Dining With Denise Neil

Changes at Margarita’s Cantina: New managers, total remodel, possible west-side location

A newly formed restaurant management group has partnered with longtime Margarita’s Cantina owner Don Overstake to give the 27-year-old restaurant at 3109 E. Douglas a total remodel — and possibly a second location.

Velocity Hospitality Group, which includes Fetch Bar & Grill owner Greg Buss and some partners, has just signed a deal with Overstake, who opened Margarita’s back in 1992 and has run it ever since. Per the agreement, the management group will take over running Margarita’s along with help from Overstake and his wife, Linda, who plan to slowly reduce their amount of time in the restaurant.

“I think it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Overstake, who also will continue to perform with Margarita’s house band Lotus on the weekends. “They brought a nice budget with them to remodel and re-brand.”

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Don Overstake, who opened Margarita’s Cantina in 1992, has partnered with a management group that will help him remodel the restaurant and give him a chance to step back from running it. Mike Hutmacher The Wichita Eagle

The partners, Buss said, will get started with a complete exterior and interior model of the restaurant, which Overstake said he hasn’t touched in 15 years. They plan to start outside by painting and expanding the patio. They’ll then move inside, doing work gradually without closing the restaurant. The concept and the menu, though, will remain unchanged.

Their bigger goal is to open a second Margaritas on the west side, Buss said, and they’re “actively” looking for a spot.

Overstake, who opened Margaritas in 1992 after having owned the popular Fireside Club night club since 1975, said that stepping back and letting go of the restaurant will be difficult for him. But he’s ready to slow down.

“It will be hard,” he said. “But eventually, it had to happen. It’s for the better.”

Lotus, the band that Overstake has played with since the early 1970s, will continue for now to perform on Friday and Saturday nights at Margarita’s, just as it has since 1995.

Buss said he and his partners are excited to help Margarita’s, known for its nightlife and its nachos, evolve and grow.

“It’s a Wichita landmark,” he said. “For decades, I remember I was going to Fireside and other places Don had and listening to Lotus. It’s something I’ve always remembered throughout my life. I’m excited to carry it forward to the next generation.”

The same management group took over Buss’ Fetch Bar & Grill earlier this year, and last month, it opened a second Fetch in Moundridge.

The Moundridge restaurant has been popular and busy, Buss said. The original Fetch at 7718 E. 37th St. North — which in 2017 got a makeover from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on his show “24 Hours to Hell and Back, is slow in the winter — he said, and it’s been opening only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It may reopen on weekdays eventually, Buss said, but in the meantime, they’re renting it out for private functions.