Archive for Friday, June 17, 2011

Teller’s owner hopes to add Iron Chef-style competition to Lawrence Fourth of July celebration in Watson Park

Bo Stephenson, left, and Patrick Chow-Yuen are two of the three chefs competing in Teller's chef competition July 4.

Bo Stephenson, left, and Patrick Chow-Yuen are two of the three chefs competing in Teller's chef competition July 4.

June 17, 2011


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Do you plan to attend this year's Fourth of July events in Watson Park?

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Fourth of July Weekend Events

Friday, July 1

2011 Tour of Lawrence, Crown Toyota Street Sprints. For more information, go to

5:30-8 p.m.: Free Kids Zone play area, Eighth & Mass

7 p.m.: Women Open race, Eighth & New Hampshire

After women’s race: Men Open race, Eighth & New Hampshire

5:30-7 p.m., then after races until 11 p.m.: Live music, Eighth & Mass

Saturday, July 2

2011 Tour of Lawrence, KU Campus Circuit Race

8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: Various races, KU campus

Sunday, July 3

2011 Tour of Lawrence, LMH Downtown Criterium

8 a.m.-10:20 a.m.: Mass Street Mile runs, Ninth & Mass

10 a.m.: Kids Bike Race registration (race at 11 a.m.), Ninth & Mass

11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Free Kids Zone play area, Ninth & Mass

12 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: Various races, Ninth & Mass

Monday, July 4

Fourth of July Festival & Fireworks, Watson Park

Food vendors open at 2 p.m.

2-3:30 p.m.: Konza Swamp Band

4-5:30 p.m.: Billy Ebling

6-7:30 p.m.: The Brandon Miller Band

8-9:30 p.m.: Soul’d Out

9:45 p.m.: Fireworks

A group of Lawrence restaurant owners has plans to make this year’s Fourth of July celebration bigger and better than ever.

For the third year in a row, the Lawrence Originals — 21 locally owned restaurants — will help fund the fireworks display traditionally put on by the Lawrence Jaycees. The group is kicking in $7,000, a little more than half the tab for the fireworks, according to Lawrence Originals President Doug Holiday, owner of Biggs BBQ.

The display includes about 2,000 mostly 5- and 6-inch shells, which will be shot off from behind Johnny’s Tavern, north of downtown.

“I think we could have a lot bigger show out at the (Clinton) lake, but people want it here downtown,” said Gary Saathoff, head of the Jaycees.

Organizers expect between 8,000 and 10,000 people at Watson Park, double the number from 2009 and many more than last year, when rain threatened to cancel the event.

Lawrence Originals vendors will offer food and drinks starting at 2 p.m., and four bands will play leading up to the fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Children’s activities will also be available.

The centerpiece of the day could be an Iron Chef-style competition put on by Tom Wilson, the owner of Teller’s Restaurant. His three chefs will put together dishes from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests can buy a ticket for all three plates for $20 and then vote on the winner. The results will be announced after the fireworks show, kicking off an after-party.

The Teller’s event will take place in a 2,000-square-foot enclosure at the corner of Sixth and Kentucky streets featuring stadium seating for the fireworks. Admission is $10.

Wilson, who is investing $20,000 in the event, expects to serve 8,000 drinks and 1,200 plates of food.

“I’m confident that if I build it, they will come,” he said. “I think it’s fun. I think it’s a great addition to the park.”

Wilson said the entire celebration should be “bigger than Lawrence has ever seen” and he sees it growing each year.

Holiday agreed that with greater awareness of the event it should be able to draw crowds from the surrounding area and generate more revenue for downtown businesses.

“People know about it now and know what we’re doing,” he said. “A lot of smaller towns don’t even have fireworks displays now because of budget cuts. We hope to bring people to town and have a nice event.”

Wilson expects to hear Monday about final approval of permits by city officials, who he said had some concerns about the footprint the celebration might leave on the park.

