Dining With Denise Neil

Have flag mural fatigue? Delano coffee shop’s unique design feature coveted by customers

Keeper of the Plains through the years

Here are photographs of the Keeper of the Plains that Wichita Eagle photojournalists have taken through the years.
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Here are photographs of the Keeper of the Plains that Wichita Eagle photojournalists have taken through the years.

Lots of businesses are decorated with Wichita flag murals these days.

So when Sarah Leslie and her architect were coming up with ideas for her Leslie Coffee Co., which opened in December at 930 W. Douglas, they wanted something that said “Wichita” in a more unique way.

The new shop is now decorated with some of the most photographed wallpaper in Wichita. The back wall is covered with a custom paper done in black with tiny white and gold icons, and those who get close to it are often surprised to see that those icons actually represent many of Wichita’s most recognizable landmarks.

Customers are always pointing at and photographing the unique wallpaper at Leslie Coffee Co. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

They come wanting the coffee and fancy toast, but they leave coveting the wallpaper, which features tiny images of the Keeper of the Plains, Century II, the Epic Center, Exploration Place, the Campbell Castle, Koch Arena, the Garvey building, the Wichita flag, the old Wichita Public Library, the clock tower at the roundabout in Delano — even the more obscure Girl Scout Little House in North Riverside Park.

It was inspired by some black-and-gold wallpaper that Leslie and her husband, Frank Kolodziej, chose for their entry way in their home. Kolodziej, who works remotely as a mobile app designer for the New York Post, has graphic design skills and told his wife that he could come up with something similar for the shop.

“Murals aren’t really my specialty, and also, it seems like there are a lot of them around,” he said. “So we didn’t really want to go in that direction.”

The wallpaper isn’t actually wallpaper but rather a series of giant stickers printed by SignLab, a nearby Delano business. It was painstakingly stuck to the wall in four-foot-wide sheets, both on the shop’s north wall and in its restrooms.

Leslie Coffee Co. owner Sarah Leslie, right, and her husband, Frank Kolodziej, came up with a unique wallpaper for the shop. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

And it’s been a hit. Every day, Leslie said, she watches as customers peer at, point at and take pictures of her wall.

“People, I think, when they first come in don’t realize what it is,” she said. “It just looks like a pattern from far away. But as they start to get closer, they realize it’s Wichita landmarks. You see a lot of people trying to name what everything is.”

The wallpaper’s design is incorporated into all the branding for the shop, from its website to its postcards to its gift cards. The owners even made a tote bag, which they sell for $10, featuring the icons printed in gold.

The shop is not, however, selling reprints of the wallpaper, despite several serious inquires from interested customers. Kolodziej said.

Though he might entertain designing a unique wallpaper for another buyer, he’s not eager to share the Leslie design.

“We’re probably going to keep it unique to the shop,” he said.

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Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.