Archive for Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lawrence city commission approves late-night food cart in downtown

Despite reservations from nearby landlords, the food cart will be allowed to be operate at 10th and Massachusetts streets.

September 15, 2010


Now on the menu for downtown Lawrence: A late-night food cart.

City commissioners Tuesday evening unanimously looked past concerns by some downtown leaders and sided with a pair of college students who want to sell hot dogs, hamburgers and other culinary creations to downtown’s late-night bar crowd.

“This has gone on long enough,” Mayor Mike Amyx said. “We need to get you guys in the hot dog business.”

Commissioners approved the permit for the Last Stop Snack Shop to open on the southwest corner of 10th and Massachusetts streets, in front of the former Masonic Temple.

The landlord for the temple building and three restaurants in the block had sent a letter objecting to the cart, and the leader of Downtown Lawrence Inc. also balked at the idea Tuesday.

“Our concern is the combination of late-night drinking and people congregating on the sidewalks and the problems that can come out of those things,” said Jane Pennington, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc.

Jason Mandel, a Kansas University business student and co-owner of the stand, said he hopes to have the cart operating by this weekend. Its normal days of operations will be Wednesdays through Saturdays. This spring, at the request of Mandel, commissioners changed a city ordinance to allow street carts to stay open until 2:30 a.m.

Tuesday night’s meeting, though, was not a clean sweep for food sellers. The city had been asked to allow for food trucks and trailers to operate in parking spaces in downtown and other areas of the city.

City commissioners rejected that idea after staff members said they thought it could create enforcement problems. But commissioners did direct staff members to create an ordinance that would make it easier for food truck operators to locate on private property, such as parking lots of retailers.

In other city news, commissioners:

• Approved a plan for South Park to play host to a major bicycle event that is expected to attract about 2,000 participants in September 2011.

The KC MS 150 — a fundraiser for the Mid America Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society — wants to close the portion of Massachusetts Street that runs through South Park for the better part of a weekend.

Commissioners said they would consent to that if there were no other way to arrange the event, which will feature a large hospitality tent and a stage for live music. But commissioners directed staff members to look for other alternatives.

The event — which surrounds a bike ride from Johnson County to Lawrence — is set for Sept. 16-18, 2011.

• Agreed to a set of final plans for the reconstruction of Kasold Drive from Clinton Parkway to 31st Street.

The $6 million project — largely funded by the city’s new infrastructure sales tax — will include a new center turn lane, improvements to sight distances, and all new pavement.

Work could begin in March and likely would last until at least December 2011. One lane of traffic in each direction will be kept open during the construction project.


justforfun 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh God let the horray for the little guy comments start now!

monkey_c 5 years, 2 months ago

How about Hooray for person freedom, entrepeneurship and a free and open marketplace! Hooray for liberty, hooray for the right to succeed. Hooray for the right to eat a hot dog drunk at 2:30 AM on the street corner! I'm so there.

BruceWayne 5 years, 2 months ago

the "little guy" didn't get his way this time. I am shocked!

Stuart Evans 5 years, 2 months ago

completely! As if adding a hot dog to the mixture of alcohol & bravado would be the ignition switch to setting off mayhem...

whynaut 5 years, 2 months ago

Agreed. Hotdogs are a means to peaceful resolutions and camaraderie. Everbody knows that.

trailrunner 5 years, 2 months ago

I bet a few hot dogs will sober those kids up! They're grasping at straws. The other day the argument was that the food cart was stealing business. None of those restaurants stay open until 2 do they?

whats_going_on 5 years, 2 months ago

yeah...alright Jane...would you like to have those drunks standing there harmless, or driving to the nearest burger king?

repaste 5 years, 2 months ago

Heard little shot that Zebra, inside city limits, took 5 shots. Pretty good info on that one, where is pita?

BruceWayne 5 years, 2 months ago

the problem I have with the Zebra incident is this...LJW published a small article almost a week after the attack, and after numerous emails from myself and others. They ran an AP article as to not make Little angry, to make it appear like they were not "investigating" the attack. And it WAS an attack. DS Jr was not about to cross Little, period. The article that ran stated several people in the county owned the exotic animals and that no one knew "where" the attack took place. The animal was killed, and that never made the news either. Question is this, is the Little Zoo still in the county? with all the annex and rezoning, is it now in city limits? are our leaders working around the Little Zoo, annexing everything except his Little Paradise?

