Dining With Denise Neil

The trolley car is in, and Wichita’s new pasta restaurant should open in about six weeks

2015: Old Spaghetti Factory trolley rides again

FILE VIDEO - In advance of its move to Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, Washington, The Old Spaghetti Factory moved its old trolley car over the weekend. (Oct. 4, 2015)
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FILE VIDEO - In advance of its move to Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, Washington, The Old Spaghetti Factory moved its old trolley car over the weekend. (Oct. 4, 2015)

The Old Spaghetti Factory that’s coming to Wichita is most likely about six weeks from opening, and anyone who’s been to the Waterfront, where the restaurant is taking over the former Fox and Hound space, has likely noticed major construction happening outside.

Inside, progress is even more dramatic, and recently, the big trolley car that’s the centerpiece of all the restaurants in The Old Spaghetti Factory chain was moved in and put in place.

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When it’s complete, the dining trolley will be the centerpiece of Wichita’s The Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant and will seat 18-20 inside. Tim Acock timacock.com

Construction is moving along nicely at the Wichita restaurant, said Ryan Durrett, who is director of marketing for the Portland-based chain. If it continues, he said, the restaurant is likely to open sometime during the last week of June.

When they finally are able to visit, Durrett said, people will likely be pretty excited about the trolley car, which will be fitted with seating that will accommodate between 18 and 20 diners. The trolley cars are a popular attraction at all of the chain’s restaurants. (Wichita will be No. 43.)

Old trolley cars aren’t easy to come by, Durrett said, so the restaurant chain has its cars custom made. Wichita’s was brought into the restaurant a few weeks ago in pieces and now has been assembled inside.

Construction is going well at the old Fox and Hound space at Wichita’s Waterfront development, and The Old Spaghetti Factory should open in about six weeks. Brett Harris Courtesy

“The trolley cars have been a big hit with our guests for 50 years,” Durrett said. “The first one in Portland was such a success with our guests that we knew we needed to continue it everywhere we went.”

The Old Spaghetti Factory chain was founded in 1969 in Portland by Guss Dussin. Spaghetti Warehouse was an imitator that came along in 1972, and Wichita had a Spaghetti Warehouse spinoff called Spaghetti Works from 1993 to 2004. It also had a trolley dining car.

Construction workers also have gotten some of the new restaurant’s signature stain glass and lots of its wood accents installed.

The restaurant will seat 365 people and will employ about 100. It will have two banquet rooms and a menu known for its homey pasta dishes and its three-course meals, which offer an entree with fresh bread, choice of soup or salad, entree of choice and a scoop of spumoni ice cream for dessert.

The owners have promised a sneak peek just before the restaurant opens. so stay tuned, pasta people.

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.