Brandon Steven will stop you as you try to walk into his new 6S Steakhouse, not because he doesn’t want you to come in, but because he wants you to look up and down and notice every detail.
“You’ll laugh at me … but this is the third ceiling that I’ve done. Literally, the third ceiling,” he says of the foyer. “The first one was just boring. I said you can’t come into this amazing restaurant and have this boring ceiling.”
Steven has redone everything at least once and often numerous times.
“I literally went through every square inch of this place.”
The restaurant, where Players and other restaurants and sports bars have been at 6200 W. 21st St. across from Sedgwick County Park., has taken 15 months longer and cost more than twice as much as Steven planned.
Steven won’t say how much that is, but he acknowledges he could have built three restaurants for what he spent.
Now, though, it’s mostly ready except for a few final touches. Saturday is the first day 6S will open to the public for dinner.
Wednesday, Steven hosted dinner for members of his extended family, and he was exacting with his staff before their arrival, such as making a hostess move an orchid on her stand – the one Steven redid twice – because it blocks a view.
The “view” is the main dining room, flanked on one end by a mural Steven commissioned to showcase iconic Wichita sites and, on the other, by a row of elevated booths that he thinks will be popular with millennials who want to overlook the action.
Atop it all is Steven’s crowning achievement and “the biggest stress point of this project for me.”
There are 13 rings, which are circular chandeliers that Steven and artist Steve Murillo designed.
“It’s really his baby,” Steven says.
They’re each slightly different and feature hanging white fabric and beads. There’s something very Vegas about them, perhaps appropriate for Steven, a poker player who makes frequent trips there.
Vegas may not even have this style of chandelier.
“You’re not going to see that anywhere else,” Steven says. “They look so simple, but that was … almost a year process.”
They were also $100,000 more than he planned.
Steven has always liked fine dining, but he’s learned a lot about what constitutes upscale through this process.
“I just missed so much detail. There’s so much detail,” he says. “Restaurants I used to think were really nice, I walk up and say, ‘Huh, that’s just OK.’ ”
Steven is proud of what he calls his El Dorado booths off the side of the main dining room. They’re three private booths each with two sets of drapes, one that’s sheer and allows for a little privacy and one that is thicker to provide complete privacy. Diners can call wait staff from the booths and reach them via Apple watches. Guests have five choices of music or can plug in their own.
Then there are three private dining areas of varying sizes for bigger groups and events.
There’s also a dine-in bar and a side door – what Steven calls the Flying Kitchen – for to-go orders.
A wall of wine separates the bar and the main dining room. Steven jokes about getting it right on the second try.
“So we didn’t go through much.”
He has furniture for the restaurant’s patio overlooking a lake, though he hasn’t put it out yet since it’s winter.
Finally, there’s an enormous kitchen – big enough to hold whole other restaurants.
On his way through during a tour, Steven samples bread made by Los Angeles transplant and executive chef Kayson Chong.
“Everything he does is so good, and so I keep trying it, and I’m a guy who can’t just have one bite,” Steven says.
“I promise you I’ve gained five pounds this week.”
The car dealer keeps leaving his day job to stop by the restaurant on his way home.
“I’ve been here every night for the last week and a half.”
Steven’s goal is to eventually return solely as a customer. For now, though, he continues to tweak. And tweak. And tweak again.
“I’m going to redo that wall, too,” he says, pointing to a seemingly perfect wall in the bar. “I’m not happy with it.”