Dining With Denise Neil

Three years ago, Kellogg construction forced this restaurant out. Now, it’s reopening

The money has been sitting in the turnpike relocation program account for three years.

Now, it’s getting spent.

Philip Sayavong, who owns Derby’s Hibachi Boy, is hoping to open his new Wichita Hibachi Boy restaurant next week, and it will serve the same sushi and hibachi grill meals that his Derby customers are used to. But it will add something new: ramen soup.

The new restaurant is at 2243 N. Tyler Road in the spot right next door to Jose Pepper’s that Boba Zone vacated two years ago. The sign is up already, and Sayavong plans to have the restaurant open next week. He’s aiming for Thursday, Sept. 19.

The restaurant is three years in the making.

Fans might remember that Sayavong and his wife opened a Wichita Hibachi Boy at 601 W. Greenwich back in the spring of 2015. They’d been in the spot, which was in a new strip center at the corner of Kellogg and Greenwich, for two months when they learned that a Kellogg construction project would eventually dump the highway just a few feet from the business and block access to the parking lot.

Once construction started in earnest, they frequently lost water service and decided they had to move the restaurant. It closed in July of 2016, and Sayavong was offered money as part of a turnpike relocation program. He’s been holding on to that money ever since, always planning to find a new Wichita spot.

Recently, he found a partner who loved the food in Derby and said he wanted to help open the Wichita Hibachi Boy. They settled on the space at Tyler and 21stand have been working on remodeling it. The dining room is now accented with bright orange colors and a faux wood floor.

The interior of the about-to-open Hibachi Boy on Wichita’s west side is almost complete. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

The new restaurant will serve a small sushi menu and hibachi-style meals that people order at the counter. Sayavong and his wife have spent the past several years taking trips to places like Japan and Korea, where they’ve learned about ramen soup. They’ll have several varieties, including one they’re extra excited about — a creamy Tom Yum ramen soup.

The Derby restaurant will remain open, he said, and it will also add ramen to its menu.

The couple has been in restaurants in the Wichita area for years.

They owned Gindi Thai & Japanese Diner in the space at 7010 W. 21st St. that now holds Hurts Donut from 2009 to 2012. In 2011, they opened Dawn Thai Steakhouse & Sushi Bar in the former Smashburger space at 1220 N. Rock Road in Derby. In 2013, they turned Dawn Thai into Hibachi Boy.

The new partners hope to open more Hibachi Boy restaurants and use the Tyler Road restaurant as their model.

I’ll let you know when the new restaurant is ready to open.

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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.