Carrie Rengers

Starting Block swim shop to open 2nd store

For five years, Tammy Riffel has had the Starting Block swim shop at the Wichita Swim Club at 8323 E. Douglas.

And for five years, she's been silently studying.

"I just kind of sat back and observed," Riffel says.

She's seen a need for another shop, this time on the west side.

So she's opening her second Starting Block in February at 1444 N. Maize Road, just north of 13th and Maize.

"This is going to be so nice," she says of the roomy 1,300 square feet she'll have.

That compares with 500 square feet at her first shop.

Riffel says being at the Wichita Swim Club is great, but she says, "There's so many people that don't know that I'm there."

She says there are a lot of west-side swim clubs she can serve with the new store, which will sell recreational and competitive swimming suits and gear, such as goggles, caps and training equipment.

"Just about anything for a swimmer," she says.

Dan Unruh of InSite Real Estate Group and Janet Foster of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

All Paws Pet Center and Little Caesars Pizza are already at the center.

"After a slow start, we are now 85.7 percent occupied," Unruh says.

"We're fortunate to have landlords who work hard to make good deals."

Casual Attari

Roni Attari has made some changes at Yuca Latin Bistro , which opened in April, and has some more to come.

"I took six months, studied the area (and) listened to what people wanted," he said.

The changes relate to his restaurant being in a former Quiznos building on Tyler just south of Central.

"I was trying to do the impossible," Attari says of having a sit-down restaurant in a former fast-food spot.

"Some people respected that, and some people didn't get it," he says. "Maybe I confused them with the idea."

So Attari is going to a more casual, order-at-the-counter concept.

He's changed the name of the restaurant to Pitas & Paninis , though the new sign isn't up yet.

Attari says his concept is similar to Chipotle in that customers order at the counter and watch as their food is prepared. He says he thinks that will work better for that part of Wichita.

"The whole area is a fast-food area," he says.

His dishes are now priced between $5 and $7.49.

That compares with higher prices he had for what he calls authentic Latin and gourmet dishes he previously served.

Next week, Attari will switch his opening time from 11 a.m. to 7 a.m. so he can offer coffee, fruit, muffins and scones to attract a breakfast crowd.

He'll also begin offering drive-through service.

There is still seating for about 50.

One day, in another spot, Attari would like to open another full-service restaurant.

"Of course."

Sabor to reopen

An issue with a hot water heater forced Sabor Latin Bar & Grill in Old Town Square to temporarily close Friday, but owner Melad Stephan expects to reopen today.

That will be good news to a lot of people who thought the restaurant had permanently closed and were calling Stephan about it.

"A lot of people were concerned."

You don't say

"I wish I'd have been that smart, but I wasn't."

—Developer Max Cole on a hilarious Christmas card sent (he hasn't found out by whom) to friends and associates in his and his wife Dody's names featuring the police mug shot of the late James Brown