Carrie Rengers

Twin Peaks franchisee seeks to open Mooyah sites

In January, Have You Heard? reported that a Mooyah franchisee, who didn't want to be named yet, is looking to bring seven of the hamburger restaurants to Wichita.

Now, the franchisee is talking, and he doesn't mind sharing his name or his plans.

Twin Peaks franchisee Rusty Rathbun and his five Wichita partners, who do business under the name Le Grande Tetons , have a second company called the Udder Group to develop Mooyah sites.

The Dallas-based chain sells third-pound hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs and shakes, among other things. It also bakes fresh buns daily.

"We are moving ahead," Rathbun says. "Moooving ahead."

He says he hoped to start with two Wichita sites but may wind up with three.

"I may have to take three to get two," he says of a deal with one potential landlord.

He and his partners initially planned to be the franchisees for each site, and they may still run one, but now they're looking for franchisees for the other potential Mooyahs so they can keep their focus on Twin Peaks.

"Twin Peaks has just — oh my god," Rathbun says. "The sales on it ... is just stupid."

Stupid good, that is.

Rathbun says the Twin Peaks his group opened near 21st and Rock Road seven weeks ago is No. 3 in sales out of the chain's 15 restaurants.

"We're just running with it and having fun," he says.

Rathbun calls Mooyah a similarly great franchise, though it's in a different category than Twin Peaks.

"This is sort of like a fast-casual, I guess they call it."

He's opening one in Garden City in October and expects the first one or two Wichita Mooyahs to open by October or November.

We'll keep you posted.

Squeezed out

Feelings of 1970s peace and love are part of what inspired Kirk David to reopen Squeezer's Palace , but less-than-happy feelings on the part of the former Squeezer's owner are causing David to change the name.

"When I first thought of this, for me it was a distant memory," David says of reopening the Riverside "goody shack" (Have You Heard , June 23).

"I even wondered if anybody would remember it."

He checked and found there were no claims to the name. David then intended to try to contact the original Squeezer's owner, but Have You Heard? called first and publicized the story.

Squeezer's Palace founder Edgar "Buddy" Curry isn't pleased.

"It seems wrong," says Curry, an investor still living in Wichita. "It's going to be disappointing for people who expect it to be Squeezer's Palace because it probably isn't going to be."

Curry was inspired to open the business in 1971 after travels to Mexico where there were lots of fresh-squeezed fruit juices. He ran it until 1976 and at one point had a Lawrence location, too.

Even when Squeezer's was open, Curry says people wanted to have similar businesses or copy his name and idea.

"It always flattered me when people wanted to do what I was doing," he says.

That doesn't mean he wants to see someone use the name, however.

"It's not his name. It just isn't right."

So David, who tried calling Curry but hasn't heard back, won't use the name.

He's only just learned of Curry's disapproval and hasn't had time to think of a new name.

"This comes as news, and I'm very disappointed," David says.

He didn't hesitate to say he'll change the name, though.

"It's not supposed to upset anybody," David says. "The idea is it's supposed to be a happy thing."

You don't say

"In Kansas, we pop a beer and sit on the back porch to watch."

Kroger CEO David Dillon , speaking at the Rotary Club of Wichita Monday, on his reaction to co-workers the first time severe thunderstorm sirens (not tornado sirens) sounded at the company headquarters in Cincinnati