Archive for Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Downtown experiences restaurant shuffle

July 3, 2007

While one downtown Tonganoxie eatery has closed, another has opened.

About three weeks ago, Bitler's restaurant opened on Fourth Street in the building where Bullfrog Grill formerly operated. Fourth Street Cafe, in the same block to the west, has closed.

Paul Davis, who had been in Tonganoxie the past seven-and-a-half years, said there were several reasons behind the cafe's closing.

"Oh, pretty much too much competition and couldn't afford to keep it going anymore," Davis said. "And just trying to sell it."

Davis, who lives in Shawnee, said he would be willing to listen to offers of any interested buyers for the downtown cafe.

The 46-year-old Davis said he's pondering whether to remain in the restaurant business in some capacity but is undecided. He has worked in the restaurant business since he was a teenager and graduated in 1990 from culinary school at Johnson County Community College.

Neil and Joyce Bitler, meanwhile, have returned to the Tonganoxie restaurant scene.

The couple operated a restaurant from 1986-2000 at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Second Street where Casey's now stands.

But about three weeks ago, they made their return, opening a new Bitler's restaurant at 416 E. Fourth St.

"Business is fantastic," Neil Bitler said, noting some kinks associated with opening a new restaurant needed to be fixed.

He also said many of his former customers are frequenting his new restaurant.

The restaurant specializes in roasted chicken, steaks, seafood, barbecue and other home-cooked foods.

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