The same Omaha restaurant group that brought HuHot Mongolian Grill to Wichita in late 2008 is bringing a new restaurant concept to the city.
Cowboy Chicken is what franchisee Brendan Crowley calls a “Texas-inspired” fast-casual concept whose motto is “Food as honest as a handshake.”
“Kind of a cowboy cool sort of concept” is how he describes it.
The restaurant serves wood-fired rotisserie chicken that’s been cooked for two to three hours over locally sourced hardwood on a fire-roasted spit that is visible to guests. It also has made-from-scratch side dishes, such as corn fritters and fried okra. Diners order at a counter. There’s also catering, delivery and carryout.
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FRC Group, which stands for Franchised Restaurant Concepts Group, signed a development agreement about six weeks ago to do 14 restaurants in Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota. Someone else already has the rights to Nebraska, where the group is headquartered.
“We are not very far along in this process,” says Crowley, FRC’s co-president.
The company is hoping to move quickly, though.
“As quickly as we can,” Crowley says. “It’s really a matter of getting a deal done.”
That could be by the end of the year or within 12 to 18 months at the latest for Wichita’s first Cowboy Chicken.
“We’re looking to add another HuHot to the market as well,” Crowley says.
FRC is eyeing the Maple and Ridge Road area for both. It’s also interested in the 21st and Rock Road area, where HuHot already is, for Cowboy Chicken.
“We have some deals we’re working on,” Crowley says. “We can’t really talk about them yet.”
The closest Cowboy Chicken is in Oklahoma City, which another group opened three weeks ago.
Crowley says FRC wants to do outlying markets in Kansas first before tackling Kansas City.
FRC has operated a few different restaurant concepts through the years, including under its previous name, Restaurants Inc.
Today, it owns 21 HuHot Mongolian Grills.
“We’re doing more,” Crowley says.
The company has one under construction in Lawrence, and it just signed a deal for a new one in Shawnee.
Crowley says HuHot has done well in Wichita.
“We’ve been very happy with how that’s gone.”
He says FRC thinks Cowboy Chicken will be well received here, too.
“We’re excited. We really like Wichita.”