Archive for Thursday, December 23, 2010

Town Talk: Famous Dave’s makes it official; new location for other BBQ restaurant; city boundaries actually shrink in 2010; the case of the one-finger salute at City Hall

December 23, 2010


News and notes from around town:

• Famous Dave’s BBQ has made it official. The barbecue chain plans to open up in the former Hereford House location at 4931 W. Sixth St. by late February or early March, a spokeswoman for the franchise company confirmed. That long has been rumored, but what is a bit of a surprise is that the restaurant will take the entire Hereford House space, which includes two levels. That means Famous Dave’s will plan to make a major splash in the catering and banquet services business in Lawrence.

“Catering is a huge portion of the Famous Dave’s world, and this will allow us to offer that service in the restaurant itself,” said Dawn Rudd, director of marketing for Concord BBQ, which will own the Lawrence restaurant, in addition to the Famous Dave’s restaurants in Manhattan, Topeka and St. Joseph, Mo.

The restaurant is a full-service barbecue joint, and it attempts to give customers a barbecue geography lesson as well. It offers St. Louis style spare ribs, Texas-style brisket, and Georgia-style smoked pork.

The restaurant is expected to employ a mix of about 70 full and part-time employees, Rudd said.

• While we’re on the subject of barbecue, there had been some question about whether Lawrence’s Gran-Daddy’s Barbecue had closed. It has not. But it has moved from its location near 19th and Haskell. The restaurant now is at 1447 W. 23rd St. in the strip center that includes Party America. It has been open for about a week at its new location.

• If you were wondering just how slow development activity has been in Lawrence, there’s a new report out of City Hall that gives an indication. For the first time in at least the last eight years, the city went a whole year without annexing any property into the city limits. In fact, the city’s boundaries actually shrunk by 2.37 acres in 2010. If you remember, a property owner just north of the TeePee Junction in North Lawrence convinced commissioners to de-annex his residential property. Here’s a look at how much land the city has added in past years:

• 2009: 490.75 acres

• 2008: 467 acres

• 2007: 539 acres

• 2006: 155 acres

• 2005: 19.15 acres

• 2004: 53.5212 acres

• 2003: 257.3 acres

• 2002: 116.3 acres

• I need to apologize for not being a very good storyteller about an odd situation that occurred recently at a City Commission meeting. I reported in Town Talk last week about an audience member who created a stir, and eventually was asked to leave the meeting by a Lawrence police officer. The situation arose from the individual feeling like he did not get a chance to speak on a previous agenda item. As I reported, the man interrupted City Manager David Corliss as he was explaining the provisions of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. When the man stopped talking, Corliss asked him if he was through, to which the individual tersely replied: “Yes, are you?” It was at that point that Vice Mayor Aron Cromwell — who was conducting the meeting since the mayor was absent — called the police officer over.

But there was a key detail that I left out simply because I didn’t see it. The individual, when he asked Corliss if he was through, also offered up — how shall we say it? — a one-finger salute to the city manager. I didn’t see the gesture because I was busy taking notes about the scene and evidently looked down at my computer screen at just the wrong time. But certainly enough people in the room have since told me it did occur.

I bring it up mainly because I have received some comments from readers suggesting the City Commission over-reacted to the situation. So, I thought it was important that those readers have the full story. Plus, when you have sat through nearly 16 years of Lawrence City Commission meetings, as I have, you want to tell any interesting story you can.

That’s not exactly the best story to end the year with, but it will have to do. Town Talk will take a break for the next week, and will return in 2011. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a safe New Year.


yankeevet 4 years ago

Famous Daves will be a success here; and any location does not matter; their food is excellent!!

geekyhost 4 years ago

I've never been impressed. I prefer the local KC-style BBQ.

