Archive for Friday, February 3, 2012

Town Talk: Two New York-style pizza places slated for West Lawrence; city interviewing finalists for library construction job; land transfers for the week of Jan. 30

February 3, 2012


Subscribe to the Town Talk email edition

Subscribe to the email edition of Town Talk and we'll deliver you the latest city news and notes every weekday at noon.

News and notes from around town:

• So a Lawrence snow cone maker walks into a New York pizza parlor. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but there’s no punchline here. Just a new West Lawrence restaurant that is slated to open next month.

Tad’s Pizzeria: New York Style Pizza Straight from the City is slated to open around March 1 in the former Little Caesars location at Bob Billings and Kasold Drive. The restaurant got its start — and long name — from a trip Tad Gellender made to New York City recently. Gellender is the Lawrence entrepreneur who has owned Tad’s Tropical Snow — the little snow cone shop that is open during the spring and summer near the NAPA Auto Parts Store on Iowa Street. Gellender told me he has always wanted to own a New York style pizza shop, so he went to the city to do a little a research. He said he went into one pizza shop near Wall Street and ended up loving the pizza and hitting it off with the owners who were working behind the counter. One thing led to another, and eventually the owners offered to help Gellender set up a Lawrence restaurant. What? You want to know the name of the New York restaurant? Forget about it. Gellender said not releasing the name was one of the conditions of the deal.

“They’re not really looking for people to hit them up about franchising,” Gellender said.

Gellender is having a special brick oven installed, and is learning the shop’s recipes for dough and sauces, and is making contacts with authentic New York style pizza suppliers. (Be careful if their names are Vinnie and Vito and their car stereo is always playing the theme to the Sopranos.)

The restaurant will be set up in a New York style as well. Instead of selling small, medium and large pizzas, the restaraurant will just make one size — 18 inches. And it will be called a pie. The restaurant, though, will sell pizza by the slice. What it will not do, however, is offer sit down service. There will be several bar-like tables in the restaurant, so that people can come in, order a slice and lean against something while they eat it. No word yet on whether you have to complain about how A-Rod can’t hit in the postseason, and about how the Mets are fricking awful, while you eat your pie.

The New York style pizza, of course, will be of the thin crust variety — the type that you can fold over and eat like a taco. But for folks who don’t like the thin pizza, Gellender plans to serve a Sicilian-style, thick square pizza, and also will have calazones and stromboli.

Delivery orders are expected to be a big part of the company’s business, and he hopes to tap into both the college market and the West Lawrence market with his location. Hours are slated to be 11 a.m. to midnight Sun -Tues and from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. on all other days, although the restaurant will close to in-store dining at 10 p.m. every night.

Allison Vance Moore of Lawrence's Colliers International brokered the deal for the restaurant space.

• It looks like we may be seeing a trend here. Another New York style pizza place apparently is opening at Sixth and Wakarusa near the Salty Iguana. Moringstar’s New York Pizza has filed for a drinking establishment license with Lawrence City Hall. I’ll try to get in touch with those folks and report back. I don’t have any official word on who is operating the restaurant, but it sure looks like Roger Morningstar — the former KU basketball player and the father of hoopster Brady Morningstar is involved. At least there was a job listing that directed applicatants to leave a message for a fellow named Roger. Maybe just a coincidence. I’ll let you know when I hear more.

• I don’t think it will have a New York-style pizza parlor, but Lawrence is getting a new downtown library. And the $19 million construction project is receiving a lot of interest from folks in the struggling construction industry. I also have gotten the feeling that city commissioners are hearing quite a bit from some in the community how it would be good if this building project could be as local as possible.

That’s why what is happening today will be interesting. As I reported in article today, the city is interviewing five construction firms who want to serve as the construction manager for the project. The construction manager basically will take the place of a general contractor on this project. The job will probably come with a pretty good size fee. City Manager David Corliss didn’t want to release the names of the five finalists quite yet. But I think there is a lot of interest, so I’ll tell you what I’ve heard. Only one of the five finalists is local firm. This is unconfirmed, so take it for whatever you think it is worth, but I hear the finalists are: B.A. Green Construction of Lawrence; McGown Gordon Construction of Kansas City, Mo.; Turner Construction of Kansas City, Mo.; J.E. Dunn Construction of Kansas City, Mo.; and Ferrell Construction of Topeka.

I don’t know who all applied, but I’m fairly certain at least a couple of other Lawrence contractors did. It will be interesting to see how the selection is made. But the city has set up the construction process in way that local construction firms are going to have several more opportunities to win jobs as part of the project. By going with a construction manager rather than a general contractor, there will be multiple public bids accepted on various phases of the project. That will allow smaller Lawrence companies to bid on work as it becomes available.

• Another week, another set of real estate transactions to report. Not much volume at the Douglas County Register of Deeds office for the week ending Jan. 30, but click here to see what sales did take place. One of note, it looks like a piece of commercial property in North Lawrence has changed hands. It appears the owners of Motorsport has sold the real estate that houses that business at 646 N. Second Street. The building has been purchased by Rebel Hawk, LLC, a group that appears to be led by Harry Herington — who I believe is the same Lawrence businessman who is the Chairman and CEO of NIC Inc., a fast-growing and publicly-traded information services company in suburban Kansas City.


no_thanks 6 years, 1 month ago

It would be very disappointing if a local firm, assuming they offered competitve bids, is not selected to build the library. If we are going to wrongly allocate resources for this asset that is on the verge of extinction, then we shoudl damn well use local contractors and local subs to build it.

somedude20 6 years, 1 month ago

Has anyone tried PaPa K's pie since it switched ownership? Is it better or same old crud?

