Dining With Denise Neil

Owner of Wichita restaurant frustrated by rumors of its demise

Larry Conover, owner of Town & Country Restaurant, said people are asking him multiple times a day if his restaurant is still open. It is.
Larry Conover, owner of Town & Country Restaurant, said people are asking him multiple times a day if his restaurant is still open. It is. File photo

On Monday, Larry Conover was at a table, assuring one of his customers at Town & Country, his restaurant that’s operated at 4702 W. Kellogg for almost 60 years, that he was definitely not closing, despite what she’d heard.

He was interrupted to take a phone call – from a man calling to find out when Town & Country would be closed for good.

Conover took a deep breath.

“I hear it so much,” he said. “I get tired of hearing it.”

He wants Wichita to know that despite rumors – and cataclysmic-looking amounts of highway construction all around his restaurant – he is not closing Town & Country. It’s very much open.

In fact, people who aren’t in-the-know might look at what’s happening around Town & Country and easily make that assumption. Many of the buildings nearby were torn down when crews started work to rebuild the I-235 and Kellogg interchange. And with the access road that leads to the restaurant from the east shut down, it takes detective work and patience to find Town & Country’s entrance.

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That should get better, soon, Conover said. The access road is about to reopen.

In the meantime, business is down, and he wonders if it’s more rumors than road construction keeping diners away from his chicken fried steaks, generous bread baskets and country fried breakfasts.

“They think we’re closing,” he said. “They think the road is kicking us out.”

Eventually, Conover said, road construction will displace Town & Country. But that’s still years in the future.

“I’m 70, and I won’t be there,” Conover said. “But I want to stick around for a while. I’m going to work until I can’t work anymore.”

Town & Country first opened in 1957, back when the city limit was West Street and the land around it was undeveloped. It was owned by Jay Conover, who died in 1980 and passed the restaurant on to his eldest son, Larry. It’s an old-fashioned family-style restaurant with vinyl booths and an experienced wait staff.

Hour are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 316-943-0761.

The I-235 and Kellogg interchange has been the ire of drivers for years. Work began in late 2015 to reconfigure the interchange; work isn't expected to be completed until 2019.

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