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Archive for Friday, June 12, 2009

Johnny’s to open eighth location

The owners of Johnny’s Tavern, a north-of-the-river tradition since the 1950s, will convert the JB Stout’s location at Sixth and Wakarusa into Lawrence’s second Johnny’s location later this month.

June 12, 2009

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Orscheln Farm & Home is seeking to rezone its property for a new farm and home store. Enlarge video

West Lawrence, get ready for a taste of North Lawrence.

The owners of Johnny’s Tavern, a north-of-the-river tradition since the 1950s, will convert the JB Stout’s location at Sixth and Wakarusa into Lawrence’s second Johnny’s location later this month.

“This is going to be what I call a grown-up Johnny’s,” said Rick Renfro, an owner of Johnny’s. “The bathrooms will be really nice and clean here. None of the tables will be wobbly. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere. You can relive some of your college days without having to get into that college crowd.”

Renfro, who has been a partner in JB Stouts for the past several years, plans to shut down the West Lawrence sports bar and grill on June 28. He hopes to open what he’s calling Johnny’s West on July 20.

The new Johnny’s will include the same old cheeseburgers and pizza that the original Johnny’s does, but will also have a menu that features steaks, pasta and other entrees.

The new location will be the eighth for Johnny’s, with the rest being in the Kansas City area — including one that is under development in the Power & Light District.

Renfro, who bought into the business in 1978, said the newer restaurants have tapped into a trend of Kansas University alumni who wanted to relive a part of their past but couldn’t necessarily get to North Lawrence.

“I can’t tell you on an alumni weekend how many people I have that tell me they spent some of the best times of their life here,” Renfro said. “I tell them that of course they did: They weren’t married, they didn’t have a mortgage to pay, and they were drinking four nights a week.”

In other development news around the city:

• The Blue Heron is closing its downtown Lawrence furniture store after 27 years in business.

A special going-out-of-business sale is under way at the store, 921 Mass.

“It has been a good, long run, but my intuition was telling me it was time to try something new,” said owner Galen Tarman.

Furniture stores in Lawrence have been dwindling since Nebraska Furniture Mart opened in western Wyandotte County in 2003. But Tarman said the biggest change occurred several years prior to that when the Chinese became heavily involved in the furniture industry, and consumer expectations for furniture declined.

“I don’t think people anymore really ask about the construction or how a piece of furniture is made,” Tarman said. “We’ve always tried to play a game of good quality.”

Tarman leased the building at 921 Mass. He said he did not know whether a new tenant had been found.

“I am concerned about downtown,” said Tarman, who said property taxes on the building tripled in a 10-year period. “I can see the day where restaurants will take over the place.”

• Orscheln Farm & Home has filed paperwork with the city to build a new store. The store, 1541 E. 23rd St., has bought a lot immediately west of its store, and is seeking to rezone the property for a new farm and home store.

Attempts to reach an official at Orscheln’s corporate headquarters were unsuccessful, but documents at City Hall indicate the company plans to combine the two lots so that a larger, more modern store can be built on the site.

• A development group led by Serina Hearn has filed for a special-use permit to convert the large, old home at 603 Tenn. into a bed and breakfast.

Comments

igby 5 years, 6 months ago

I always wondered why the furniture there was so, well, you know, small. Lol.

Lee Eldridge 5 years, 6 months ago

Way to go Rick. I guess I haven't been to JB Stouts in a while. Didn't know they were struggling. Love their nachos.

Greg Reno 5 years, 6 months ago

While I like Johnny's, I'm actually going to miss JB Stouts. I don't mind making the trip to N. Lawrence when I crave Johnny's, I don't really need one on the west side, at the expense of another favorite restaurant of mine.

compmd 5 years, 6 months ago

"the newer restaurants have tapped into a trend of Kansas University alumni who wanted to relive a part of their past but couldn’t necessarily get to North Lawrence."

So they can get to West Lawrence, but not North Lawrence?

mae 5 years, 6 months ago

no doubt compmd!

"The new Johnny’s will include the same old cheeseburgers and pizza that the original Johnny’s does, but will also have a menu that features steaks, pasta and other entrees."

at least the writer told us about the "old" food, sounds appetizing!!

/i know johnny's does have the best hamburgers, not old

jjt 5 years, 6 months ago

Of course there will be Rugby stuff around the walls and there will be Rugby on the big screen. Folk in and around Lawrence should know how much Rick and co have done for the "Gentlemans" sport of Rugby in this town. A recent tour to New Zealand, a severe whacking of some east coast teams in Boston as well as many home wins against well funded teams from all over the states. Good luck to Rick and his teams.

GSWtotheheart 5 years, 6 months ago

love jb stouts, they had one of the best reubens in town

bangaranggerg 5 years, 6 months ago

Don't know if the name Johnny's West works, there's only room for one West in Lawrence and that's Louise's West..

Also it's sad to see the Blue Heron is going out of business, it was always a fun part of walking Mass St to go in there and look at prices and laugh to yourself, marveling at how they were able to stay in business selling trendy overpriced luxury items.

