By Travis Mounts
SCHULTE – Billy Wood and Richard Hicks Jr. are carrying on a Wichita restaurant tradition in a new location.
The duo opened Town and Country Classic Restaurant on July 20, and their goal is to pay tribute to the Town and Country Restaurant that served generations of families on West Kellogg. The new restaurant is located at the corner of Highway K-42 and Maize Road in the building that was the home of Paula’s Bar and Grill.
Wood and Hicks are not just business partners.
“He’s also my best friend,” Hicks said of Wood.
They worked with the late Larry Conover to take over the Town and Country name. The original Town and Country Restaurant was opened in 1957 by Larry’s father, Jay. It was located next to the Town and Country Motor Lodge. Larry passed away this spring after a long battle with throat cancer.
Wood was regular Town and Country customer and was friends with Conover. Hicks has restaurant experience as a manager with Pizza Hut.
“I always wanted my own restaurant,” Hicks said.
The opportunity came through Wood.
“He said, ‘I got you a restaurant,” Hicks said.
The duo weren’t able to come to terms with the landlord at the original location. Their new location in Schulte is just a few miles away.
A number of the employees are now at the new restaurant. Wood and Hicks have done their best to recreate the spirit of the Conover family business for customers.
“They’ll still see some of the roosters. And more of a country-style look,” Hicks said, stressing the addition of “Classic” to the name, “to keep the memory of Larry alive.
“We’re doing what Larry wanted us to do. And he knew what we wanted to do. And he told us to carry on our dream.”
Breakfast continues to be a big thing at Town and Country Classic, especially on Sundays. Hicks said they are busy from the moment they open the doors until around 2 or 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
“Sundays, people are lined up out the door,” he said.
Lunches are busy as well, and dinners are getting busier, especially around the weekends. Hicks said they are still tweaking the menu, with input from customers.
“If you take care of the customer, they’ll come back,” he said. “I’m very proud of my team. I try to make them part of everything.”
Town and Country Classic Restaurant has about 20 employees. They are open 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and open at 7 a.m. Sunday. The address is 10510 W. Southwest Boulevard. It’s a short drive to Clearwater, Viola and Haysville, and an easy stop for anyone who commutes to Wichita on K-42. Many of Wichita’s far west neighborhoods are just minutes away. Call 316-943-0761.