Michael Stanclift 4 years ago

If you're a fan of crappy BBQ. I can think of at least a dozen places in the KC area that I'd rather have BBQ from than Daves.

geekyhost 4 years ago

Gran-Daddy's if you want to stay in Lawrence. Otherwise, Smokestack, Smokehouse, Gates, BB's Lawnside, KC Masterpiece, Jack Stack, Arthur Bryants, Hayward's Pit. Go to Topeka and there's Boss Hawg. Of those, I'd pick Gran-Daddy's and Smokestack as my personal faves.

KU_Dude 4 years ago

That's only 10 geekyhost and I'm still waiting on Marshalus's list.

phoggydrive 4 years ago

Oklahoma Joes & Danny's BBQ. There, I finished his list up to 12.

KU_Dude 4 years ago

You've really been to all 12? You must eat out a lot.

geekyhost 4 years ago

I've eaten at the ones I've listed, and I've had a few more, like Zarda's that I didn't list because I wasn't that impressed. I've even had infamous Dave's. I've lived in the KC area for a very long time, and I like BBQ.

BTW, don't tell Marshalus, but I didn't thing Vermont Street was all that. Their service was slow, and their BBQ wasn't that special. Good sweet potato fries, though.

Michael Stanclift 4 years ago

Jack Stack Rosedales The Pick Oklahoma Joes Arthur Bryants Woodyard Gates Danny Edwards LC's Smokehouse Hayward's Pit Zarda BBQ (not even that great, but still better than Daves) Vermont Street (closed, I know)

And yes, I've eaten at all of them.

geekyhost 4 years ago

No doubt. KC is way more famous for BBQ than Dave. Just sayin'.

bookemdano 4 years ago

Such an awesome column Chad. I look forward to reading it every day and always learn something I didn't know!

Belinda Rehmer 4 years ago

Chad, I totally enjoy your Town Talk, all your writing actually, and am looking forward to the new year additions! Thank you for updating the City Commission event and especially for laboring through 16 years of meetings!
Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Michael Capra 4 years ago

hey chad they own the whole center they had to go in

pace 4 years ago

Thanks so much for the information about where Gran-Daddy's is. I wish businesses weren't pound foolish about advertising, It is almost always a necessary expense, not a luxury. I love their ribs. You can get ribs cheaper but you can't get better. I also love their sauce.

geekyhost 4 years ago

Their food is amazing. I'm glad to know they're still around and in a less scary location.

Bill Lee 4 years ago

Businesses that think they can get by on word of mouth advertising are taking their customers for granted.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years ago

Their sauce? Really? To each his or her own. I like something a bit more intensely flavorful. They certainly make a good slab of ribs, IMO. I like their rub.

pace 4 years ago

Gran-Daddy's ribs are great. The service has always been good every time I have been there. I hope they have found thier spot on 23rd. Best wishes to them.

Silly_me 4 years ago

That is excellent news about Gran-Daddy's. I hope they can have a long run there. I was afraid they were gone for good.

KEITHMILES05 4 years ago

Famous Dave's in Topeka is AWFUL food! Very, very disappointed.

KEITHMILES05 4 years ago

Famous Dave's in Topeka is AWFUL food! Very, very disappointed.

KEITHMILES05 4 years ago

Famous Dave's in Topeka is AWFUL food! Very, very disappointed.

KEITHMILES05 4 years ago

Famous Dave's in Topeka is AWFUL food! Very, very disappointed.

justmememe 4 years ago

so what is it that you are trying to say....

deec 4 years ago

I think he doesn't like Famous Dave's in Topeka. But I could be misinterpreting his opinion. :)

Loretta James 4 years ago

7th street BBQ in Kansas city ks was a great place to eat dont know if its still there or not.

hipper_than_hip 4 years ago

Didn't the city annex 51 acres on Tuesday?

Chad Lawhorn 4 years ago

It doesn't become official until it is published via legal notice. That won't be until 2011. But you are correct that they did vote and approve an annexation for property northwest of the city. Chad Lawhorn Journal-World.

kessman 4 years ago

dickey's in topeka much better than any other in topeka or lawrence.

