News and notes from around town:
• Maybe a Jayhog is what we needed to get us over the top in Monday’s big game. No, a Jayhog isn’t a Jeff Withey with an extra 100 pounds, although that would be a sight to see. And no, it is not the name people called me while I was standing at the snack table at the Final Four party, although that would have been kinder.
Instead, the Jayhog is the latest entrant into Lawrence’s burger wars. Stock up on your cholesterol medicine and get ready for Burgers by Bigg’s, a new hamburger joint that will open in the former Smashburger location just east of Sixth and Wakarusa. The Jayhog — half ground beef and half ground bacon — will be one of the featured menu items at the new location.
Doug Holiday, owner of Bigg’s BBQ at 2429 Iowa, also will be the operator of Burgers by Bigg’s. Holiday said the hamburgers on the menu at Bigg’s have been a hit, and he’s been looking for an opportunity to get more visibility in growing northwest Lawrence.
The new restaurant will have quick-serve, counter-service type of format. Mainly due to size constraints of the facility, the restaurant won’t offer the full menu of barbecue items found at Bigg’s South Iowa Street location. But Holiday said the restaurant will offer Bigg’s pulled pork sandwich and the approximately half-dozen hamburgers that currently are on the Bigg’s menu plus a few new ones. The restaurant will grind all its own beef, and will hand cut all of its own fries, Holiday said.
In addition to the hamburgers, the restaurant also will offer a chicken sandwich, some salads, a veggie burger, malts, shakes, and beer. (Don’t get confused and shake the beer. That gets messy, and wastes beer.)
Holiday hopes to have the restaurant open by the end of this month.
• It will be almost as fun as shaking beer. The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals will be in the spotlight on Thursday night. The board is scheduled to hear an appeal related to the 12th and Haskell Recycling Center.
If you remember, city commissioners directed staff members to start taking enforcement action against the recycling center after several neighbors said the operation had become intolerable from a noise, odor and nuisance standpoint. One of the enforcement actions the city took involved citations that the business was operating outside of the city’s zoning code. The Board of Zoning Appeals will hear an appeal from the business’ owner on that issue.
As we also have reported, the business has come forward with a new plan to mitigate several of the nuisance concerns. The plan involves building a large soundwall between the site and neighbors, changing the entrance to the location, and new ways to store and process materials.
I also will be keeping my eyes open for another possible new development with the site. Multiple sources have told me that city commissioners have at least broached the subject of trying to buy the site at 12th and Haskell. (Commissioners are allowed to talk about possible property acquisitions as part of closed-door executive sessions. Commissioners did have a length executive session last week.)
But don’t read too much into this. I’ve considered buying lots of things, until my banker has laughed, or worse yet, my wife has sneered. In other words, I don’t have any insight into whether the city really will try to purchase the property.
The city, however, does have property in the neighborhood. The city’s Solid Waste Division dispatches its trucks from a lot just north of the site. The city also has its central maintenance garage and various storage buildings just north of the property. One storage building recently burned, and city officials are contemplating how and where to rebuild that facility. The 12th and Haskell site might be a possibility for something like that, but the site does have limitations. Much of the property is in the floodplain, which makes it difficult to build on under the city’s own rules.
But first will be the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. It is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
• Another week, another week’s worth of land and property sales in Douglas County. Click here to see the list of land transfers as recorded by the Douglas County Register of Deeds for the week ending March 26.