August 19, 2014

Estelle’s opening in former Nichols Lunch spot

Anton Kotar, a co-founder of Grinders and former partner in the Crossroads venue and now owner/operator of Anton’s Taproom in the Crossroads, is helping with the new restaurant. Estelle’s will have traditional diner items but with high-quality ingredients.

A landmark diner facing Southwest Trafficway is set to get a new name — once again.

The space, at 3906 Waddell had long been home to Nichols Lunch. Then Mama’s 39th Street Diner operated in the spot, followed by Sosa’s 39th Street Diner, which recently closed.

Now Laura Weiss, the owner of the restaurant, is bringing in Anton Kotar to reopen the spot as Estelle’s (or perhaps Estelle’s Eatery or Estelle’s Diner).

“It has always been such an icon in town,” Kotar said of the location.

But Kotar, a co-founder and former partner at Grinders and the current owner/operator of Anton’s Taproom in the Crossroads Arts District, quickly saw some areas where he could make some improvements.

“It’s not hard to see what was wrong,” he said. “I’ll bring in a barista. We’ll have higher-quality ingredients like real butter, pancakes with fresh fruit, fresh juice. We’ll have specialty burgers, and comfort foods like open-faced roast beef sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy. Proper diner service.”

The restaurant will be called Estelle’s after Kotar’s 2-year-old daughter. Anton’s was named after Kotar’s 4-year-old son.

Estelle’s is scheduled to open in mid-September. Hours are tentatively set for 10 p.m. to 2 p.m. It would be closed from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Kotar also is in negotiations to open Emory’s, a restaurant specializing in burgers and bourbon, in the River Market. Emory’s will be named after Kotar’s 18-week-old son.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at @JoyceKC.

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