KEITHMILES05 4 years ago

Dickey's is average.

Boss Hawg's and Blackhawk BBQ is good in Topeka

bearded_gnome 4 years ago

wow Keith, you seen anybody about that stuttering problem?

I bring it up mainly because I have received some comments from readers suggesting the City Commission over-reacted to the situation. So, I thought it was important that those readers have the full story. Plus, when you have sat through nearly 16 years of Lawrence City Commission meetings, as I have, you

---that's one powerful finger right thar!

kessman 4 years ago

wow you will eat anything ,u probably like mcrib also.!

Lee Eldridge 4 years ago

I typically don't like the big chain restaurants, but I really like Famous Daves and am glad it's coming to Lawrence. The two I've eaten at (KCK and Bentonville) are very good.

Scott Morgan 4 years ago

Honestly, Is there really bad BBQ? On this day we should give thanks to the bounty of BBQ in our area. Oh, wrong day.

geekyhost 4 years ago

Yes, there is bad BBQ, just like there's bad pizza. Life is too short to get a heart attack from chain-store comfort foods. Save your cholesterol medication for the good stuff.

KS 4 years ago

I enjoy the "Town Talk" column and I especially like KC BBQ over Famous Daves, but they will no doubt do well because Lawrence doesn't have a BBQ in the corner of the town. What does it say about a place that literally is in the middle of the greatest BBQ in the country (KC) and they sell "St. Louis Spare Ribs" and "Georgia Style Pork"? Strike one!

pace 4 years ago

Kind of ironic orange, since the majority of your posts are name calling, empty of content or fact.

Sheila Hooper White 4 years ago

Thanks for the info on Grandaddy's. We really like their food. We don't care for Famous Dave's so won't be going there. I'm sure they will have their followers, just like any other restaurant. Heck we have friends that don't like place we like and vice versa. I don't think there's any reason to call people names just b/c you don't agree.

ihatelv 4 years ago

"I don't think there's any reason to call people names just b/c you don't agree."

You must be new to this forum....................

Sheila Hooper White 4 years ago

Nope. Don't comment very often b/c of the childish name calling. Sadly I know exactly how some of the commentors are. Just think people would grow up.

stuart 4 years ago

Dear CSCMC: Bigg's actually has a smoker, a big smoker. Bigg's smokes over 50 turkeys every year for the past 6 year for Lawrence Community Christmas Dinner for The First United Methodist Church. The Community Dinner feeds around 700 people in Lawrence. Bigg's has excellent food, locally owned and it seems to care about this town.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 4 years ago

It just might be that English is their second language and maybe, just maybe, they don't celebrate Christmas. Enjoy a little diversity for Christmas None2.

CHKNLTL 4 years ago

I ate Biggs once. It tasted like old Dillons deli meal without any flavor besides the salt bath it must have soaked in prior to being thawed and served. Yuck!

heybluekc 4 years ago

Biggs is average, I will never set foot in Famous Dave's and if someone has them cater an event what a shame. Beimers is really good and I sure do miss Vermont St. Love me some BBQ but frozen heated up ribs and pulled pork shipped in a plastic tub just dont do it for me. It's Yuppie BBQ and its located perfectly.

Hoots 4 years ago

I have eaten Famous Dave's and it was in one simple word "Salty" The salt overwhelmed whatever else was there to taste other than some smoke. The Olive Garden or Applebees of BBQ. Just what Americans love...the same old medium to low grade crap the Jones's always brag about. America eats and wears marketing and not quality. Why would I do chain when I have so many great homegrown options? Helping to support a local family vs. giving money to a faceless corperation should be a no brainer.

Janet Lowther 3 years, 11 months ago

I've tried Famous Dave's in Village West , and it was a definite thumbs down.

Rosedale Barbecue is the best, followed by the much more famous Arthur Bryant's.

For that matter, I'd take Buffalo Bob's over Famous Dave's any day.

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