WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Lawrence restaurants: 15 quirky, freaky and fun food finds

This Town Talk column appeared in the Jan. 22, 2020, edition of the Journal-World's Crave food supplement. More from that section, including interviews with Lawrence restaurateurs, can be found here. I’m definitely not a restaurant critic, and I’ve found it is dangerous to be a food critic. (The things that can be done with a turkey baster when you tell the chef the bird is a bit dry ...) But writing ...

Border Bandido to close this summer, ending 50 years of business in Lawrence

For 50 years, there has been a Border Bandido on the loose in Lawrence. I can attest because it has stolen at least three notches on my belt that I’ll never get back. Of course, I’m talking about the Mexican restaurant on 23rd Street. Soon, though, it will be just a memory. The restaurant’s owner has announced it will close this summer. Owner Mark Arndt has worked at the restaurant for the last 43 years ...

New numbers show it really was the Decade of the Apartment in Lawrence; apartment construction up by more than 1,000

People are still trying to figure out what to call this decade that just ended. It wasn’t exactly the teens, it wasn’t exactly roaring and, if you take a couple of Twitter accounts out of the equation, it wasn’t exactly dirty. While not catchy, new numbers show there certainly is one title Lawrence could adopt for the time period: The Decade of the Apartment. Your eyes did not deceive you. A lot of ...

Investor group seeks shake-up of Kansas' largest electric utility; Evergy hires adviser to review options

Evergy, Kansas’ largest electric utility, has hired a financial adviser to study the company’s future after a major investment group heavily criticized the utility and said it should be sold or reorganized. Elliott Management Corporation, a New York-based investment group that owns about 11 million shares of Evergy, released a letter Tuesday calling for Evergy to either be merged with a more competent ...

A Canadian pub is coming to downtown, and it is bringing its cheese curds and gravy

A little bit of Canada is coming to downtown Lawrence. Actually, it sounds like a big Canadian is coming to the downtown scene. A Canadian-based pub called Moose McGuire’s has signed a deal to locate along Massachusetts Street, and the guy they call Moose is coming with it. “It was a nickname I had growing up,” said Dan Butler. “I’m a bit of a bigger guy.” (Yeah, I don’t know the story behind the ...

West Lawrence's Bauer Farm development nearly full as plans filed for new paint store

Plans have been filed to fill one of the last remaining retail lots in the Bauer Farm shopping center near Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. But don’t look for the vacant lot across the street from Theatre Lawrence to be another entertainment or food destination. Instead, plans call for a retail paint store to locate on the site. (Perfect. I’m too tired to paint the town red after a night at the theater, but ...

LMH expects gains if Medicaid expansion is approved, but warns it will take effort to get people to sign up

It may involve trading some pennies for dollars, but LMH Health leaders are confident Medicaid expansion in Kansas will add several million dollars to the hospital’s finances — if state lawmakers ultimately approve the expansion plan. As part of the proposal crafted by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, hospitals will pay a “surcharge” to the state for ...

Tractor Supply Co. set to get a neighbor; eastside bar closes

It can be lonely on a tractor. (Ask my prom date. No one was there to roll out the red carpet for us.) The folks at Tractor Supply Co. on the far east edge of Lawrence understand that lonely feeling. The store was built in 2010 near 23rd Street and O’Connell Road, and it was presumed that more retail development would follow. Now, construction has started on the lot next door, but it is not an exciting new ...

Lawrence-based real estate firm to renovate old retail building, move its headquarters

A 40-year-old retail building will get a major overhaul as it prepares to become the headquarters for a Lawrence real estate agency that has been in town even longer. Plans have been filed for a complete renovation of the Stone Meadows Square shopping center at Sixth Street and Lawrence Avenue, and leaders with Stephens Real Estate have confirmed their company will be moving into the center later this year. ...

Sales tax figures show city ends the year with a surplus; Lawrence City Commission may discuss using it to fund homeless shelter

It was a good — but not great — year for Lawrence sales tax collections, the year-end numbers from the state show. Now, the question is: Was it good enough that the City of Lawrence will give some extra funding to the community’s homeless shelter? After receiving its December sales tax check from the state, the figures show Lawrence received about $400,000 more in sales and use tax collections in 2019 ...

