Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2012

Town Talk: Roger Morningstar to open New York pizza place in West Lawrence; library to introduce three finalists for director job to public; Iwig Dairy to open store on Friday

February 9, 2012


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News and notes from around town:

• What’s next, a subway? The Brooklyn Bridge? Regis Philbin wandering the streets? Probably not, but indeed Lawrence is becoming a bit more New Yorkified. We previously reported there were indications a New York-style pizza place was going to set up shop at Sixth and Wakarusa. Indeed that is the case.

Roger Morningstar — of KU basketball fame — plans to open Morningstar’s New York Style Pizza by mid to late March. It will open in a vacant space that used to be the Westside Diner. The space is right near the Salty Iguana. Morningstar’s business follows news that the downtown New York pizzeria Papa Keno’s has changed ownership and is being revitalized, and that Tad’s Pizzeria is opening in the former Little Caesars location at Bob Billings and Kasold Drive.

As for Morningstar’s place, it will be a sit down restaurant that seats about 60 inside and about 16 in an outdoor area. In addition to the thin crust, New York-style pizza — served both by the pie and the slice — the restaurant plans to also serve pasta dishes, hero sandwiches and liquor. (If I thought I was going to run into Regis Philbin, I need liquor too. Now Kelly Ripa ... )

Morningstar, who was a KU hoopster in the 1970s, said the place will have a sports theme as well. But don’t expect to see Roger’s son and member of the 2008 National Championship team Brady Morningstar making pies at the place.

“He’s still chasing the basketball dream, but the whole family will be involved to a point,” Morningstar said of Brady who is playing in the NBA development league in Tulsa. “Everybody is excited.”

Morningstar is partnering with a restaurant owner and friend who is in the pizza business in Denver.

“We had for years been talking about doing something in Lawrence, but the timing just never seemed right,” Morningstar said. “Now the timing seems right.”

• If you would rather put your face in a book than a slice of pepperoni with extra cheese, you may want to pay attention to the search for a new director of the Lawrence Public Library. The library has narrowed its search down to three finalists, and the public will get a chance to meet them.

The library has scheduled three public meetings with the finalists. Those meetings are set from 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Feb. 15, Feb. 21 and Feb. 28. The Feb. 15 meeting will be at Lawrence City Hall, while the final two will be at the library.

The library board of directors has not yet released the names of the finalists. Instead, library leaders will release a name and résumé of each finalist on the Monday before their scheduled meeting. But interim library director Mike Wildgen did confirm that there are no local candidates among the final three.

As we previously reported, the library had 30 applicants from across the country apply to take the post vacated by longtime director Bruce Flanders. Flanders oddly retired and then surprised library leaders a few days later by taking a library director position at Mid America Nazarene University.

Following the interviews of the finalists this month, the library board should be in a position to make a hire shortly. That will allow a new director to be on board while crews undertake the $19 million expansion and renovation of the library.

• While we’re on the subject of searches, I expect an announcement on a new director for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence to be made soon.

My understanding is the search committee interviewed three finalists in late January, and expects to make an announcement by mid-February. The position drew more than 40 applicants, Jana Dawson, chair of the Boys and Girls Club told me recently. The new director will replace Janet Bremby, who left when her husband Rod, took a job as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Social Services last year.

• A quick follow up on a story we previously reported on. Iwig Dairy reports that it has successfully found enough investors to open a Lawrence store that will sell its farm-fresh milk, butter, ice cream and a host of other products from area farms. The store will open on Friday morning and have a grand opening celebration all day Saturday. As we previously reported, the store will be at 19th and Massachusetts, on the southwest corner in space next to the temporary Dillons pharmacy.

In addition to the milk, butter and ice cream, the company — which operates its dairy in nearby Tecumseh — plans to sell locally produced cheese, granola, organic vegetables, and bread.

“We’re really excited to get into the Lawrence market,” said owner Tim Iwig. “This is where we really need to be. We already have a lot of faithful Lawrence buyers.”

Iwig said his company’s milk will continue to be sold in all the area grocery stores that currently handle the Iwig brand, but he said the milk will not be sold in Lawrence Dillons stores. Hours of the new store — which will be similar to a store the company operates in Topeka — will be from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.


