UPDATED – Shaker Dakhil may be best known as an oncologist who is president of the Cancer Center of Kansas, but he’s also a major foodie and a “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” fanatic.
That’s how he says he first discovered Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies a couple of years ago.
“I said, ‘I’m going to bring it to Wichita.’ ”
He “just let it sit on the shelf” because he says he was busy with other things. Then a few months ago, Dakhil’s head nurse saw a story in The Wichita Eagle that Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies in Tonkawa, Okla., was closing.
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“Oh, this is a signal from God,” Dakhil says he declared.
Now, he, his daughter, Laura Monahan, and her husband, Bradley Monahan, are preparing to open the first of what they hope will be several Fried Pies – a shortened name – around Wichita.
The first is going to open early this summer in a kiosk at Northwest Centre at the northwest corner of 13th and Tyler.
“This is a license,” Dakhil says.
“We have the whole area outside Park City,” he says.
Another family opened the concept in Park City.
“We’re going to duplicate this all over the city and the surrounding area,” Dakhil says.
Though future Fried Pies sites depend on the success of the first, Dakhil is confident.
“Everybody eats fried pies.”
The drive-through will feature savory and sweet pies.
“Everything your grandmother used to cook is going to be there,” Dakhil says.
Fillings will be prepared in Davis, Okla., where the company is based. Dough will be prepared at the kiosk, and the pies will be cooked there.
“The signature is the dough,” Dakhil says. That’s what makes everything click.”
There will be breakfast pies with eggs, sausage, bacon and cheese.
Lunch pies will have ingredients such as chicken and beef. There also will be a vegetarian option.
Dakhil says they’ll encourage call-ahead orders for the pick-up window.
There also will be a variety of coffee offerings, soda products and slushies.
Dakhil says fried pies are especially popular in his native Lebanon.
“Anything you put in a fried dough tastes great,” he says. “We used to say in Lebanon you could put shoe leather in fried dough.”
There’s a reason his family chose Arbuckle Pies for their business.
“The whole back story is such a cool thing,” Laura Monahan says.
She says in the 1800s, cowboys in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma needed meals that were hearty and easy to heat during cold weather, and the pies were ideal for that.
Monahan calls her husband and father the “foodie docs.”
“I’ve been a foodie my whole life,” Dakhil says. “My weight testifies to that.”
His bucket list includes going to all the places “Diners” host Guy Fieri has gone.
“I think he has the best job in the country.”
Bradley Monahan was a business major before becoming a chiropractor. He’s now given up his practice to develop the pie concept full time.
“This is just a really great opportunity,” he says.
He and his family see a lot of ability to grow the company.
“That really prompted the change.”
Laura Monahan, a lawyer who also was a public relations major in college, says each person brings different skills to the company.
“We’re just kind of doing this team effort,” she says.
Dakhil says drive-through pies are a new concept.
“No one has done it like this.”
Fried Pies with seating are an option for future sites if customers request it, he says.
“There’s a lot of things up in the air for the future,” Laura Monahan says.
For the first site, Dakhil says everything will be in a compact space, and finding the right site was crucial.
“I said, ‘This is it,’ ” he says of when Occidental Management chairman and CEO Gary Oborny showed him Northwest Centre.
The kiosk will be just west of the center’s main entry along 13th Street.
“It’ll have great signage visibility and easy access,” says Occidental president Chad Stafford.
Construction is scheduled to start in March, and Fried Pies should open in June or July.
AAA Restaurant Supply is helping design the kiosk space.
Stafford says there are good demographics in the area, and there’s an increase in traffic because of the new on-off ramp for I-235. Also, Occidental’s Tyler Pointe development across the street is now active with a number of new businesses.
There’s “a lot more people going into that intersection,” Stafford says.
Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture is the architect.
Dakhil says his nurses were discussing how it’s unique for a business such as Fried Pies to go to the west side first instead of east.
“They feel like the west side has been vindicated.”