Carrie Rengers

LongHorn Steakhouse may locate on west side

It looks like the 29th and Maize Road area is continuing to attract restaurants.

Tuesday, Panda Express confirmed it's putting an almost 3,000-square-foot restaurant to the north of the Lowe's driveway near where several other restaurants opened this year.

Now, it looks like LongHorn Steakhouse is eyeing the area.

There are 334 LongHorn Steakhouses in 31 states — 32 with the addition of Iowa next month.

The chain, which plans to open about 25 new restaurants this year, is "kind of progressing west," says spokesman Rich Jeffers .

There are several LongHorn Steakhouses on the eastern side of the state, including one that's coming to Manhattan.

Jeffers won't say whether Wichita is slated to get the restaurant. He says the company typically only confirms that a restaurant is opening after construction starts.

Orlando-based Darden Restaurants , which also owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden, among other brands, acquired LongHorn Steakhouse in 2007.

"It is a steak house that is kind of designed in a very upscale, casual design motif, if you will," Jeffers says.

When the first LongHorn Steakhouse opened in 1981, it was more of a peanuts-on-the-floor kind of place.

"It's evolved," Jeffers says. Today, it's "a little bit more sophisticated dining room."

Since the LongHorn Steakhouse in Manhattan is already announced but won't open until early 2011, don't look for one in Wichita in the immediate future.

We'll keep you posted if and when a deal happens.

Creative roots

Diane Wilborn is once again going to be doing hair on East Douglas.

In 2007, Wilborn and her then-husband, Robin , sold their almost 100-year-old red Victorian house at 2915 E. Douglas where they had their Wilborn Hair Co.

Monty Stuber moved his Montage salon — now called Monty Stuber Salon —there and later moved next door to 2907 E. Douglas (behind what's now Red Nest Interiors ).

Stuber and Diane Wilborn are now forming a creative partnership.

"We actually have a boatload in common," Stuber says. "We have basically the same creative eye.

"We both love to make people feel good and look great."

Wilborn has been an artistic coach with Xenon International Academy for almost a year.

Her own artistic pursuit is hair color.

"I spent the last year ... trying to figure out exactly what I could do to make that artistic ability come back," Wilborn says. "Monty and I have been kind of brainstorming."

She'll join him the first week of October.

"I'm hoping Monty and I can form a team on some of those clients ... and we make a lot of people happy."

You don't say

"That's exactly right. I want you to be there every day."

Melad Stephan's response when he asked if he's renamed his forthcoming Waterfront bar Press instead of D'Vine in order to attract the media (though actually he's referring to a wine press)