The former Tommy’s space at 21st and Tyler is going to be home to a new restaurant chain for Wichita.
Most recently, Jimmie’s Diner has been at the site, and Ciao Italian Kitchen was there before that. The two restaurants had been in only 4,500 square feet of the former Tommy’s space, though Now, Pizza Ranch will take the entire 7,500 square feet that Tommy’s once had. Wessley says he’s going to need it.
The restaurant will be in about 6,000 square feet, and there will be a fun zone — think high-tech gaming — in 1,500 square feet.
“It’s very family oriented,” Wessley says.
His own large family, including 16 grandchildren, was part of the inspiration.
“If we all try to go eat somewhere, it’s just not happening,” Wessley says.
He says lots of Pizza Ranch’s tables hold eight or more people. There are also two large banquet rooms.
Though “pizza” is in the Pizza Ranch name, the restaurant has a lot more than that, Wessley says.
The buffet concept has three buffets: one for pizza, one for salad and one that Wessley says is “just a big hot food bar.”
There’s chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes and other items. The restaurant also offers ice cream and dessert pizzas.
“So we cover it all.”
Wessley says he used to go to the Pizza Ranch in Hutchinson to eat.
“The chicken’s just incredible.”
After establishing his first two franchises, Wessley says he then took a couple of years to study Pizza Ranch to decide if it was right for him to do next.
The Iowa-based chain has more than 200 sites nationally.
“They very much care about people,” Wessley says.
He thought that was the right fit for him.
“We’ll be very active in the community.”
Wessley has three LaMar’s sites and three Cold Stone Creamery sites.
“We still have the potential to grow LaMar’s. There’s lots of areas of Wichita to grow.”
Wessley says there’s a potential to open more Pizza Ranch sites, too.
First, he says, he has to get the initial one established. It should be open by early November at the latest.