If the past few days are any indication, the new Doc Green’s Gourmet Salads & Grill near Central and Hillside is going to be a hit.
The restaurant isn’t open yet, but owner Tammi Kuthan says that “yesterday we could have served probably 70 people.”
“Everyone that we’ve talked to so far that’s tried to come in and eat the last couple of days is super excited.”
Kuthan and her husband, Scott, opened their first Doc Green’s at the Waterfront 11 years ago. Another followed at NewMarket Square eight years ago.
“The funny thing is when we first decided to do this 11 years ago, we actually wanted to be right here around Wesley, but we could not find anything,” Tammi Kuthan says.
The restaurant opens Monday in 3,000 square feet in the same center as Freebirds World Burritos along Hillside just south of the Walgreens at Central and Hillside.
“This area is just going to be awesome,” Tammi Kuthan says.
“Our menu really was the inspiration for the interior,” she says. “I just really love how clean and fresh it looks, and really that’s what we’re all about. So I like that the interior can reflect what we really are.”
She’s taking some of the features of the new restaurant and incorporating them at the other two.
“We did elements of barn wood throughout all of the stores,” Kuthan says.
The wood came from a 150-year-old barn in Douglas County.
The restaurant also has black-and-white prints from Kansas photographers.
“Everything is from around Kansas,” Kuthan says. “We wanted to have kind of a local urban vibe but be supportive to our Kansas roots type thing.”
There are wood tables and a couple of concrete high-top tables.
“That’s where everyone wants to sit,” Kuthan says of friends and family who have stopped in.
She says she wishes all three of her restaurants could look exactly like the new one.
“We feel this is a keeper,” Scott Kuthan says. “This is the one … we’re going to continue to grow with.”
The Kuthans plan to expand.
“We want to grow a store a year,” Scott Kuthan says. “We’re all in. We feel we have what the public likes.”
When the Kuthans got into the business, it was a franchise, but now they own the concept independently and are considering expansions in Derby, Lawrence, Manhattan and Kansas City.
Scott Kuthan has a background with McDonald’s. His father became a franchisee the year Kuthan was born.
“He learned a lot of good things from McDonald’s, but it’s a very hard business, especially when you have a family,” Tammi Kuthan says. “They’re open 24 hours a day.”
She says she and her husband were high school sweethearts.
“Still together, even in the restaurant business,” Tammi Kuthan says. “I do my thing and he does his, and then we’re fine.”
The Kuthans are planning a soft opening for next week and a grand opening for March 25 and 26 when part of the proceeds will go to Heartspring.
To start, hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
“If we feel like there is a need for us to open later or earlier, we will accommodate that,” Tammi Kuthan says.
She says three nurses stopped by one day this week at 10 a.m.
“They were disappointed we weren’t open,” Kuthan says. “We’ll just kind of see what our guests want.”
Scott Kuthan says their first two restaurants have helped them figure out what works for guests and the business, too.
“We have learned from each restaurant on how to be more efficient, how to take care of our guests better,” he says. “Wichita’s taken care of us. We really appreciate that.”
Tammi Kuthan says she’s been overwhelmed by the positive feedback she’s receiving about the new restaurant, especially from people on Facebook.
“They want us here, and they’re excited, which is exciting for us.”