Stuart Evans 5 years, 2 months ago

this is a slippery slope. next thing you know, they'll allow ice cream vendors in the downtown area, then all hell breaks loose.

whats_going_on 5 years, 2 months ago

well they ARE shaped like little tiny BB pellets

blueberries 5 years, 2 months ago

“Our concern is the combination of late-night drinking and people congregating on the sidewalks and the problems that can come out of those things." People drink and congregate outside downtown as it is anyway. This hot dog cart will hardly make a difference.

It's about time we get more food carts. Street food is a way of life in many cities.

bad_dog 5 years, 2 months ago

And perhaps certain intoxicated souls might not be so likely to barf if they consume some food? As opposed to just the liquid nutrition, particularly if it's right out on the street and doesn't require dragging their inebriated rears into an establishment?

independant1 5 years, 2 months ago

City could mandate barf bags to keep things tidy.

monkey_c 5 years, 2 months ago

Hot Dog scented barf. The very best kind

blueberries 5 years, 2 months ago

Why is that a bad thing? Shouldn’t we encourage competition, new independent businesses, and choices for residents? Every other college town I’ve been to has had dozens of street carts selling food. Why all of the hate?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if Amyx would have been so eager if the guy wanted to open up a "Barber Cart" in front of HIS place of business.

kernal 5 years, 2 months ago

"or a toupee kiosk" . Good one, Bruce! LOL!

BorderRuffian 5 years, 2 months ago

Not true - it is antiqued and distressed. Never decayed. The plan is to take it down from the old Temple and use it to attractively barricade off those durned foodcarts. Those foodcarts will are nothing but a gateway to moral decay and evil, thus destroying life, liberty, and the American way. Next thing you know, Commie spies will be running the things, secretly recording the late-nite goings on on Mass street and selling it to the eastern Slobovians.

Quigly 5 years, 2 months ago

OMG that means we can have The Wiener Circle put up shop downtown? YES!!! For those who have never hear of The Wiener circle

pizzapete 5 years, 2 months ago

Yea, the Wiener Circle is awesome, especially after a night of drinking. Looking forward to the new cart, although I think they could have chosen a better location, like that park near the bank at 9th and Mass.

tolawdjk 5 years, 2 months ago

Um, okay. And that is pertinant to this discussion how?

monkey_c 5 years, 2 months ago

I like you papa keno. Love capitalism and defending yer pizza burning stoners.

drake 5 years, 2 months ago

That's exactly the reason I stopped going there too. I even complained the last time I was there and they blamed it on the guy who worked the night before not cleaning the oven.

lawrencenerd 5 years, 2 months ago

Odd, I've never once had them burn my pizza. Maybe you just look like you might have parasites so they are trying to get a little charcoal into you to help you out.

labmonkey 5 years, 2 months ago

Food carts worry me because what always gets hit during a car chase in the movies? Food carts are like fast car magnets. Pedestrians beware!!!

50YearResident 5 years, 2 months ago

Here is a potential problem not yet addressed here. Hot dog vender on the street at 200 AM will draw: Petty thiefs for stealing from the vender, people wanting a free handout, more trancients asking for money to buy a hotdog (or other illegal items) because the vender wouldn't give them a hotdog for free and the need for more police on the street to protect the vender after the first robbery. Can anyone else see some bad events happening around and near this food stand?

grammaddy 5 years, 2 months ago

Agreed! Aren't the police already downtown enforcing "closing time"?

monkey_c 5 years, 2 months ago

Fearmonger is right. Good lord. Lots of stuff could happen, does that mean no one should ever leave their house? Or should everything just be like a super-sterilized, corporate cutie cutter town? That'd be a ton of fun.

kernal 5 years, 2 months ago

Pizza drivers get robbed. Resident has made a good point. We know the folks coming out of the bars at 2:00am aren't all students from past episodes on Mass.

anonyname 5 years, 2 months ago

No matter what gets changed anywhere in this entire town, people start whining about "transients! transients!" Each time, here are the relevant questions the whiner needs to consider: 1) Do you think there were no homeless people in Lawrence prior to this change? 2) Do you think homeless elsewhere are going to hear about this and find a way to move to Lawrence as a result? 3) Most importantly, what are >you< doing to help the homeless so you won't even have to worry about such imagined problems? Are you donating to and/or volunteering at shelters? If you're not doing anything to help the homeless but still b*tching about them, shut up.

