A second location of Wichita’s popular Doo-Dah Diner will open just after the first of the year in east Wichita.
That’s the big news.
The other big news: That Doo-Dah will be Wichita’s only Doo-Dah for about five months. At the end of business on Dec. 30, owners Patrick and Timirie Shibley plan to close the original diner at 206 E. Kellogg for a massive remodel that should last into early summer but will result in a new look, a huge kitchen and a whole lot more seating.
The new Doo-Dah Diner will be at 1530 S. Webb Road in a building that has been home to several restaurants in the past, including Auntie Mae’s and Curly’s American Diner. It’s a turn-key restaurant building that they can pretty much walk into start serving, Timirie said.
It seats 150 people, and the plan is to have it open by Jan. 8.
“It’s already set up perfectly for a diner,” she said. “It’s so cute on the inside, with booths that are red and white, and black-and-white checkered floors.”
While they’re establishing the new Doo-Dah Diner, the original will be getting a major remodel that will likely take five months. The Shibleys’ goal is to have the flagship restaurant reopened by June 1.
And their plans for the original spot are big. They’ll expand the small kitchen into the seating area that’s on the north side of the main dining room now. The bigger kitchen will allow them to be able to keep up with more tables, meaning they’’ll finally be able to turn the spacious waiting area on the east side of the building into a dining room.
The remodel also calls for higher ceilings and new restrooms with multiple stalls. When it’s all done, the diner will seat 150.
Patrick Shibley said they’ll try to keep the rustic look of the place — the counter stays, and the bright plastic tablecloths will, too. Most of the merchandise that now fills the east side of the restaurant will move next door to the Doo-Dah Market.
Also coming: The owners plan to start opening the diner seven days a week starting in February.
The Shibleys big decisions came after more than a year of soul searching, real estate hunting, advice seeking and mind changing, they said. They first announced their plans for a remodel in late 2017, but after that, things got complicated. They briefly considered abandoning downtown all together and moving the diner elsewhere.
In the end, they decided, the original location —which they first opened in 2013 — is part of their identity. They’re in the process of buying the building from their landlord.
“We never really aspired to have a second restaurant,” Timirie said. “But knowing that we wanted to stay in downtown was very important to us ... Since we were going to take on this huge remodel, it was real important to have our staff employed through a five-month remodel. This was just an easy solution. The cards fell into place.”
The Shibleys will say a temporary farewell to the downtown restaurant with a big brunch buffet planned for Sunday, Dec. 30. It’ll be a deluxe brunch with the sort of spread they usually reserve for holidays, but they’ll charge their usual price — $19.99 for adults.
Their focus for the first part of next year, while crews work on their downtown location, is getting the new store established, they said.
“I think it’s a good location for us,” Timirie said. “We’re excited. Our team is ready for this chapter.”