Carrie Rengers

Yuca Latin Bistro is in the works on Tyler

Jason-Paul Febres once again has left Sabor Latin Bar & Grille . Last year at about this time, he left to start his own restaurant amid differences with owner Melad Stephan , but another restaurateur nabbed the space he wanted.

Febres and Stephan reconciled, and Febres returned to Sabor last summer.

Now, he's teaming with Roni Attari , another employee of Stephan's Empire Restaurant Management , to open Yuca Latin Bistro .

The restaurant, which will offer Latin fusion food, will open within a month in the former Quiznos building on Tyler just south of Central.

"Everybody was telling me, 'Open on the east side! Open on the east side!' " Febres says. "But I guess the west side has a lot of potential."

Attari manages Stephan's Egg Cetera and is Empire's catering manager. He'll continue working for Stephan through the week.

"Melad's been really good to us," Attari says. He's "probably the best guy I've worked for."

Now, though, he says, "It's just time to go out on our own and make something happen."

The restaurant seats about 55 inside and will have a patio that seats another 30 by summer.

Initially, Yuca will serve soups, salads, sandwiches and flatbreads with a Latin flair, combined with cuisine from elsewhere, for lunch. At dinner, there will be mostly tapas dishes at first.

"We're going to try to keep it simple while we build the business," Febres says.

There will be Sunday breakfasts of quiche and crepes, too.

Febres says he's trying to please a wide range of palates.

"My goal here is to get the attention of everybody."

Back on the market

More than a year ago, it looked like the Minnesota Guys would buy downtown's Commerce Plaza at 401 E. Douglas.

The deal fell through, though, and the Minnesota Guys are no longer interested.

"And to tell the truth, I'm not very interested in them," says Courtney Ruthven , who owns the building with her husband, Leslie .

The Ruthvens weren't sure what they wanted to do after the sale fell through.

"It doesn't hurt us to keep it," Courtney Ruthven says. "It's a very nice income property."

The building, which is listed for $2.375 million, has five stories and a basement over about 73,000 square feet. It has an almost 60 percent occupancy rate.

A LoopNet listing shows the property has a net operating income of $237,500.

The building was built in 1932 for Montgomery Ward , which occupied it until the late 1960s.

"It's a great building," Ruthven says. "In those days, both men and materials were cheap, and so they built it well."

She says another three stories could be added "without stressing it a bit."

You don't say

"I feel like I'm back in junior high running for student body president."

Beth Tully , whose Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates received one of 75 Blue Ribbon Small Business Awards from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and now is in the running for the Chamber's Community Excellence Award (vote for Cocoa Dolce or Wichita's iSi Environmental Services at bit.ly/9RYjaq)

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