By early fall, Wichita will have another option for Mexican food.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop franchisee Trace Welch, who has two of the restaurants in Denver, plans to open two or three Fuzzy’s sites in Wichita with a local partner who prefers not to be named.
The first Fuzzy’s, which is named for a nickname of the restaurant’s late founder, will be at 306 N. Rock Road. The restaurant is taking the former Pho Hot Bistro and Signatures Fine Jewelry spaces.
Welch says he’s been in the restaurant business for 32 years, part of which he was with Texas Roadhouse. Welch says he left that chain to become a Fuzzy’s franchisee.
“It reminded me of Roadhouse,” Welch says.
He says Fuzzy’s “could be the next Texas Roadhouse in the fast-casual brand.”
He says it has a fun atmosphere with lots of neon, music and a bar in the middle of the restaurant. He says there’s quality food at reasonable prices.
“I just got really excited about that opportunity to spread that in the fast-casual segment.”
Welch says the chain, which has about 115 sites nationally, can pump out a high volume of food while maintaining consistency.
Fuzzy’s serves Baja-style Mexican food with burritos, tacos, Colorado green chili, white queso and “butt-burning sauce.”
Guests order at a counter and wait to be called to pick up their food.
Welch says that’s “so we can keep the prices low.”
He says the bar is a fun focus for the restaurant.
“There’s a lot of really cool options we have with tequila and margaritas.”
A typical Fuzzy’s is 3,000 to 4,500 square feet. The first Wichita one will be 7,200 square feet, which Welch says will be the biggest Fuzzy’s in the country.
“They’ve become bigger and bigger over time,” he says.
He says he’ll use the back part of the restaurant for a banquet area and overflow seating.
How quickly Welch opens the next two restaurants depends on availability.
He’s checking out the Innovation Campus at Wichita State University this week as well as some potential downtown space.
Welch also would like one near the Texas Roadhouse on West Kellogg and is interested in possibly buying land near there and building from the ground up.
He says the first Fuzzy’s will open in early October. Look for more information then.