Hatteberg's People - Wichita's Last Kings-X Restaurant

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

On Hatteberg's People, next week at this time there will be no more Kings-X restaurant in Wichita. The last one of its vintage will close Sunday. It's been there since the 1960s and for many, especially at breakfast, they've been going for decades. To the regulars who have been faithful customers it will be a tough transition.

"It's going to be bad on this corner," customer Duane Crawford said. "I don't know what people are going to do. I don't know where people are going to go."

The corner he's talking about is 21st and Amidon. It's been here a long time, this old Kings-X restaurant. For years, customers made it their home for a lot of different reasons.

"Because it's nice and cozy. It's not real big and the waitresses know me and they are real friendly, and they don't disrespect me," customer Geronimo Claudio said.

Crawford, 83, takes ownership in the place. He and Claudio feel comfortable here, and they can talk politics till the coffee gets cold - which it never does. Melissa Johnson is one of those waitresses who knows her customers well.

"People I work with become my family and so do my customers. It's kind of hard to walk away from that. It's kind of like something is dying. Yeah, it is hard to take," Johnson said.

The Kings-X name has been around a long time in Wichita. The name was created in 1938 when A. J. King bought the local White Castle restaurants and changed the name to Kings-X. Today, Kings-X is owned by Jack Davidson, who also owns two Jimmie's Diners.

"We're just a neighborhood restaurant and they seem to be going away. Some of them have been coming in for 44 years and others eat with us on a daily basis so it's a sad occasion," Davidson said. "These folks are members of our family. As you noticed walking around here this morning, the waitresses know each person and have the food and coffee on the table when they see them coming. They treat them like they are members of the family."

Next Sunday, Nov. 25 will be the last day of Kings-X at 21st and Amidon. After that there will be no more coffee, no more political discussions and no more Kings-X in Wichita.

While there will be no more Kings-X, Davidson says he is looking for a west side location to put in another Jimmie's Diner. That portion of the corner of 21st and Amidon where the Kings-X stood for decades will soon be the home of a new CVS Pharmacy.

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