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

we had a small shredder last saturday, they changed to a low fat cheese and the crust was a little different. i thought it was as good as in the past but it weighed a lot less than they used to so i think i got less value for my money. i was treated very nicely by the employees even though they did not appear to be stoners.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago


Me too - this made me think of John's Pizzeria in Greenwich Village. I hope it's similar - that's some amazing pizza!

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Ah - I miss the food there.

It's too bad it's too expensive, crowded, etc. to live there.

Bob Forer 6 years, 1 month ago

After his pizza business takes off, Gellender would be well-advised to open up an authentic New York Style Kosher deli/restaurant with real potato sald and cole slaw, authentic pastrami, roast beef, corned beef, etc, and of course, Matzoh Ball Soup. HOw bout "Ranter's on the Kaw."

Only drawback would be the lack of a sufficient number of kvetching alter cocker waiters experienced in the proper method of leaving a thumb print in a floating matzoh ball. That, my friends, takes talent.

Bob Forer 6 years, 1 month ago

After his pizza business takes off, Gellender would be well-advised to open up an authentic New York Style Kosher deli/restaurant with real potato sald and cole slaw, authentic pastrami, roast beef, corned beef, etc, and of course, Matzoh Ball Soup. HOw bout "Ranter's on the Kaw."

Only drawback would be the lack of a sufficient number of kvetching alter cocker waiters experienced in the proper method of leaving a thumb print in a floating matzoh ball. That, my friends, takes talent.

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

of course local firms are going to get the work. I know one that will be selected. It's two syllables and starts with F. Why do you think this made it on the ballot?

Lawrence is going to spend itself into oblivion by trying to prop up its seabird largest industry. There are too many alcoholic local yokel painters etc in town anyway. Let some of them go somewhere else . That group is just as bad as the bums.

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 1 month ago

I lived in New Haven, Connecticut, for a couple of years. I was fortunate enough to try the legendary Modern Apizza ( several times. Famous brick oven. Taste you can't duplicate elsewhere. Really a one-of-a-kind establishment.

In my Connecticut days I also had the chance to sample other "pies", such as a hole-in-the-wall called East Rock Pizza (today it's known as Angelo's Pizza). This place made square pizzas: every Wednesday they sold a huge, square cheese pizza for $3.99. It was unbeatable. (Other pizzas were available baked/sliced in squares, very unique!)

Both of these establishments sold pizzas in various sizes and configurations, available in single slices and as whole pies, always made to order. These establishments also sold calzones, pasta and footlong submarine sandwiches called "grinders".

All food was made fresh right there at the restaurant. Most east coast pizzerias, at least the ones I frequented, had dine-in seating, but you always waited on yourself. (Order and pick up the food at the counter, sit down in the restaurant at tables or booths to eat. There was no wait staff.) I never saw any tables without chairs that you would lean on.

Most of these establishments offered delivery, and many were open till 3am or later.

This part of Kansas needs some great pizza. I encourage Mr. Gellender to explore his options, keep an open mind, and feel free to experiment a little. I wish him the best of luck.

sassykansan 6 years, 1 month ago

I wish Tad luck, but I am still going to be going to Rudy's.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

715, Teller's, and Genovese all make excellent pizza.

But, coming from NY standards,...

Sarah St. John 6 years, 1 month ago

Good luck to all new pizza entrepreneurs!

If someone can serve up a stromboli like I used to get back east, I'll be a happy camper.

Of course no one can serve a cheesesteak like they have them in Philly, and no one should even try. :-)

The Riddler is right -- the water used in the dough has a lot to do with it.

And now I want a sub from Sack O' Subs in South Jersey..... droooooooooool.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

What's so special about the water?

gimmestrength 6 years, 1 month ago

The dead bodies in the Hudson River add a special flavor.

Matthew Herbert 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, new restaurants in Lawrence that AREN'T serving Mexican food? It's a brand new day friends!

Richard Andrade 6 years, 1 month ago

We do everything in volume here. First, 600 Italian restaurants. Then 430 Mexican restaurants. Today it was 2 pizza restaurants, but expect another 419 to open by St. Patrick's Day.

08Champs 6 years, 1 month ago

Looking forward to a traditional calzone: ricotta, mozzarella, and thinly sliced ham. I'm sticking to Johnny's for pizza until they prove me otherwise. (if you like Rudy's, then NY style might not be for you. Rudy's wouldn't beat out a DiGiorno in my house.)

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 1 month ago

I haven't tried Johnny's. Rudy's is okay, if a little bland. Their pizza is a tad too generic... for lack of a better word.

08Champs 6 years, 1 month ago

Then to Johnny's you go - italian sausage, green peppers and onion. Trust me.

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 1 month ago

I will give them a taste. Thanks for the tip!

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 1 month ago

Too bad no dine-in tables will be at the new place. Even a couple. I know the place is small though. Stand up tables are great for foot traffic in NYC, but 15th & Kasold is not NYC. I am just not sure people want to drive somewhere to stand up.

C_hertling 6 years, 1 month ago

Ooooh.... I hope Tad got the recipe from Georgio Pizzeria in NYC, it is just a block or two off Wall Street... Best Pizza I've ever eaten!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.