Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita restaurant closes after suit claims owner fell more than $63,000 behind on rent

A Wichita restaurant has closed after its owner fell more than $63,000 behind on his rent, according to a lawsuit filed by his landlord.

Zaytun Bistro, which Syed Abbas opened in 2009 in the corner of Brittany Center at 2020 N. Woodlawn, is closed as of today, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“Thank you, Wichita, for the wonderful support these last several years,” the post read. “Our family is moving out of town. Zaytun is now closed permanently. We apologize for any inconvenience. Take care, and God bless!”

According to a lawsuit filed by the landlord of the space, Abbas was $63,351.31 behind on his rent as of May of this year. Abbas and his landlord, listed REII Retail I LLC, were scheduled to be in court today for a bench trial, but it was continued until July. I

In January, a Denver-based group called Bow River Capital bought the 210,450-square-foot Brittany Center as well as Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn and Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road.

Abbas said it has been tough to keep the business afloat as big tenants, from Hobby Lobby to Tuesday Morning to Emerson Biggins, have left the center. The lights in the parking lot have been dark for months, he said.

He plans to contest the suit, he said. He spent much of his own money on maintenance for the building over the years.

“It would be foolish on our part to keep business moving forward, so we thought it would be best to close it even though it was a tough decision,” he said. “Wichita has been my home for 36 years.”

Zaytun was an “Indo-Pak” bistro that served Indian and Pakistani food and had a popular buffet.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Wichita Eagle

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.