Marcus DeMond 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow! My wife and I live near Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa. We were on our way to Johnny's on Monday for their killer pizza special and we actually wished we didn't have to drive so far. Our wish came true! I hope the pizza stays the same, and I look forward to a clean men's room. With hot-ass servers and bartenders, it will be lights out for Zig & Mac.

kmat 5 years, 6 months ago

bangaranggerg says: Also it's sad to see the Blue Heron is going out of business, it was always a fun part of walking Mass St to go in there and look at prices and laugh to yourself, marveling at how they were able to stay in business selling trendy overpriced luxury items


It isn't overpriced luxury items, they sell quality furniture. If you want cheap junk you'll have to replace in 10 years or less, go to NFM. It you want to buy a couch you'll have for decades because it's built so well, you have to pay for the quality. I will miss BH because it was one of the few places you could buy these "lifetime" pieces.

MyName 5 years, 6 months ago

Well I did like the idea of having furniture from Blue Heron, but I also liked the idea of having a full wallet. I suppose that means I was not their target customer.

bangaranggerg 5 years, 6 months ago

Funny- I was just reading a study on cognitive dissonance that showed people described their wine as tasting better the more they paid for it. Spend you money however you like, obviously if they went out of business enough people somehow learned to live without $6000 coffee tables.

sherbert 5 years, 6 months ago

The smoking ban is what killed Stouts, we had a large group of friends who always hung out there, but then switched to places with patios. Too bad.

Marcy McGuffie 5 years, 6 months ago

"It you want to buy a couch you'll have for decades because it's built so well, you have to pay for the quality. I will miss BH because it was one of the few places you could buy these “lifetime” pieces."

Yeah, well I paid for "quality" from BH and my couch started falling apart when it was less than a year old. I really should've complained to BH, but I didn't. So, I guess it's on me a bit too. On the other hand, I love my table and chairs from there.

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

My financée and I went to JB Stout's three different times and were essentially refused service. We should have learned after the second time. There wasn't a fourth time.

spiff 5 years, 6 months ago

"essentially refused service"?

how wonderfully vague

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

If half the tables are empty, but they don't have one for you, tell you that the wait is 45 minutes, and won't let you sit at the bar while waiting, that's essentially refusing service without saying it.

rubberband 5 years, 6 months ago

It's entirely possible gccs14r just experienced the same lousy service we have. Never had to wait for a table, but once waited well over an hour for our meal. And all but one of us ordered salads. We assumed they were growing the lettuce or chasing a chicken around out back. Not once did the wait staff acknowledge that we were waiting, and the manager stood around at the bar a chatted. And when we complained, no apology, no offer to discount the meal. We never went back.

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

We're an early-40s white couple. No, we've never been kicked out of any establishment. Maybe it's because we weren't dressed in Burberry.

Marcy McGuffie 5 years, 6 months ago

That's a shame that some of you have had bad service at JB Stouts. I'd been there years ago and never had any issues...kinda forgot about it as a place to go, and just recently started going there again. Service is great (and I'm definitely not dressed in Burberry!). I know there is one place in town that I went to, received horrible service and refuse to go back. Maybe, I should give it another chance? These types of places seem to change "moods" with turnover and all. My only complaint with JB Stout's is that I've always thought (some of) their items are a bit overpriced. The hubby and I went there tonight and they were telling us that they were keeping many of the JB Stouts menu items.

As for those of you that are so appalled by the people who can't "get to North Lawrence," I think they were mainly referring to the Johnny's restaurants in KC...and not so much that people on the west side can't get around to going to North Lawrence.

RoeDapple 5 years, 6 months ago

Marcy, A sensible explanation for all this? Sorry, we are LJW posters. Not interested.

;-)

mjhawk75 5 years, 6 months ago

"My financée and I went to JB Stout's three different times and were essentially refused service. We should have learned after the second time. There wasn't a fourth time."

I find this hard to believe that you were essentially refused service! Although I can say Stouts has gone through a series of less than competant managers and kitchen managers (I know because I worked there for over two years and I myself was frustrated at times as a staff member) but I would be very surprised that you were refused service. Did you ever consider what may be going on in the restaurant that may have affected you recieveing a table? Have you ever worked in the restaurant industry and know what all goes into getting your food out on the table in a timely fashion? Perhaps this may be a scenario that could have been your situation. Its game day or just another fairly busy night. You walk in and see open tables, but the hosts tell you there is a wait and you may sit at the bar to wait (the bar is open seating, which is full service so you can order anything there) until your table is ready. Well why can't I sit there at that open table!? The kitchen can only cook so much food at a time and servers can only give proper service to so many tables at once. So instead of having you recieve bad service at the table and wait forever for your food, we try to space it out slightly and give the kitchen some time to catch up on tickets, thus alleveating errors, cold food, ect! There is a lot more that goes into getting the food out than one may think. Seating the entire restaurant at once so we are full to compacity in a short amount of time is not the way to do it (the expansion of our kitchen with Johnnys will also help with serving more in a shorter amount of time). I don't doubt that people have recieved less than satisfactory service at some point, but just remember a lot of factors go into a working restaurant and afterall we are all humans. Have some patience and consideration for what the employess go through and deal with everyday. It can be less pleasant sometimes and by all means if it is not to your liking tell someone because I guarentee NOW whoever you tell will care!

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