Carrie Rengers

Noodles plans Wichita spot by end of the year

By the end of the year, the first Wichita Noodles will open at 3300 N. Rock Road across from Subway .

As Have You Heard? reported this spring, the Colorado-based chain has been scouting the city for sites.

"Wichita makes a lot of sense for us," spokeswoman Jill Preston said at the time.

The chain recently opened in Lawrence and doubled its presence in the Kansas City area.

The restaurant sells all kinds of noodle dishes including the more exotic, such as Pad Thai, to the more everyday dishes, such as mac and cheese.

Small noodle bowls are $4.25. Regular-size bowls are $5.25. Protein costs $2.25 more, and there are 14 fresh vegetables from which to choose.

There also are soups and salads.

The chain, which has about 240 restaurants in 18 states, is rapidly expanding.

Look for the first Wichita Noodles to open in mid-December with more to possibly follow.

Home sweet venue

It's a tough market to try to lease a 10,000-square-foot building, let alone sell it, so Bill Jackson and his son, Josh , are turning their Abode Home space into the Venue at Abode .

"I don't even want to admit it, but a couple of years ago I started thinking if this furniture thing doesn't work out, it would make a great venue," Josh Jackson says.

So when the furniture store on Douglas just east of Old Town closed about a month ago, he says they decided, "Let's give it a shot."

Through the years, Abode hosted various events.

To do it full time, though, Josh Jackson says he has to make a few changes.

For starters, he's adding bathrooms. A lot of them.

There also will be an expanded prep area for caterers.

"Obviously, we need to beef up our air conditioner," Josh Jackson says, referring to a steamy fundraising event that was held at the space Saturday.

That event had been booked for months, but there won't be any more for several weeks, until the space is reconfigured.

Josh Jackson says Abode will be divided into three spaces, including a 330-person main room, another for 200 people and a third that will hold about 100 and be geared more to wine tastings and corporate functions.

Kyle Filiatreault, Josh Jackson's cousin, will be the venue's general manager. Filiatreault previously was with Unified Party Bus and Corporate Transport , so he has experience with event planning.

Jackson says he'll focus a lot of his time on booking concerts.

"At first, we're going to have to drive a lot of our own business," he says.

He also wants to have weddings and other receptions. Since a lot of those are already booked for the next six months or so, Jackson hopes to attract concerts and holiday parties in addition to whatever receptions he can get.

He's still working out pricing.

Look for the new space to be ready in late September.

You don't say

"I'm a bakery freak."

_ Businessman Tom Devlin , who calls Cindy Meinecke's new Brick Street Bake Shoppe at 507 State St. in Augusta the best new bakery in the last 20 years