La Islas Mexican Restaurant Gets New Wichita Address

The Old New Market at 21st and Broadway will be home to several businesses, including a new location for La Islas Restaurant.

The Old New Market at 21st and Broadway will be home to several businesses, including a new location for La Islas Restaurant.

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There is a new Strip Center at the corner of 21st Street and Broadway in Wichita, and one space in the L-shaped development will be filled with a familiar Mexican restaurant that is moving and expanding.

José Gandara, who with his wife Juliana, owned La Isla in 1935’s Broadway, plans to move the business to Old New Market Place, located on the southwest corner of 21st and Broadway, just across the street from NoMar International Market.

But the new development, built by Romaldo Lopez of Oakridge Remodeling, is far from over. Significant construction delays slowed the opening, which Romaldo initially hoped would happen last spring. The main problem: the continuing delays in charging the electrical supplies needed to finish the center.

Gandara, whose restaurant specializes in Mexican seafood dishes like ceviche and aguachiles, oysters on a half-shell and shrimp cocktail, has already put up a sign at 21 and Broadway but said he’s now heard it might be March before he can move into space, which will give the restaurant Double the seats it has now. He said he planned to keep the original restaurant in 1935 and Broadway was operating until it was time to move on.

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La Isla specializes in ceviche and other seafood dishes. Dennis Neal wichita eagle

The rental agent told Old New Market Place that La Isla is the only restaurant that will move so far, although some have questioned whether there will be two. Another sign posted at the center of the bar says El Vaquero, the name of a restaurant that operated at 1320 E. Central from 2018 until 2020, when new owners took over and changed the name to El Mariachi. (This restaurant has also since closed, and a second-hand furniture store called Sumthing for Everybody Furniture is now operating out of the space in East Central.)

But El Vaquero’s opening in the Old New Marketplace won’t be a restaurant: it will be the new location for a men’s clothing store currently operating at 808 W. (El Vaquero translates to “The Cowboy”).

The center also houses several other tenants, including RG Fashion Closet, which sells clothing for men and women, and Head Gear, which will be an embroidery and printing shop. The mall is anchored on a metro by T-Mobile store.

Gandara and his wife first opened 1935’s N Broadway in April 2015, and the restaurant has grown in popularity since then. They opened a second location in 2016 at 784 N. West St. , and took over when Emilia’s Family Restaurant and Pie Shop ceased 30 years later. But it closed after about a year.

However, the original location is more crowded than ever, he said, and a group of friends always 10-20 people dine there twice a week in the summer. Gandara said the current space, which has only 30 seats, is not big enough. It will be able to seat 50 to 60 seats in the new venue.

“The other place will be more spacious,” he said. “It’s a nicer place, a bigger place… I have a lot of faith that we’ll do well there.”

Gandra said he will let me know when he has an appointment to move in.

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. The Eat With Denise Facebook page is the place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and talks to groups all over Wichita about eating.

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