Like a handful of restaurants around town, Zoë’s Kitchen didn’t reopen its doors in Wichita after Covid-19 restrictions eased.
The signage at the 13th and Webb location was stripped from the building earlier this month, and now developers at the Waterfront are looking for a new tenant to fill the prime spot in front of Whole Foods Market and Plaza Wine & Spirits.
In fact, Clark says several major, national tenants have told him that exact location is the only thing that would bring them to Wichita.
Whatever takes Zoë’s place, Clark said he’s hoping it will be a new concept.
“I do think it will be something we don’t have here currently,” he said.
Zoë’s Kitchen, a chain of Mediterranean fast-casual restaurants, opened in December 2017 in a new free-standing building near the northwest corner of the intersection.
Clark said he doesn’t know the specifics of what led to the closure.
“Restaurants are certainly in a tough spot,” he said. “This allowed us to have a discussion, and it was a mutual decision and we’re pleased with the result.”
The restaurant has almost 4,000 square feet, with a 750 square-foot outdoor patio. Although it doesn’t currently have a drive-thru, Clark said one could be added.
As for the rest of the 200-acre, mixed-use Waterfront, Clark he doesn’t expect any more businesses to close on the heels of Covid-19. In fact, there’s some new additions.
At the Beach tanning salon, Joy Organics and Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy have opened in the last several weeks.
Openings for Deka Lash, Accent Lighting and Diva Design & Furniture Gallery are expected later this summer.
“So quite a bit of activity, and we’ve still got a little bit more space on 13th that’s available,” Clark said.
But Clark said he has concerns about the long-term impacts of Covid-19, especially if a second wave of the virus wipes out more businesses and leaves more tenant spaces vacant.
“I think we’ve got a special location there, so I’m not too worried about the former Zoë’s, but I am not very optimistic in general,” he said. “Wichita has unfortunately kind of tough sell in the first place, unless you’re talking about locals moving from one spot to another.
“I think when good concepts come here they are supported, but this virus has done some real damage to the industry…. I don’t know, if we have a flare-up of the virus again or not, if we have one that’s bad enough to shut things down again, I mean, it’ll really polish off. There’s just so many of those businesses hanging on by a thread. We’re seeing a bunch of them not make it, but there’s still a whole other swath of them that are just hanging on by threads, so it’s been really tough.”
Article By Shelby Reynolds