WICHITA — A new restaurant is opening where Toc's Coffeehouse closed this spring.
"We're going to remodel it and open it as a Jimmie's Diner," says owner Jack Davidson.
Davidson and his wife, Linda, purchased Jimmie's at 3111 N. Rock Road in 2007.
"We want to continue to ... take this legendary store and spread it out to more than one location," Jack Davidson says.
Jimmie's "was one of the first things on North Rock Road back in 1987," he says. "As a matter of fact, it sat out here all by itself on a two-lane road."
The history of Jimmie's, Kings-X Diner – the restaurant at 21st and Amidon the Davidsons also bought in 2007 – and Toc's goes back even farther.
"We have a direct line back to White Castle in Wichita," Davidson says.
Jimmie King was a White Castle employee when the chain, which was founded in Wichita, was here in the '20s and '30s. He started as a fry cook and eventually became a manager but chose not to leave Wichita when White Castle did.
Instead, he purchased several White Castle locations and turned them into Kings-X restaurants. He operated them, along with Toc's, for decades.
Davidson says King's son, Wayne, and developer George Ablah built Jimmie's Diner as a tribute to King.
The Davidsons now hope to further "continue the Jimmie tradition, if you will," he says.
The new restaurant will open in the first quarter of 2012. There could be more, but not for a while.
"We just do them one at a time," Davidson says. "If this one works and our model works, I would say that's a distinct possibility."
Lewis Kelley of Landmark Commercial Real Estate represented building owner Sean Klenda and handled the lease agreement.
"I'm really excited," Klenda says. "That's who I wanted in there from the start."