Carrie Rengers

When the concrete business is a tasty one

Andy’s Frozen Custard is entering the Wichita market with an initial three restaurants. This is a drawing of the first, which will open next to Jimmy John’s at NewMarket Square.
Andy’s Frozen Custard is entering the Wichita market with an initial three restaurants. This is a drawing of the first, which will open next to Jimmy John’s at NewMarket Square. Courtesy illustration

A Missouri tradition is coming to Kansas.

Springfield-based Andy’s Frozen Custard is entering the Wichita market with three restaurants.

“These are my first Andy’s units,” says franchisee Brian Cates.

The first of the three will open next to Jimmy John’s at NewMarket Square along 21st Street. Cates also has a letter of intent on the east side and is eyeing space near Maple and Ridge as well.

Cates says he looked at a dozen markets before selecting Wichita.

“There were other places that we could have gone.”

He calls Wichita “just your prototypical Midwest city where that model works well.”

Andy’s is known as a family restaurant that exclusively serves dessert. Cates says what makes the 30-year-old chain different is how fresh its ingredients are.

For instance, Cates says, in the fall, Andy’s doesn’t merely flavor its concrete desserts with pumpkin spice. He says it takes pumpkin pie straight from the oven “just like your grandmother makes” and mixes it with the concrete.

There are fresh berries in the spring and regularly rotating choices depending on the season. Andy’s also picks a local troop of Girl Scouts to “buy a tremendous amount of” cookies from for mixing in the concrete.

Also, there’s likely to be a menu item related to “something that’s near and dear to the community,” such as the Shockers.

Cates says it’s important for Andy’s to be able to set itself apart since “wherever you’re sitting at right now in Wichita, you could drive three to four minutes and get a frozen dessert.”

The Andy’s drive-through generally accounts for 65 percent of its business. It doesn’t offer indoor seating, but it does have benches and radiating heat near a walk-up window.

“It’s really an experienced-based business,” Cates says.

He says he could easily see Wichita supporting another one or two Andy’s sites after the first three open.

The NewMarket Andy’s will open late this year or in early 2017. The east-side one likely will follow next, followed by the second west-side site.

Cates knows exactly where he wants to be.

“It would be under contract yesterday if I could get my hands on it.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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