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Arrivederci Angelo's - Wichita, Kansas


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In a devastating piece of news, the Wichita Eagle reported this morning that Angelo's restaurant has gone out of business, as of closing last night:

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Owner Jack Fasciano attributes the closing, in part, to the influx of chain restaurants in the area:

Many factors contributed to his financial problems, Fasciano said, including the high cost of running the large building at 1930 S. Oliver, which Angelo's moved into in 2001.  Food distributors had raised their prices, too, he said, and in the end, he couldn't compete with the influx of corporate-owned restaurants in the market.

But there is hope; Fasciano, in the story, indicated he believes there's a niche in smaller-scale "mom and pop" restaurants, and he may eventually open a smaller one. But he did indicate he thought others, currently being run on a larger scale, are in danger. Red Mesa Grill recently closed, and attributed its demise, in part, to the arrival of several chains. (Personally, I would attribute it to mediocre food.)

TGI Friday's is the most recent arrival, having apparently opened within the past couple of weeks.

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WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!

If I had known I would have driven down there yesterday in a heartbeat. This really makes me sad, sad, sad. I've been eating there since birth, hauling olives, pickled eggplant and salad dressing to Lawrence during college (yes, it was messy) and the thought of never again having their food is just incomprehensible. I feel like you hit me really hard right in the ol' bread basket and am having trouble breathing.

I'll say it again - chains are evil and will be the ruin of our society.

Do you have a mailing address for the Fascianos?

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I'll get you an address and PM it to you.

Don't forget about DeFazio's on north Amidon. They, too, have pickled eggplant, although I don't know whether their salad dressing and olives are the same as Angelo's. They do have a yummy mushroom soup, and their canneloni carbonara is delicious. The pizza's pretty good, too.

Someone once told me that DeFazio's was once an Angelo's, but was purchased by someone who worked there; hence, the similarity in quality and cuisine.

I agree with you about the chains. They're taking over Wichita. There was an article in the Eagle last week, encouraging people to write in an nominate a chain restaurant as an anchor for the new Water Walk. It made me sad that it was a foregone conclusion that only a chain would be considered, when we have some excellent restauranteurs in town.

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It is easy to blame independent restaurant closings on the influx of chains. Though, more often than not, it is the business owners fault that he/she has failed to keep the business vital and/or relevant. Unfortunately, most indies who succumb to the chain dilemna fail to recognize the advantages they have over chains and only focus on their disadvantages.

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It is easy to blame independent restaurant closings on the influx of chains. Though, more often than not, it is the business owners fault that he/she has failed to keep the business vital and/or relevant. Unfortunately, most indies who succumb to the chain dilemna fail to recognize the advantages they have over chains and only focus on their disadvantages.

True, in some cases, but I have to believe that jgm's wording "devastating piece of news" implies that the food wasn't the problem. They offered consistent quality for over 40 years and managed to compete head-to-head with another little Eye-talian joint known as Pizza Hut, offering (at various times) pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches. Add the 4 or 5 more-upscale/fast-casual - whatever you want to call them - players and mix in a healthy dose of apathy and indifference on the part of the consumer and you have a recipe for disaster for an independent, regardless of herculean efforts on their part.

As an aside, I was in that part of Wichita enroute to CA last month. Sadly, it was w-a-y too early for them to be open, but I was a little shocked at how down-in-the-heels the area seems to have become. I'm not familiar enough with the demographics or economics of the city these days, but the appearance of the neighborhood leads me to believe it might have contributed to Angelo's demise. I even thought to myself that, if my mother were still living, I probably would have had a hard time convincing her to go there in the evening.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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True, in some cases, but I have to believe that jgm's wording "devastating piece of news" implies that the food wasn't the problem.  They offered consistent quality for over 40 years and managed to compete head-to-head with another little Eye-talian joint known as Pizza Hut, offering (at various times) pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches.  Add the 4 or 5 more-upscale/fast-casual - whatever you want to call them - players and mix in a healthy dose of apathy and indifference on the part of the consumer and you have a recipe for disaster for an independent, regardless of herculean efforts on their part.

As an aside, I was in that part of Wichita enroute to CA last month.  Sadly, it was w-a-y too early for them to be open, but I was a little shocked at how down-in-the-heels the area seems to have become.  I'm not familiar enough with the demographics or economics of the city these days, but the appearance of the neighborhood leads me to believe it might have contributed to Angelo's demise.  I even thought to myself that, if my mother were still living, I probably would have had a hard time convincing her to go there in the evening.

Well, the neighborhood wasn't the greatest, and that location, not being on a major artery, ultimately doomed them. It's why 80% of the new restaurants in Wichita open in far east Wichita or far northwest Wichita, and the middle of town is rotting out for dining options.

My parents took us to Angelo's as long as I can remember, and at the old Harry Street location we were greeted as regulars. I kind of drifted away as I grew older, but my parents still ate there regularly as recently as last week. Sure, we'll still have DeFazio's and Savute's, but hopefully Angelo's can come back in some form soon. I worry that something similar might start happening to our long-standing family Mexican restaurants if people don't start stepping forward and eating "local".

It makes me angry to hear Wichitans up in arms because The Cheesecake Factory doesn't want to locate to the RiverWalk because we don't make enough money or spend enough money to justify their presence. (They want a $77,000 median income and $5 million in gross sales, and the highest grossing restaurant in Wichita makes about $2.5 million). Fine, don't come here, we don't need you -- we're overrun with cookie-cutter chain restaurants already.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“A favorite dish in Kansas is creamed corn on a stick.”

-Jeff Harms, actor, comedian.

>Enjoying every bite, because I don't know any better...

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