Out of gas: Two Dara’s will close

By Corene Brisendine

Sorry, but you’ll have to start looking for gas somewhere else.

The Dara’s Fast Lane locations at 2707 Anderson Ave. and at 1709 Fort Riley Blvd. will close Nov. 7, said owner Chris Darrah.

Darrah said he sublet the Anderson location from Leizsler Oil, but asked to be released from a contract that officially ends in April.

Darrah indicated that the building and pumps need serious renovation, and those costs had to be paid by the tenant. He said it was not cost effective to renovate, so he opted to close.

Allison Leiszler Bridges, executive vice president of Leiszler Oil, said the company is currently exploring “all options” for the location.

“We are looking at developing the site,” she said. “Once we figure that out, we will go through the (zoning) process with Manhattan.”

She said that decision could take six to nine months, and the store might not re-open for a year.

Darrah owns the second store on Fort Riley Blvd., but it needs renovating like the Anderson Avenue location. Instead of closing the store and selling the property, he chose to keep the Taco Casa restaurant on the property and expand it.

Darrah said he has received a lot of feedback about closing the restaurant, so he decided to close the gas station while renovating Taco Casa as a full-service restaurant.

However, Darrah said he really didn’t want to be part of the business, but prefers to be a landlord. He hired Brian Ruhl to be operating partner of Taco Casa, starting Nov. 1, and Ruhl will gradually take ownership of Taco Casa over the next few years.

Ruhl said his experience with Mexican restaurants has given him ideas on the menu. He said once construction begins, the restaurant will be closed for a couple of weeks, but he didn’t know how soon that would happen.

Ruhl said the restaurant should seat 69 diners, and the pumps will be removed to provide more parking.

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