Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita restaurant that came back after a fatal fire has now closed for good

A Wichita Mexican restaurant that was struck by tragedy last year when a family member was killed in a kitchen fire has now closed for good.

The owners of Rostizeria Los Reyes, 512 W. 21st St., posted the news on Facebook last week, and over the weekend, the contents of the restaurant were sold off.

It had been open for 21 years.

“It does break our heart because we not only made friends, we feel as you are family,” the post read.

The restaurant, which was known for its Mexican buffet and rotisserie chickens, was in the headlines last year when two women who were members of the owners’ family were seriously burned in an evening kitchen fire. Police officer Alex Bieler happened to be passing by, saw one of the women coming out of a side door on fire and rushed to pat the fire out. He then smashed a glass door to get into the restaurant to rescue the other woman.

Rosa Martinez Reyes died from her injuries about a week after the May 11, 2018, fire, and her sister remained in the hospital for two months before being released. Bieler, who was treated for burns to his hand, was given a Wichita Crime Commission Award for heroism last October.

The Reyes family reopened the restaurant last October then closed it again in August of this year, promising on a sign posted on the front door that it would reopen after a remodel.

That sign still hangs on the door of the now mostly empty restaurant.

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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.