Andini 6 years, 4 months ago

Westside Diner? Never heard of it and I drive by there daily.

Keith 6 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't it called the Westside Deli?

dsplawrence 6 years, 4 months ago


As an amatuer pizza connoisseur, I can tell you that New York has the best pizza in the world. Unless the pies are being made in a tiny, cramped, greasy pizzeria by sulry men who don't speak English and hate all the customers, then it isn't New York Pizza.

CreatureComforts 6 years, 4 months ago

I grew up in Boston so I had a lot of trips to NYC to get the real stuff...sorry, but Chicago is better by a mile.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 months ago

Chicago pizza is a casserole. Real pizza is Neopolitan style, licensed in Italy and similar to NY. Chicago stuff is tasty, just not pizza.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Come on guys, they're both great!

I grew up in NY, and love NY style pizza, but also lived in Chicago for some time, and love the spinach stuffed pizza there.

They're different, but both excellent.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

Pizza places are becoming the new Mexican restaurants. Glad I like both.

Amy Bartle 6 years, 4 months ago

There was a place called Westside Deli, not Westside Diner. It has been closed for a long time - It closed in 2006. I'm looking forward to the new Iwig store!

JackMcKee 6 years, 4 months ago

I think that used to be Westside Deli. It closed about 7 years ago.

Bud Stagg 6 years, 4 months ago

Roger would probably do better to not put his name on the joint. I have heard He does not have the best reputation in town.

JackMcKee 6 years, 4 months ago

my thoughts exactly. It better be great pizza.

somedude20 6 years, 4 months ago

can you legally call Godfathers, Pizza Hut, Little Caeser's pizza? Velveeta is not cheese

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

Woo hoo!!! Iwig store. And near my home!

garyr 6 years, 4 months ago

Please can someone tell me if the pizza place in Denver is Anthony's New York Style Pizza. Oh, how I miss that place. It's the best pizza ever. If it is, we're in for a treat!!!

JackMcKee 6 years, 4 months ago

I hope it's good.

OK, now I know what I'm getting for dinner. Johnny's pizza.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 4 months ago

Good for him. Now that he doesn't have to sit behind the bench and tell self how much his son should play despite his lousy season he will have time to make pizza.

somedude20 6 years, 4 months ago

not all that much. is a pain in the brownback to turn left out of there

Brian Hall 6 years, 4 months ago

The Iwigs don't have good parking at the store in Topeka either. I don't care. I'll still go.

Brandon Weber 6 years, 4 months ago

Bummer Iwig is only open to 6pm. For us commuters a lot of us don't get home until after 6:30pm or later.

lionsrock 6 years, 4 months ago

Morningstar must have opened one of his envelopes of cash........

focusedonfitness 6 years, 4 months ago

Westside Deli closed a long time ago. The space may be better known as Blue Plate Dinners, which had a great concept and local owners. Landlord issues forced them to close. I miss that place.

hbjayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

kujayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Brady didn't have that much talent, so it's pretty impressive he had the career he did at KU. Besides, what have you ever done that's meaningful for your alma mater or city?

785er 6 years, 4 months ago

you sound like a really bitter KU fan that didn't watch the team in the past couple of years....and haven't been following Nick Gerik's updates on Hawks in the NBA. While he's been playing well in the D-League NOT Europe, you're sitting at home mad at other people being your local kids and community and quit being a HATER!!

785er 6 years, 4 months ago

Can't say that...just a fan of basketball grandma

lionsrock 6 years, 4 months ago

When does David Freeman show up in Lawrence again?

Bob Harvey 6 years, 4 months ago

Being from Jersey this is good news. Now its time to show if you can do it. So far in town the original Johnny's and PapaK's are the closest I have found. So good to see so many non-franchise shops around. Now if they only talked Jersey we'd be happy.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 4 months ago

Good grief, does anyone in this town eat anything besides pizza, burgers/wings, or Mexican?

How about Italian, Greek, couple of chicken joints? Cubano anybody?

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