The chandeliers are up. The trolley car has tables. The booths with bed-frame backs are installed. The owner is even in town.
All sure signs that Wichita’s anticipated The Old Spaghetti Factory is about to open.
In fact, the owners of the big new restaurant have chosen an opening date: Monday, June 24. They’ll have a 3:15 p.m. ribbon cutting then will open the doors for their first dinner service starting at 4:30 p.m.
Late last week, I was invited for a tour of the restaurant with The Old Spaghetti Factory chairman and son of the chain’s founders, Chris Dussin, who had recently arrived in Wichita from his home in Portland to help the staff with final details and training.
The restaurant is taking over the former Fox and Hound space at the Waterfront, 13th and Webb, and will be the 43rd in the chain, which opens one or two new restaurants a year.
It’s a family-friendly place that will focus on homey pasta dishes and that has a dramatic, old-world decor — including the restaurant’s signature trolley car, installed in the middle of the dining room and fitted with seating for 18-20.
Dussin’s parents — Guss and Sally — opened the first The Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland in 1969, when Chris was just 13 years old. The original restaurant featured a simple menu of pasta dishes dreamed up by Guss Dussin, and the interior expressed the quirky vision of Sally Dussin.
“From the beginning, my dad came up with the concept, and everything we were going to serve, everything in the kitchen,” Chris Dussin said. “My mom started doing the decorating, so the antiques and cloth shades and trolley car and stained glass are all her.”
The dining room is pretty jaw dropping and is filled with a mixture of antiques, stuffed velvet couches, and booth whose backs look like antique headboards. There are dramatic chandeliers hanging everywhere, and the walls are covered with bold, antique-style wallpapers. Everything is done in Sally Dussin’s signature “jewel tones” — red, green, gold and purple.
For the first week, the restaurant will serve dinner only and open at 4:30 p.m. It’ll open at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, and on Sunday, June 30, and then will start weekday lunch hours at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 1. After that, the regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The restaurant won’t accept reservations during its original opening period but will eventually. It has two big banquet rooms with views of the lake, and the larger can seat 100 people.
Dussin said he’s found Wichita to be a welcoming place, one he’d never visited before, but he’s already dined in several local restaurants, including Chester’s Chophouse and Abuelo’s.
He said Wichitans will like that the restaurant is family friendly and affordable. The Old Spaghetti Factory is know for its three-course meals, a deal that offers fresh bread, choice of soup or salad, entree of choice and a scoop of spumoni ice cream for dessert. The restaurant is also known for a dish called Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter Spaghetti, a Greek recipe Dussin’s parents added to the menu when they first opened. You can see the dinner menu below.
“It’s a little nicer atmosphere, but people can come in shorts and feel comfortable,” Chris Dussin said. “If they have kids with them, they’re going to blend in. We try to make it as easy for the adults as we can.”
The Old Spaghetti Factory is not related to the Spaghetti Works that once operated downtown and whose name still adorns the big brick building at 619 E. William. Spaghetti Works was the name for the Kansas franchise of the Spaghetti Warehouse chain, which was an imitator that came along three years after The Old Spaghetti Factory. Spaghetti Works, which also had a trolley car and an old-world feel, closed in Wichita in 2004.
Old Spaghetti Factory dinner menu