missmagoo 5 years, 2 months ago

The thing is... a hot dog stand will not attact people who were not already downtown anyways. At 2 am, I am not leaving my house and heading down to Mass St to get a hot dog and soda. There's potential for more robberies everywhere at this time of night. There are plenty of people and police out at this time of night getting the bars closed down and streets cleared.

blueberries 5 years, 2 months ago

I agree. Downtown on the weekends is VERY busy until 2:30 a.m. It's not like the people working the hot dog stand will be the only people out there.

terrapin2 5 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, cause the only people downtown at 2:00 am are crimimals and transients? Seriously? Are the bars that close at that time full of criminals and transients? This is a college town. There are all kinds of people downtown at that time of the morning. A hot dog cart will not change that. Bad events already happen sometimes. You really think adding a hot dog cart to the mix of other businesses open at that time is going to significantly change the crime rate downtown? You clearly aren't out of the house after dark so why do you care?

bad_dog 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, and the cart might get a flat tire. Hope they have a Triple A card.

Oh the humanity...

puddleglum 5 years, 2 months ago

dont forget al-queda and the possibility of nuclear holocaust! or even worse, Mizzou might win a basketball championship....well, nevermind that last one.

Gene Wallace 5 years, 2 months ago

Response time downtown is almost instantaneous. Especially at 2:00AM. You have to see it to believe it!

CHEEZIT 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner. That is what I'd truly like to beeeee. Cause if I were an Oscar Meyer Weinerrrrr, everyone would be in love with meeeee! No relevance, just all this talk about hot dog carts made me thinlk of that great commercial!!!

BigPrune 5 years, 2 months ago

I want to sell haircuts in front of Mike Amyx's barbershop.

bad_dog 5 years, 2 months ago

I want to sell attitude adjustments in front of your house ;-)

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 2 months ago

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Crazy_Larry 5 years, 2 months ago

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Crazy_Larry 5 years, 2 months ago

“Our concern is the combination of late-night drinking and people congregating on the sidewalks and the problems that can come out of those things,” said Jane Pennington

Her comment makes no sense what-so-ever! If that's the worry, then close all the bars on Mass. St.

Out of touch with reality much, Ms Pennington? Oh! Nevermind...I see who's pulling your strings. Will my comment be removed if I call her a big dummy (ala Fred Sanford).

Quigly 5 years, 2 months ago this is what will become of all of this. It will be so sweet. Like the sweet relish on my processed meat wiener dog.

John Hamm 5 years, 2 months ago

“Our concern is the combination of late-night drinking and people congregating on the sidewalks and the problems that can come out of those things,” said Jane Pennington, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. But it's okay for restaurants to block half (or more) of the sidewalk with "outside" dining areas and other businesses to block even more almost continuously after the sidewalk sale is long over. On top of that it's okay we are forced to listen to whatever raucous music some of them choose to play on their outside speakers at whatever level they wish!

missmagoo 5 years, 2 months ago

HOOOOOOOOORAY for the little guy! Congrats Mr. Mandel, and good luck with your wieners!

bopro 5 years, 2 months ago

All Doug has to do is open 50 or 60 hot dog stands in the 1000 block of Mass st. and take over the Hot Dog Industry

whynaut 5 years, 2 months ago

College student wins approval of city's elected officials to put a hotdog stand in front of one of the most imposing (albeit empty) buildings downtown, owned by one of the most powerful individuals in town.

Now that's just plain awesome. Good work dudes. Victory for local democracy.

I imagine if Compton ever decides to do anything with that Temple, he'll do what he can to make the hotdog stand go away. Which would probably be easier than moving the city bus stop like he was able to with his new project on 9th.

Of course, I doubt anything will happen with the Temple very soon, if the last 10+(?) years is any example. Seriously, how long has that thing has been empty?

Anyway, you probably don't have anything to worry about for a while wiener dudes. Best of luck!

P.S. Does anybody have a good resource that lists current of owners of downtown real estate? I'd be interested to see the make up.

whynaut 5 years, 2 months ago


also found this,

(i like how one of the search suggestions is "Bill Self")

It lists the Masonic Temple as being owned by Consolidated Properties of Lawrence, not First Management.