Teller’s Restaurant Chef Competition: The Contestants

  • Patrick Chow-Yuen: the restaurant’s French-trained executive chef. Recently arrived from Denver, he has cooked for Princess Diana and Michael Jackson and worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Kansas City. “Hands down the most experienced chef in Lawrence,” claims Teller’s owner Tom Wilson.
  • Dave Blauer: a local who has worked at Teller’s for about six years. “He knows this town, he knows the people,” Wilson says. “He knows what they want.”
  • Bo Stephenson: the young up-and-comer, fresh out of Johnson County Community College’s culinary school and now the sous chef at Teller’s. “It’s his first competition,” says Wilson. “He’s nervous, excited, fired up.”


orangechubb 6 years, 11 months ago

Tellers is a rip off. Weak service, unfriendly employees, and overpriced crappy food.

smkscheurer 6 years, 11 months ago

Teller's is for sophisticated foodies who appreciate unique World cuisine. Fresh herbs & spices, authentic recipes, and quality can you beat that? My service has always been top-notch and I have found the servers to be knowledgeable about wine. You get what you pay for and I am willing to pay for quality.

Only_place_to_live_in_KS 6 years, 11 months ago

orangechubb, you are spot on! smkscheurer... I consider myself a foodie and if I want good Italian food, I go to Kansas City. I think that you should remove the word foodie from your post. It obviously doesn't apply to you. Teller's is for locals that may aspire to be foodies, but are unwilling to leave Lawrence and pay real money for good cuisine.

GUMnNUTS 6 years, 11 months ago

Having had the unfortunate experience of dining at the "New Tellers" I think a microwaved hotdog has a good chance to win.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

If the new owners pay their bills, that's at least one improvement over the previous owners.

pizzapete 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe he was working in a kitchen before and during his time in school?

cbales 6 years, 11 months ago

Bo's probably worked in a kitchen since he's been old enough. How do you his qualifications? To me it shows that he's a talented chef.

overthemoon 6 years, 11 months ago

Why not teams from different restaurants??

May Soo 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Teller wants all the money goes to them since they invested in it.

dogsandcats 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Tellers doesn't want to be embarrassed when they come in last place.

somebodynew 6 years, 11 months ago

"Lawrence Originals vendors will offer food and drinks starting at 2 p.m., and four bands will play leading up to the fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Children’s activities will also be available.

Guests can buy a ticket for all three plates for $20 and then vote on the winner

.....expects to serve 8,000 drinks and 1,200 plates of food."

OK, so I am old and out-of-touch, but to me this just sounds like a good 'ole drunk fest. Serving food and drinks at 2 when the show doesn't start til 10?? And then it also sounds very expensive - $10 admission to the tent so that you can then spend $20 for the chance to vote on the food (oh, and I just bet that does not include the cost of the 8,000 plus drinks).

While I appreciate the fact this group is fronting the money for the fireworks show, I don't think they are doing it just because they care. They care that they will make money off of it - and that is fine, they are business people and they should. Just don't be too pious about how they are doing it for the "community".

And where are the people who complained about all the drunk driver who were forced to be on the road when the fireworks were at Clinton???? Sounds to me like there are going to be a whole lot more of them with this set-up.

smkscheurer 6 years, 11 months ago

Sorry you are old, grouchy and out-of-touch, but I think this is a great event for the city. I plan to attend. What a perfect outing to enjoy my local park, listen to music, talk with friends, watch fireworks and eat and drink.
Thank goodness the business community is involved in creating local fun for the entire city.
If you plan to watch back-to-back re-runs on TV that day, instead of joining the fun, I'm sorry for you.

somebodynew 6 years, 11 months ago

Well, at least I can identify myself fairly well. And no,I am not watching back to back re-runs on TV that day.

stuart 6 years, 11 months ago

Actually the event is free to the public . If you care to go into the tellers tent the fee is involved. The rest of the festival is open to the public. If you care to purchase food or beverage, it is ala carte from the restaurants.

cbales 6 years, 11 months ago

I think I would pay just to go watch Bo - looks like a hottie!

equalaccessprivacy 6 years, 11 months ago

Looks like a sexist competition to me. Kansas---even Lawrence--is so backward and discriminatory in its attitudes toward women.

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

obtw..all the town attorneys will be there at the tents eye-balling all the potential clients...


Steven Berger 6 years, 11 months ago

When you graduate from Johnson County Community College with a Culinary Degree, you are an accredited Sous Chef. While going to classes, students are also working full time at a restaurant for two years that has an agreement with Johnson County Community College that the apprentice/student will work full time and be exposed to all areas of work in the kitchen. The Head Chef is also responsible for grading the apprentice on their work. Graduates of the JCCC program have at least two years full time experience and usually many more to go along with their associate’s degree.

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