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Archive for Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lawrence named one of 9 best small towns for dining out

April 14, 2011

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Grab a fork, Lawrence residents. You’re living in one of the nine best small towns in America for dining out, according to a national food website.

The website The Daily Meal recently included Lawrence on its list of nine small towns where you can “find great eating where you might least expect it.” The site touts Lawrence as having everything from Central American food — it highlighted La Parrilla — to a “booming gastropub scene,” specifically calling out Dempsey’s and Free State Brewery.

“I think our restaurant scene is surprisingly adventurous for being in the middle of the country,” said Ann Dominguez, a manager at La Parrilla, 814 Mass. “We have a bit of an international feel here.”

Lawrence was one of only two cities in the middle of the country that made the list. Free State founder Chuck Magerl, who also owns and operates Wheatfields Bakery, said Lawrence’s restaurant scene has benefited from a population that is well-traveled.

“We have a lot of people who get excited about what they have seen in other places and want to bring it back here,” Magerl said. “And we still have a lot of people in Lawrence who are always willing to give it a try.”

But there also have been some significant changes in recent years in how Lawrence restaurants operate, said Steve Gaudreau, who owns Dempsey’s and the longtime Massachusetts Street staple Quinton’s. He said several Lawrence restaurants really have taken to the idea of buying local meat and produce, and also have seen the value in hiring highly trained chefs. When he opened Dempsey’s Burger Pub, 623 Vt., about a year ago, he brought in a fully trained chef who had worked for Wolfgang Puck in Beverly Hills.

“A few years ago, you just didn’t do that in Lawrence,” Gaudreau said. “But now we are going out and getting highly trained chefs, and they are the ones who are bringing in some new concepts. There are lot more items made from scratch these days, and a style that really lets the flavors speak for themselves.”

Other cities that made The Daily Meal’s list of nine were:

  • Asheville, N.C.
  • Danville, Calif.
  • Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Edgartown, Mass.
  • Ojai, Calif.
  • Burlington, Vt.
  • Evanston, Ill.
  • New Haven, Conn.

Comments

Dan Blomgren 3 years ago

Congratulations to Dempseys, Quinton's et all for helping make Lawrence a fun place to live and eat. I was surprised at no mention for Pachamama's, another outstanding restaurant. I appreciate all of your efforts.

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George_Braziller 3 years ago

I guess people have had better luck with Free State food than I have. Every single time it has either come to the table cold (when it should have been hot), burned to a crisp, or something I didn't order.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

As Sigmund above noted, Little Saigon by the nail salon on 23rd has great, freshly-prepared Vietnamese food.

Gosh, Sigmund, maybe we cross paths there all of the time without knowing it. Look around next time you are there. Your worst nightmare might be at the next table or at the counter.

Well, maybe you aren't totally hopeless after all...

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Kris Adair 3 years ago

I am trying to get out and enjoy the dinning scene. So many restaurants recently have me craving my own home cooking. Maybe I just haven't found the right one.

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beatle909 3 years ago

Just give me a New York-style deli, in Lawrence, that serves great hot pastrami sandwiches, along with a plate of authentic chopped liver.

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guesswho 3 years ago

La Parilla has been hit or miss....

Basil Leaf cafe is fantastic.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years ago

Reading this has been bizarre. People wanting a Red Lobster has been the most bizarre. Someone wanting to listen to a tuba almost equals that.

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Bingoj1 3 years ago

I wouldn't mind a good Coney Island place.

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martyks 3 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe we have a problem trying to get a Red Lobsters or K.C. Masterpiece in Lawrence. There's a 25 mile radius promise to owners so they do not have to compete with each other. Since Lawrence is just inside that from Kansas City, Kansas and Topeka, I think they run into that restriction. Again, I could be wrong about that. Still, it's nice to see that we have many more choices than we did in the 80s. There was literally no where to go back in the day.

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mutualrespect37 3 years ago

Plum and Panda compares favorably to the best I've eaten in northern California. After my first few just awful, Americanized versions of ethnic fare in the Midwest I'm very wary of trying it here at all though. Milton's is great for breakfast and mediterranean salads too

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mutualrespect37 3 years ago

Plum and Panda compares favorably to the best I've eaten in northern California. After my first few just awful, Americanized versions of ethnic fare in the Midwest I'm very wary of trying it here at all though. Milton's is great for breakfast and mediterranean salads too

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years ago

Lawrence needs a restaurant called Weed and Feed. It is known that the weed is here.

German food is quite healthy, much more than rabbit enchiladas and the fried chicken made with rice flour at the new downtown Not_so_Kentucky Fried.

Lawrence needs a German restaurant with a tuba player and an accordion player on Friday and Saturday nites. Who wants to sit at Applebees in a booth that has been squashed down by fatties who eat at Long Johns and all the mill of the road restaurants.

So some like Don Don's and some don't. Well one eye likes German food and pastries. Even with one_eye , this diner, and this writer can see if there is enough gravyy on the Schnitzel. Maybe a new hotel restaurant called Frtizels Schnitzels.

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Sigmund 3 years ago

TimW (anonymous) replies… "Is that the one that as I drive by looks like it's part of the nail salon? I miss good pho, so I'll give it a shot."

