Wichita’s long wait for the return of Metro Grill – and its once-loved sandwiches like the Cuban and the Infamous BOB – is almost over.
On Saturday, Victor Hammond and Michael Gonzalez will kick off a soft opening for their relaunched Metro Grill, which will operate from the Wichita Cheesecake Company space at 801 E. Douglas. The soft-opening menu will include the aforementioned sandwiches as well as a vegetarian sandwich and a pasta dish called Pasta Mia. It will also include poblano white cheddar soup and a Caesar salad which can be topped with a choice of chicken, shrimp or salmon.
Hours of operation on Saturday will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and people will be able to eat either by entering the restaurant or at its drive-thru window. After Saturday, the hours will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. inside and from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. for the drive.
Longtime Wichita foodies will remember Town East Square’s Metro Grill sandwich cart, which Gonzalez started in 2004. His sandwiches and pastas were so popular there that he branched out with several restaurants in the surroundings.
Eight years ago, Gonzalez moved back to New Jersey, and Hammond — whom Gonzalez had taken on as a partner — took over the last remaining Metro Grill at Central and Tyler. He also took ownership of the Metro Grill name and recipes but had to close the West Side restaurant in 2015.
Hammond recently decided to revive the restaurant after striking a deal with Wichita Cheesecake Company owners Mark and Grace Daniels, who were looking for a way to start serving lunch and dinner items to attract more customers. . He got in touch with Gonzalez in New Jersey, and the two agreed to work together to revive Metro Grill.
Guests can dine inside the restaurant, which has a few tables, and on picnic tables out front. They can also have a slice of cheesecake for dessert.
Over time, Hammond said, Metro Grill will add other famous Metro Grill dishes to its menu, including the mahi mahi sandwich and an Italian sandwich.
While in Wichita, Gonzalez also operated restaurants at the Wichita Waterfront and in Andover. He sold the Andover restaurant, which is now called Metro Bistro but is no longer linked to the original.