Dining With Denise Neil

Piccadilly Grill is relocating from Central and Rock after Sunday

The last day for Piccadilly Grill at 7728 E. Central, its home since 1989, is Sunday.
The last day for Piccadilly Grill at 7728 E. Central, its home since 1989, is Sunday.

I remember when I first moved to Wichita back in 1997. My apartment was on Rock Road, and everyone at work told me that one of the best places to eat was Piccadilly Grill, conveniently located at 7728 E. Central, not far from Towne East Square.

When my parents came to visit, I would take them to Piccadilly, where I always ordered the Southwestern chicken pizza topped with black beans and a Southwestern cream drizzle. I also loved the cavernous and colorful dining room, and I always stopped to peruse the gourmet cheeses in the market on my way out.

The last day that Piccadilly will ever open is Sunday. The Latour-owned restaurant, which opened in the space in 1989, is moving. The building’s landlord is courting a new tenant and wants the space, and Joumana Toubia, Latour’s director of operations, said she was ready to leave the too-big building.

She’s moving the company’s “home base,” including Piccadilly and Latour’s catering company, back to Comotara Center at 29th and Rock, where the company had several previous businesses through the years, including the long-closed Chelsea’s and Olive Tree.

Piccadilly’s fans can still get the restaurant’s food for carryout from the Comotara Center. The restaurant’s Sunday brunches also will resume in the new space on Sunday, Oct. 11, and Latour catering will use the space for receptions for up to 400 people, business meetings and more.

Latour is planning to open a new, fast-casual, cafe-style version of Piccadily in the Comotara space, though they’re not yet sure what part of the building will house it. They hope to have it up and running by the end of October, said Randa Toubia, Joumana’s sister. The new space also will be used to serve special holiday buffets.

The market won’t relocate there, though. Joumana Toubia is looking for a different space to put it. In the meantime, there are deals to be had in the market as the company clears out the space.

The late Antoine Toubia first opened Piccadilly in 1989 in the space that had been a grocery store called Carl Bell’s Food Market. At first, Piccadilly was a gourmet grocery store that specialized in fresh meat, fish and poultry. It also had a deli serving hot and cold foods and a bakery with a wood-burning oven.

The restaurant expanded over the years, and in the 1990s, Piccadilly Grill was among the east side’s most popular restaurants. It also was one of Wichita’s earliest – and at times only – gourmet grocery, where cooks could find ingredients like arugula and imported cheese.

For years, one of Wichita’s best wine shops – Evers Wine & Spirits – also occupied part of the building.

Latour also had a Piccadilly on the west side, which was open from 1999 to 2005. A Piccadilly Express also operated downtown at 151 N. Main for 13 years, closing in 2010.

Toubia and Latour were responsible for many of Wichita’s early fine-dining restaurants, including Cafe Chantilly, the Olive Tree and Chelsea’s. It still has Bagatelle Bakery at 6801 E. Harry and runs The Muse, the cafe in the Wichita Art Museum, and the catering business.

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