So I guess we have Larry Brown to blame just as much as Compton for such a neat looking building sitting empty for so long right in the middle of downtown.

Maybe blame is the wrong word. But I really do wonder why it stays empty. Anybody have any scoop as to why?

Kris_H 5 years, 2 months ago

I have no scoop on this particular building, but classic old buildings are often horrendously difficult to rehab, to bring up to modern standards in all the many ways they would have to be to have any kind of useful function today. Wiring, plumbing, accessibility issues just to name a few. Ma$$ive amounts of money.

I'm not saying that's the case with this building, because I don't know anything about it.

Joe Hyde 5 years, 2 months ago

Any chance the cart can sometimes operate down by the river bridges, especially during springtime? A lot of people don't know this, but a #8 treble hook buried inside a 1-inch long piece of hot dog is one of the best baits there is for catching channel catfish.

pizzapete 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad to see these kids get a chance to do this. I think it's going to be a hit. Wish I had the idea first. Good luck guys, I want me dog with everything, except ketchup of course.

wdl 5 years, 2 months ago

D.C. didn't lose out completely here. He got the first wienner. Mustard or Ketchup D.C.

Jaminrawk 5 years, 2 months ago

Bwahaha! Good for those guys! Nice to see the little guy win against a greedy developer.

Jaminrawk 5 years, 2 months ago

I love the "concerned" parties that were worried about the people drinking congregating on the sidewalks. Um ... would you rather them eat some food and possibly sober up OR immediately get in their cars to drive to Taco Bell or Perkins? Seems safer to have those folks eat some greasy food and sober up a little.

anomicbomb 5 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if Doug and the LJW realized how much positive free press they just gave Last Stop in the last two days. Now instead of it just being some cart that is suddenly on the street, there is enthusiasm for this as a sustained idea. Being a street food vendor lover, I find this fantastically awesome.

Good job "dead before it begins" LJW on promoting something you are transparent opposed to (or whatever initial bias phrasing you had on yesterday's article).

I also love how narrow-minded a few business owners are. Done properly, Mass street after midnight could become a robust venue for food, with a variety of affordable options developing over time that would both keep more people on Mass to eat after the bars and attract people to downtown who otherwise would not be going there. Sure, a hot dog and burger cart can't do this, but hopefully a few street vendors offering unique possibilities to the community (BBQ, thai, desserts) will emerge if this took on as an idea....that could attract an entirely new base of people who don't put drinking or music first.

If a late-night food culture was allow to flourish on Mass, traditional vendors would be in a position to gain customers, not lose them, provided what they offer is actually worth buying.

monkey_c 5 years, 2 months ago

I have just adjusted my week end plans to accomidate a late night trip to the new weiner stand, for sure.

Quigly 5 years, 2 months ago

HA! Organ grinder and the dancing monkey? That is the best idea yet. He would not have to wear a diaper because there are plenty of porta potties.

Jonathan Becker 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh, my goodness, gracious sakes alive! Jane Pennington reports eating and drinking downtown! Form a task force! Do a traffic study! Wait until Saturday when Dolph rails against these intractable problems downtown being linked to KU's leadership having a different opinion than his. This is nothing but disguised socialism and probably is the reason that there is no South Lawrence Trafficway.

Anybody know when this business is going to start up? I want to go buy a hot dog at midnight.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

“Our concern is the combination of late-night drinking and people congregating on the sidewalks and the problems that can come out of those things,” said Jane Pennington, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc."

How so?

Please elaborate. I've yet to see Jane Pennington voicing this concern at CC meetings. Meanwhile as downtown becomes consumed with more drinking establishments.

Developers asking local big government to protect their investments is a bit socialist and out of character. Hmmmmmmmm what next?

BigPrune 5 years, 2 months ago

Why doesn't the City allow Compton to remove the godawful columns in front of the mausoleum at 10th & Mass? That building has scared me since I was a little kid. The first Reuter organ built in Lawrence could be donated to Watkins museum since that is really the only significant historic thing inside. The Egyptian look design was outdated for 30 years when the building was constructed.

pace 5 years, 2 months ago

If the restaurants want they could easily apply for a permit, set up their own after hours cart and with their kitchen and staff take their share of the business.

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