Carrie Rengers

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop to open at WSU’s Braeburn Square, which has ‘gone amazingly quickly’

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop coming to WSU

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is opening next summer in Wichita State University’s Braeburn Square restaurant and retail development.
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Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is opening next summer in Wichita State University’s Braeburn Square restaurant and retail development.

UPDATED — Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is following its strong Wichita opening on the east side with a second restaurant, but it’s not on the west side as some were hoping.

It’ll be at the new 20-acre Braeburn Square west of 21st and Oliver at Wichita State University.

Fuzzy’s franchisee Trace Welch calls the new development “an inviting place with the way they’ve designed it.”

The restaurant will open next to the new Shocker Store, which will have a ribbon cutting at 12:15 p.m. Friday, in one of two 10,000-square-foot mixed-use buildings already built.

Welch says he expects it to be a destination even for people who aren’t on campus. He says it’s “something like you would see at a big-name university” like Texas A&M University where his daughter goes.

“People are very active and engaged in that.”

The 4,200-square-foot Fuzzy’s will have 180 indoor and outdoor seats.

“The outside part of this is really an important aspect of these buildings,” says Lou Heldman, WSU’s vice president of strategic communications.

The two buildings, which will have a mix of restaurants and some retail, “both overlook a small lake with fountains and fire pots and extensive patio seating.”

“Most of the tenants will have garage doors opening onto the patio,” Heldman says. “One cool thing about this is that because these are east-facing patios, they’ll be . . . basically in the shade. It’s going to make it a great spot.”

He says if you’ve only driven past Braeburn Square along 21st Street on the north side of campus, “It doesn’t really give you any sense of that.”

Krista Racine and Christi Royse of J.P. Weigand & Sons are handling Braeburn Square leasing.

“Most of our interest has been from the restaurant side,” Racine says.

She says there’s interest from potential regional and national tenants.

“There’s not a lot of universities that have the opportunity to have an expansion and development like this within their campus,” Racine says. “Everything they’re doing is pretty progressive.”

For tenants and the school, “It’s a unique opportunity for them because of that.”

Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the Fuzzy’s deal.

Welch says Fuzzy’s is Baja-style Mexican food with “very flavorful mixed concoctions” of drinks and salsas and sauces.

The restaurant serves breakfast all day. Hours aren’t set for the WSU restaurant yet, but they’ll likely be 7 a.m. until midnight “and maybe later depending on events,” Welch says.

The Fuzzy’s at 306 N. Rock Road just south of Central is larger at 7,500 square feet with a banquet room. It opened in March and “actually set the record for the busiest opening” Welch says of all Fuzzy’s restaurants.

He says it has consistently remained in the top 10 in sales out of 150 Fuzzy’s restaurants nationally.

The new Fuzzy’s should open by next summer.

Welch is still looking for a west-side site as well, though he says he’s having some trouble because of some other west-side Mexican restaurants that have noncompete agreements at developments where he’d like to be.

The two large multitenant buildings at Braeburn Square are finished except for interior finishes that tenants will make.

Meritrust Credit Union also is opening in 1,400 square feet in the mixed-used building south of where the Shocker Store is and the Fuzzy’s will be.

Starbucks is already open in a freestanding building at the development.

The Shocker Store, which is separate from the main one on campus, is 2,800 square feet. Instead of carrying books, it will have all Shocker merchandise.

The ribbon-cutting celebration is from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, and there’s a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

That’s in conjunction with an open-house weekend at the campus with various activities and tours, including at Braeburn Square.

Braeburn Square is part of what the university used to refer to as the Innovation Campus. Now, to incorporate it more into the university as a whole, it’s known as the east side of campus or just the campus expansion.

Along with more announcements in the months to come, Heldman says, “There’s expansion space for Braeburn Square on the other side of the lake.”

WSU is modeling its expansion, which includes corporate and educational buildings along with student residences, off of one at North Carolina State University.

There have been questions and criticisms about WSU’s expansion along the way, such as how fast or slow it’s progressing or how innovative it is.

Heldman says with North Carolina, “It took them five years to even get the first building up,” after it announced its plan.

“We’re sort of nine buildings into it either up or under construction,” Heldman says. “It’s gone amazingly quickly.”

So, anything we’re missing in the story of Braeburn Square thus far?

“You’re missing all the great places to come.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
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