 p.m. They kept going until closing time, offering a limited menu of brats and beer, but the kitchen was too wiped out to open on Wednesday.
After closing on Thanksgiving, the restaurant opened again on Friday, but only for dinner, and they were slammed. On Saturday, the day that Revolutsia threw a grand-opening party, a line 50 people long formed outside the door. Austin English took a break from the insanity to lean over the restaurant’s upper level beer garden and snap a picture.
People were patient and understanding, even though food delivery took longer than Manu, who was in the kitchen with her staff cooking up the German dishes she grew up eating, would have liked. The Englishes cook everything from scratch, and their kitchen staff is populated with students from Butler Community College’s culinary arts program, where their son is studying. None of them had ever cooked authentic German food before.
The couple says they don’t want to sacrifice the food’s quality for the sake of speed, but they already have some ideas about ways they can make things move more quickly.
On Sunday, when the streets of Wichita were largely deserted because of ice and snow, Prost drew a more reasonable crowd. They were only open for four hours but had 75 tickets. That felt comfortable, Manu English said, and things went smoothly.
By the end of their first four days of business, Prost drained four kegs and served more than 300 schnitzels.
Monday is their normal day to be closed, but the Englishes will be back at it on Tuesday.
“I think we’ve captured it,” Austin said. “Now, we’ve just got to refine it.”
Hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.