Local restaurants prepare for the NCAA tournament this weekend

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Let the madness begin. Wichita hosts the NCAA Sweet 16 Women’s Basketball Tournament. The denunciation is not until Saturday, but several companies are preparing for the influx of fans.

By the weekend, the Intrust Bank Arena should be full of fans from across the country to watch the tournament. As a result, many restaurants in the area are bracing for what they say will be a much-needed boost in business.

“Whenever people come to events, the more events they host in downtown Wichita, the more people that come, the more business there is for us. It’s going to be awesome. It will help us a lot. It can’t be worse than two years ago,” said Melad Stephan, owner of Sabor Latin Bar & Grille.

Sabor is located in the old town, less than a mile from the arena. Stephan said area hotels were fully booked and he had extra staff ready for the busy weekend.

“We have been very lucky with my staff here throughout the pandemic. I kept 90% of my staff. We’ve hired a few more, but we’re still hiring,” Stephan said.

Everyone is also on deck at HomeGrown Wichita at Naftzger Park. The restaurant is located across from the Intrust Bank Arena, and the shopping operator said it was waiting for big events to kick off.

“Having events like this at the arena, we really look forward to being there and enjoying it,” said Brian Donnelly, Homegrown’s Chief Operating Officer.

The Wichita Brewing Company, while not located downtown, will also be expecting a lot of business as it brings a food truck to the arena to get in on the action.

“We got involved a few years ago when the men’s tournament was in town, and we had a lot of fun, a lot of people came, a lot of people liked the pizza and the beer, so we thought we’d do it again, said AJ Coffelt, the general manager of the east location of the Wichita Brewing Company.

Local business owners said that regardless of major events happening downtown, there should still be plenty of parking available for anyone wishing to come this weekend.

Other nearby local restaurants include Norton’s Brewing Company, The Kitchen, Pour House, Public at the Brickyard, Bite Me BBQ, District Taqueria, River City Brewing, Pumphouse and many more.

Gladys T. Hensley