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A&W drive-ins are still coming to Wichita; so is a Long John Silver's Freshside Grille

WICHITA — Readers have been wondering if an A&W drive-in is really coming to Wichita.

Last August, Have You Heard? reported that former Sonic franchisee Eric Estes would bring back the A&W concept, which has been out of the market for decades.

He didn't open the restaurants here this year as he originally thought he would — he went to Garden City instead — but Estes is still planning on it.

"Oh, yeah," he says. "We're absolutely doing it."

He plans to break ground this year and open late next winter or early spring.

The only question is where.

Estes has two pieces of ground — one east, one west. One he owns, the other he's leasing. One will be for an A&W. The other might be for an A&W or another concept.

Estes would rather not pinpoint locations, though.

"Competitors have really been on us," he says. "They are really, really sniffing. We're not used to that."

Earlier this year, Estes opened a Long John Silver's at Kellogg and Rock, near where Chipotle recently broke ground as well.

Now, he's planning a Long John Silver’s Freshside Grille for 29th and Maize in front of Lowe's.

Estes says the restaurant will feature a more upscale interior, decor and menu, which will have more grilled items instead of fried.

Construction should start within 45 to 60 days.

Estes says he'll keep us posted on what he decides for A&W.

"That's going to be a lot of fun," he says. "That's going to be huge for us."

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