That is the one, where the Baskin and Robbins used to be.

somedude20 (anonymous) says ... "I really do not care for that Don Don on 23rd st as they charge almost $9.00 for a bowl of rice with a few meat pieces thrown on top and not enough sauce to make the rice go down."

Agreed, Don Don is terrible! A large bowl of beef Phở at Little Saigon is around $6.

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somedude20 3 years ago

I really do not care for that Don Don on 23rd st as they charge almost $9.00 for a bowl of rice with a few meat pieces thrown on top and not enough sauce to make the rice go down. I ended up using 1/4 of a bottle of shacha sauce and I paid for that the next day. I did try the place twice and had different things but they both were not good

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Sigmund 3 years ago

Check out the Phở (a Vietnamese noodle soup with beef or chicken) and the Sweet Potato and Shrimp appetizer at the Little Saigon Restaurant on 23rd Street. The soup includes rice noodles and served with Thai basil, lime, and bean sprouts. Reasonably priced, simply prepared, real good food with minimal processing and served without any pretentiousness.

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autie 3 years ago

Lawrence would have some decent places to eat if it wasn't for the looney left liberal media and the influence of Obama/Reid/Pelosi and the rest of the looney dumocrats.

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Kontum1972 3 years ago

fishheads and rice with a side of nookmam....

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

Lawrence is awfully far from oceans. The crabs would get all tuckered out before they could walk here.

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CardHawkFan 3 years ago

Seafood...We are lacking a good seafood restaurant with actual options that come from the ocean. Crab, shrimp, lobster! That's what I'm talking about!

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WhiteDog 3 years ago

Yeah, this seems at odds with the fact that when Guy Fieri wanted to come here, he was unable to find one single establishment worthy of his attention.

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somedude20 3 years ago

I believe it as Lawrence has two Applebees, a Chilies, 5-8 McD's, a buch of BK's,many Pizza the Huts, a bunch of crappy Mexican fast food places, IHOP and don't forget the wonderful Perkins. Oh, and the great CC's (I can't bring myself to write the word pizza after their name as they make Pizza The Hut taste like authentic Italian pizza) oh and Papa Johns (so so gross) Dominos and the great Spangles. Yeah Lawrence. I kid of course and I can not wait for Curry in a Hurry!!!!

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jafs 3 years ago

Although I agree Lawrence is no longer a "small town".

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TimW 3 years ago

Do I need to give La Parrilla another chance?

The wife and I have been once. I had fajitas, all the components were there (actually, no. They missed the sour cream and had the nerve to upcharge me for it) but were completely tasteless. Tasted like I had a little meat, some onions and peppers that had been quickly seared on the grill with no spices, no seasonings, nothing. Had never tasted Latin food so bland in my life. Wife had some kind of fish rice bowl and concurred with my sentiment. Maybe we just caught a bad night?

...and I realize that being from the northeast we might not do latin food right, but I've always had sour cream with my fajitas, I like it. Upcharging me $1.50 for it? That rather than the food is probably why we haven't been back.

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autie 3 years ago

Like German cusine is noteworthy anyway? So they figured something decent to do with tough cuts of meat and cabbage/potato. Done. I wouldn't brag about it too much. And oneye, I don't think taco tico and taco bell qualify as restaurants.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years ago

Warning to "blind rabbit"! You may want to get a seeing eye rabbit. Why? Because one restaurant in "downtown" Lawrence serves up rabbit enchiladas. And being a "blind rabbit' you might be served up. At least with oneeye, wilbur can see what is coming and going and in Lawrence , not much of either. Cromwell will make things happen!

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years ago

But Lawrence has a sister city in Germany and still cannot get anyone to serve up a schnitzel in Lawrence.

Even Ohio not the street has German restaurants.

These other 8 cities, do they have sister cities? Or is Lawrence the only place that has to have a sister city and that would be why? Tell one eye why a city needs a sister city? Is Lawrence a lonely child and needs a sibling?

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RuralWanderer 3 years ago

I disagree that Lawrence is a small town, but that's all relative. I was impressed with Salida, Colorado, on a recent trip there. A town of around 5,500 and probably had as many restaurants and bars than downtown Lawrence. All unique... no chains to speak of... and a big push for local ingredients, it was promoted at almost every venue.

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Tony Kisner 3 years ago

We don't even have a Red Lobster. _

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John Pultz 3 years ago

Wilbur: do you ever eat out?

mexican, mexican, mexican and chinese, and more chinese

There's clearly much more than this. Seems you don't know what you are talking about, in which case why not keep you thoughts to yourself.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years ago

Asheville is a small town? Burlington VT is a small town? and Ithaca?

What Lawrence does NOT have that some of the others do have or very close by is:

A German Restaurant.

Lawrence dining is hardly exceptional when most of it consists of mexican, mexican, mexican and chinese, and more chinese.

So how does eating at Ojai compare to dining on Mass St? Or how is the dining on Mass st compare to New Haven.

Where is the completed article written about these towns compared to each other?

Schnitzel?

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pizzapete 3 years ago

a “booming gastropub scene,” Too funny.

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blindrabbit 3 years ago

My comments still apply!!

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blindrabbit 3 years ago

Enjoy the Lawrence eateries mentioned ; but to think that Lawrence is one of the "9 best" is a sad commentary on quality throughout the U.S. Not intended to demean Larryville!!

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