The owner of an upper-scale Italian restaurant in Independence is seriously considering opening a second restaurant in Arkansas City.
Patrick Conway, of Brother’s Railroad Inn, said Monday that he has met with City Manager Nick Hernandez and chamber leaders and looked at several properties in town.
“We’ve looked at six or eight different locations and we’ve got two more to look at,” Conway said. “We’re going to have to do new construction no matter where we go, so we can make any property work.”
Ark City Chamber CEO Paisley Howerton said she was excited about the possibility. Last month, she and Pam Crain of Visit Ark City and Brittany Carder of Cake and Co., experienced dinner at the Independence restaurant.
“I was really impressed with the values that they have and the understanding of small cities that they have,” Howerton said.
The restaurant takes reservations and offers a diverse menu, including gourmet pizzas, Italian specialties, seafood, steaks and wines.
Conway said he is impressed with Ark City’s economic development and efforts to prepare for the future. He mentioned the KanPak expansion and Etzanoa project and said Ark City could become more of a destination.
“My dad was the city engineer of Independence for 27 years, so he sees what Ark City is doing and how well they are doing it,” he said. ‘We want to be part of that.”
Conway said he would want to be centrally located and fill a gap with a sit-down, family-style eatery. There would be no TV, and a bar will be located in the back area.
His family has been in the restaurant business since 1949, and Conway said his grandfather taught him business practices that he lives by today.
“Our competitors may beat us in price, but they will never beat us in food quality and service,” he said. “Our job is service, to service our customers no matter what it takes.”
Conway plans to visit Ark City again during the Last Run Car Show to display two of his cars and look at other possible locations.
He is confidant that he will open a new restaurant here.
“The city is the right size,” he said. “The work you guys have done on the infrastructure is awesome.”