Dining With Denise Neil

Cafe 402 inside Wichita’s downtown YMCA is closed

Cafe 402 inside the YMCA closed last week.
Cafe 402 inside the YMCA closed last week.

Cafe 402 inside the downtown YMCA at 402 N. Market is closed, and directors say they’re still trying to decide whether to replace it.

The cafe was added shortly after the downtown YMCA opened in 2012 and was run by The Hyatt until December 2013, when longtime Wichita restaurateur Jason Fisher took over. Last week, the YMCA and Fisher decided to part ways.

“It was kind of a mutual decision that it was best for both parties to dissolve that management agreement,” said Shelly Conrady, the YMCA’s vice president of marketing and communications.

Fisher said he had a good run at the YMCA and had grown the business. But he lost a few key employees and was overextended in December. His time at the YMCA has inspired him to start his own online nutrition company, he said, which he plans to call Envision Nutrition. The company will offer education as well as food products.

“It’s a blessing in disguise,” he said. “This is going to prove really awesome.”

Conrady said that YMCA directors are trying to decide what to put in the space, which is in the ground floor of the downtown YMCA across from the reception desk.

“We’re still looking at alternatives for what the space will get used for, if it will be another restaurant or what the situation is going to be,” she said. “We hope to know something more definitive in the next month.”

I’ll let you know what the YMCA decides.