That’s because Thrive Restaurant Group president Jon Rolph convinced his friend Ben Hutton and his firm to build the new spaces at the same time the company is finishing the new office building around them in the Spaghetti Works District downtown at Douglas and St. Francis.
The new pie concept debuts 38 years and one day after Thrive’s Carlos O’Kelly’s first opened.
The pie shop’s tagline, which is celebrated in locally-designed-and-made neon prominently displayed in the new space, is “enjoy the journey.”
“Our hope is we’re creating space where people can stop, enjoy the journey, enjoy some pie,” Rolph says.
The business is connected to HomeGrown, which continues to carry through its same “cultivating kindness” theme as the HomeGrowns at NewMarket Square and Bradley Fair.
Even though this is Thrive’s third HomeGrown, Rolph says there were new challenges building in a space with an office overhead, such as venting heat from the kitchen.
One of the biggest challenges at both new businesses will be convincing Wichitans who are used to parking next to a restaurant that they can walk a bit to get to it instead.
“Well, that’s the concern of doing an urban restaurant,” Rolph says.
He says there’s actually quite a bit of parking around the area, just not next to the front door.
“This is what being a part of downtown is all about. And we are confident that it’ll work.”
There’s no parking at the front door because outside the doors to the businesses is the revamped Naftzger Park, where construction will be completed early in the new year.
The view from the large picture windows at the new businesses is of buildings that downtowners already pass daily, but the spaces and what they look out onto almost feel like something from outside of Wichita — particularly with Monday’s snow.
Outside of Wichita is where Rolph is turning his focus next. He’ll be looking at new markets, most likely within driving distance, for his new concepts. Watch for more on that in 2020.
Initially, HomeGrown will have the same breakfast and lunch hours — 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily — as the other HomeGrowns. Eventually, though, the restaurant may capitalize on some downtown evening dining.
Peace, Love & Pie will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday “or until we sell out :),” as its front door says.
The business will rotate its menu with eight new pies every quarter.
Peace, Love & Pie already has a food truck that Rolph calls a pie wagon named Clementine. Rolph says it’s done pretty well except the old VW van has had some mechanical issues.
“Clementine had to go the doctor.”
Rolph does not have advice about what kind of pie to order.
“The one that I’m eating.”