John “Jetman” Thien finally is doing it.
Not quite two years after telling Have You Heard? he wants to close his more than 30-year-old Jet Bar-B-Q and write a book about the history of barbecue in Wichita, he’s going to do it.
Alex Eftekhar is ready to take his place at the old firehouse No. 8, the 1928 building at 1100 E. Third St. downtown where Thien has had his business for almost 20 years.
After Thien closes in early July, Eftekhar plans renovations before opening his restaurant this fall.
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He’s going to call it Station 8.
“I think it sounds kind of cool … and gives a little historical aspect to it also,” Eftekhar said.
Thien has been leasing the 4,500-square-foot space, which has a drive-through down the middle of the building.
His landlord sold the property to Eftekhar’s father, Reza Eftekhar, who owns Autohouse Stuttgart a block over at 1106 E. Second St.
“This building has a good character to it,” Reza Eftekhar says of the former firehouse.
The proximity to his business is no accident either. Eftekhar plans to be a frequent customer.
“I can’t believe I created a son to be a chef,” he says. “Whatever he makes, I eat. He’s just so good.”
Alex Eftekhar has been working in kitchens since he was 14, starting at Carrabba’s.
He doesn’t have formal training, but he’s now working for Flint Hills National Golf Club.
“I’ve learned a lot from them,” Eftekhar says.
He especially loves barbecue and has a smoker trailer that he and his father built, which the country club has had him bring for events there.
“That was entirely on me,” Eftekhar says. “I had never done bulk barbecue before.”
At Station 8, he plans to do some barbecue but will have other dishes as well. Initially, Eftekhar will serve lunch only but is contemplating breakfast, too.
“I might end up having dinner out there.”
Eftekhar plans to continue his evening job at Flint Hills.
He doesn’t think he’ll open Station 8 until at least September.
“We’re going to start with renovations on it,” he says. “It needs a lot of work, actually.”
That includes putting in new HVAC systems and windows.
Eftekhar says he has a former Wonder Bread truck that will be great for catering and could double as advertising outside of his business as well.
Thien will continue to operate Jet Bar-B-Q from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until he closes after business on July 3.
He isn’t planning a final party or other special event for the closing.
“I’m not much on parties or anniversaries or hoopla,” he says.
“I’m just going to kind of slide off into the night.”