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Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2003

City’s restaurant offerings expand

Steakhouse, pizza shop among latest developments

July 10, 2003

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A national franchise steakhouse, an eastside pizza shop and a karaoke bar are among the new restaurant and bar businesses entering the Lawrence market.

LongHorn Steakhouse will be one of two national restaurant chains locating in the Home Depot/Best Buy development at the northeast corner of 31st and Iowa streets, a leasing agent for the property confirmed Monday.

Christian Ablah, an agent with Classic Real Estate in Wichita, said the steakhouse had signed a deal to build on a site along Iowa Street, just north of the intersection.

"We think it is a great complement to the rest of the development," said Ablah, who said the company was attracted to the site in part because there wasn't a traditional steakhouse on South Iowa Street.

Attempts to reach officials with the Atlanta-based company were unsuccessful. According to the company's Web site, LongHorn operates 177 restaurants across the country and is on a growth strategy of adding about 20 restaurants a year. According to its online menu, the restaurant will serve a variety of steak, chicken, ribs and seafood dishes.

No timeline for the restaurant to open has been announced, although construction has begun at the site.

Ablah said he was expecting to complete a deal for the second restaurant site in the development within the next two weeks.

Other ongoing restaurant and bar developments in Lawrence include:

    Ken Humm, operator of the new Pizza Pro restaurant at 1800 E. 23rd
St., believes its nontraditional menu items, like this chicken
alfredo pie, will help it stand out among competitors. The pizza
place is just one of several new restaurants opening in Lawrence.

    Ken Humm, operator of the new Pizza Pro restaurant at 1800 E. 23rd St., believes its nontraditional menu items, like this chicken alfredo pie, will help it stand out among competitors. The pizza place is just one of several new restaurants opening in Lawrence.

  • Arkansas-based Pizza Pro opened a new store this week in the 10Marketplace shopping area at 23rd and Harper streets.

The franchise offers both a lunch and dinner pizza buffet, said Ken Humm, operator of the Lawrence store.

Pizza Pro is known for its less-than-traditional menu, including chicken alfredo pizza, southwest pizza, vegetarian pizza, and mashed potato pizza.

"It kind of tastes like a twice-baked potato," Humm said. "We think the fact that we have some different stuff will help us stand out in the market. We have maybe pushed the envelope on creativity."

In addition to the buffets, the company also offers traditional dine-in and carry-out service.

Humm said company officials were interested in Lawrence because they thought the eastern part of the city was underserved by pizza businesses. The company will offer delivery, but only in neighborhoods east of Iowa Street, Humm said.

  • Moon Bar, a new karaoke bar, opened Monday at 821 Iowa in the former Village Inn.

Employee Fabian Dharmawan said the bar was seeking to create a karaoke craze in the city. The bar has five karaoke rooms, seating from eight to 20 people each.

"This way you don't have to stand up and sing in front of the whole bar, just friends and family," Dharmawan said. "You don't have to worry about whether you are out of tune or not."

Dharmawan said karaoke bars were popular in larger cities, and predicted Moon Bar would be a success in Lawrence because college students were looking for something different.

"It is just different than every other bar in town," Dharmawan said. "We're trying to make a different scene for Lawrence."

The rooms rent for $30, which is refundable if the group spends at least $30 at the bar.

  • Lawrence bar owner Jon Davis is remodeling the former Yacht Club building at 530 Wis. Davis, who also owns Cadillac Ranch, said the old Yacht Club will house a new sports bar but details for the business were still being developed.

He said the business may keep the Yacht Club name, and would feature an expanded grill area.

l The Cup opened last month in the shopping area adjacent to the Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store, 4000 W. Sixth Street. It features frozen custard and espresso drinks.

Assistant manager Heather Olds said the business previously was called The Custard Cup and was located in the Louisiana Purchase Shopping Center at 23rd and Louisiana streets.

The business moved to take advantage of the high number of people visiting the grocery store. It added espresso to its business when it moved to diversify its offerings, she said.

"This way we feel like we have something for everyone," Olds said.

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