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The Wichita restaurant scene will continue to get new players this year

Becky and Dan Norton will open their Norton’s Brewing Company before the NCAA Tournament arrives in Wichita in March.
Becky and Dan Norton will open their Norton’s Brewing Company before the NCAA Tournament arrives in Wichita in March. The Wichita Eagle

Progress is hard work, and it makes people hungry.

Lucky for them, another area where progress is always being made is the restaurant industry.

This year, like all years, dozens of new restaurants will enter the market. Some are owned by local entrepreneurs. Some are part of national chains.

Here’s a look at many of the restaurants we know will open in 2018 and early 2019.

March

Nortons Brewing Company, 125 N. St. Francis: Longtime River City Brewing Co. head brewer Dan Norton and his wife, Becky, are opening their own place, and he vows to have it ready by the time March Madness arrives in Wichita. He’s aiming form March 15 at the latest for his new brewery, which is going into a 9,000-square-foot building across from Bite Me BBQ. Dan will brew the beer, and Becky will manage the restaurant, which will serve a menu of “greasy flattop burgers,” funnel cakes, fries, sandwiches, salads and more. The couple also plans a big outdoor beer garden with a stage.

Chick N Max, 2350 N. Greenwich: A second Wichita Chick N Max is slated to open sometime in March in the former Freebirds spot near 21st and Greenwich.

86 Cold Press, 600 E. Douglas: Austin Dugan plans to relocate his nearby juice bar and expand it into a cafe that serves Paleo meals, cold-pressed juice and his own yogurt. He hopes to have the cafe open before the NCAA tournament.

La Hacienda, 5905 W. Kellogg: This Derby Mexican restaurant will soon have another location, this one in the recently vacated Monterrey Mexican Grill space along West Kellogg. It should be open by late March.

Mo & Izzy’s, 803 N. West Street: This old Sonic building, which most recently was home to WOW Cheesesteaks, will have a new restaurant in it sometime in March. CC Robertson is opening the restaurant, where she’ll serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Her menu will include comfort-food items, bierocks and pan-fried chicken on Sundays.

Gabby’s Peruvian Cuisine, 1002 S. Seneca: This tiny but popular Delano restaurant will move to a much bigger space on South Seneca, and the owners plan to have it up and running in March. The owner serves authentic Peruvian dishes like arroz con pollo, chicharron, fried tilapia and flan.

Taco Tico, 460 N. West Street: This former Taco Tico building is about to become a current Taco Tico building. Though it hasn’t been a Taco Tico since 2013, but its current owners plan to have it back in business sometime in March.

Black Bean Canteen, 2621 N. Greenwich: Accountant and fitness enthusiast Bill Leppert has been planning this healthy cafe for a while now but says that finding the right location has been tougher than he expected. He’s hoping for a March opening for his cafe, which will serve smoothies, steamed fish, chicken dishes and soups.

April

Huddle House, Twin Lakes Shopping Center, 21st and Amidon: Wichita’s first location of this restaurant, a 24-hour diner chain in the vein of IHOP and Denny’s, should be open by April. Franchisee Abdul Arif said he’d eventually like to build one in the downtown area as well.

May

El Agave, 3540 N. Maize Road: Wichita’s second El Agave Mexican Restaurant could be open by May at Fox Ridge Plaza. The original is at 3236 N. Rock Road. Construction should start soon.

Reverie in the library, Second and McLean: Another Reverie Coffee Roasters will open inside the new $33 million Advanced Learning Library that’s almost complete now. It’ll be ready when the library opens, which should be some time in May.

Cowboy Chicken, North Rock Road: Wichita’s first location of this chain, which serves wood-fired rotisserie chicken, also should open sometime in May on North Rock Road.

July

Buffalo Wings & Rings, K-96 and Greenwich: This Ohio-based chain plans to open up to three restaurants in Wichita, but the first one is set to open in July at Greenwich Place. It’ll be 6,030 square feet. It’ll have 16 beers on tap and wings with many types of sauces.

Spring

Wheat State Dogs, food cart: Pat Handley, a longtime vegan, plans to launch a hot dog cart specializing in vegan hot dogs made using wheat gluten and soy. He’ll park the cart in all the “usual food truck-y places” and at local farmers markets. The cart should be ready to hit the road no later than springtime.

BurgerFi, 2441 N. Maize Road: This restaurant, part of a Florida-based chain that has more than 50 restaurants across the country, is going into the former Pei Wei space at NewMarket Square. It serves burgers, fries, shakes and beer as well as hot dogs, onion rings and custard. It’s scheduled to open sometime in the spring.

Chick-fil-A, Maple and Ridge: Another free-standing Chick-fil-A will open in Wichita, this one in front of the Lowe’s at Maple and Ridge. The restaurant should be ready by late summer.

Chick N Max, 21st and Amidon: A third Wichita Chick N Max is slated to open sometime this summer in the Twin Lakes Shopping Center near 21st and Amidon.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Meridian and I-235: Wichita will get a seventh Freddy’s, this one on the south-side, this year. It should be ready by late summer or early fall.

Fried Pies: Some partners plan to bring an Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies drive-through kiosk at Northwest Centre, a strip center at 13th and Tyler.

Early 2018

Jersey Mike’s Subs, undetermined location: It’s been more than a year since franchisees announced plans to bring Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants to Wichita, but they now say 2018 is the year. They’re looking for locations and aren’t sure which side of town they’ll choose but say they hope to have one open by the first part of 2018.

Late 2018

Carlos O’ Kelly’s and HomeGrown for the east side: Sasnak Management, which owns the Carlos O’ Kelly’s chain and the new HomeGrown restaurant on the west side, should have a busy 2018. By the end of the year, it should have a new mega-Carlos O’ Kelly’s open as well as a second HomeGrown. Both are slated for the east side, and the company is close to making decisions on locations, a spokesman said. Both restaurants should be ready to go by the end of the year.

Chicken N Pickle, 13th and Greenwich: This wild new restaurant is set to open by next fall in the Plazzio Center at 13th and Greenwich (also home to the east-side Warren Theatre, Sumo, Cheddar’s and more.) In addition to serving fried and rotisserie chicken, it’ll have six indoor and six outdoor pickle ball courts as well as a rooftop bar, fire pits and more.

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