Lawrence could now be considered the cuisine capital of Kansas.
Two popular Lawrence restaurants — Free State Brewing Company, and WheatFields Bakery and Cafe — on Friday were named among the “8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine.”
“I certainly think that Lawrence, for the city of its size, has the most diverse cuisine in the state of Kansas,” said Chuck Magerl, the managing partner for both restaurants. “Lawrence is a fun place to be in the food business, and it gives us plenty of inspiration every day.”
The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced the results Friday.
“The contest was designed to determine the most iconic restaurants in Kansas,” said Marci Penner, the foundation’s director.
Free State, 636 Mass., was the state’s first legal brewery after Prohibition and also serves a variety of ethnic recipes. WheatFields, 904 Vt., is a nationally recognized bakery that serves healthy meals featuring artisan breads.
Magerl said voters likely appreciated the authenticity of both places, from the Kansas themes and paraphernalia at Free State to the dedication to the state’s most famous crop at WheatField’s.
As she sat at Free State Friday, Carol Bradbury, an artist and designer who lives west of Topeka, said she often tries to bring friends to both places when they visit Lawrence.
“I think they give a good flavor of what Kansas really is about,” she said.
The winners were selected from among 24 finalists during online and mail-in voting from April 23 to Monday. Nearly 14,000 votes were cast, and they came from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries.
The restaurants had to be more than 10 years old and originate in Kansas. They could not be a national franchise.
A “Guide to the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine” is available online, or by calling 620-585-2374.