South Iowa Street car dealer plans to demolish showroom, build new one with more space for vehicles

I have automotive news that involves a wrecking ball. (No, this isn’t another story of me parking in the wrong spot at a construction site.) Rather, plans have been filed by the local Honda dealership to tear down its existing showroom along south Iowa Street to make more room for more cars. The plans are part of a major overhaul of the dealership, which was purchased by Lawrence-based Dale Willey Automotive ...

KC food truck plans to brings its grilled cheese menu to downtown restaurant; new plans for old ice cream shop

I find a good grilled cheese sandwich exhilarating. (My heart gets a jolt every time I stick a knife into the toaster to pry free my culinary creation.) OK, maybe my technique is off, but an area chef is betting that my enthusiasm for grilled cheese is widespread. An existing downtown restaurant soon will turn its menu over to grilled cheese and, just for good measure, mac and cheese too. Lucia Beer Garden ...

From scandals to big buildings, a look at the top local stories of the decade

The national scene came to Lawrence during the past decade — at least for a day. Does anybody still remember Jan. 22, 2015 — the day when President Barack Obama became the first sitting president in more than 100 years to visit Lawrence? It is OK if the day slipped your mind. That’s not the president everyone is thinking of currently, and in fairness, no one sent out a tweet to remind you. But as the ...

Top local stories of the year: Tornado, basketball scandal, school security among the biggest news of 2019

About a half-mile stood between Lawrence’s top story of the year and its top story of a generation. An early evening tornado that cut a swath through Douglas County on May 28 likely is the top local story of the year in many people’s books. The tornado injured more than a dozen people, while destroying 13 homes and damaging at least another 70. That’s already plenty big news, but if the storm’s path ...

Would it be worth spending public money to boost Lawrence's live music scene? Some in the industry want to discuss it

For some of us, boosting Lawrence’s music scene — especially this time of year — involves looking for our symphonic version of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” But these days, some local music leaders are looking to make even more noise than that. I had a chance to sit down with two of the larger music promoters in Lawrence recently, and it became clear that they hope to start a conversation ...

Missouri company betting big on Lawrence car wash market by adding two locations

In some ways, it makes sense that a business based in Columbia, Mo. is coming to Lawrence to clean our vehicles. After all, a Lawrence basketball team has been cleaning the clocks of a Columbia basketball team for decades. (Hey, if they are going to restart the basketball games, I’m going to restart the jokes.) Indeed, a Columbia-based car wash company is betting big on Lawrence these days. Club Car Wash ...

Plans filed for renovation of Lawrence's Target store; a bigger Starbucks seems like a possibility

Get ready for a big renovation at Lawrence’s SuperTarget store. Work is expected to begin next month, but what’s going to change at the south Iowa Street retailer is a bit unclear. A smaller grocery department, though, appears to be a possibility, based on plans filed with Lawrence City Hall. There are also some other signs, less concrete at the moment, that a larger Starbucks may be coming to the store. ...

New report claims Lawrence is now one of the best beer cities in America

There has been talk in some circles that Lawrence is the beer capital of Kansas. Now, there is evidence that goes beyond the fact that the pile of discarded beer bottles in your garage is roughly the size of the Statehouse dome. A national website lists Lawrence as one of the 50 best beer cities in America. The financial website SmartAsset has studied 350 cities across the U.S. to determine the “best cities ...

A big, historic building on Massachusetts Street is going on the market after 40-plus years of family ownership

If entering the J.Lynn Bridal store in downtown Lawrence causes you to feel a bit like a hustler or a shark, don’t be alarmed (although I wouldn’t recommend writing those thoughts into the wedding vows.) The building at 731 Massachusetts St. was a pool hall for almost 30 years, after all. The building and its next-door twin at 729 Massachusetts St. also have been a makeshift post office, a dry goods store, ...