Archive for Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Town Talk: Minsky’s to open in downtown Lawrence; renderings for 31st and Iowa apartments; East Lawrence coffee house up for approval

February 14, 2012, 10:30 a.m. Updated February 14, 2012, 11:00 a.m.


News and notes from around town:

• On this Valentine’s Day, the old Dean Martin phrase comes to mind: “When the moon hits your eye like a big a pizza pie, that’s amore.” Well Lawrence, beware of pepperoni in your eye. Yeah, I don’t know what I’m rambling about either, but the point is there is a pizza movement underway in Lawrence.

The longtime Kansas City pizzeria Minsky’s has filed plans at City Hall to open a restaurant in downtown Lawrence. Minsky’s is set to take over the former Pizza Hut location at 934 Mass. I’ll work on tracking down a Minsky’s representative today to get a few more details about when the restaurant plans to open and what brings them to Lawrence.

But Lawrence architect Paul Werner is overseeing conversion of the building. He has indicated the remodel shouldn’t take much time. The project is seeking city approval to change the facade of the old Pizza Hut building to give it a more traditional look, and also to add some sliding windows that would open the restaurant more to the sights and sounds of Massachusetts Street.

For those of you who haven’t been to Minsky’s, it has been operating in the Kansas City area since 1976. It looks like this will be the company’s 15th restaurant, but only its second outside the metro area. One of the Kansas City troubadours on our staff — he really does sing inordinately often during staff meetings — gave us his recommendation. He suggested the seafood pizza, which of course, led me to label him a communist. But I checked out the menu myself, and there are plenty of other choices. The restaurant offers all of the traditional toppings — some old-school traditional, like anchovies, cilantro and basil. The restaurant, though, offers a host of gourmet pizzas, including a chicken cordon bleu, a tostada-style pie, and even a Philly cheese steak version.

Here’s an idea: Maybe I’ll bring home pizza tonight instead of a dozen roses. Provide a little Dean Martin serenade. Now, that’s amore.

UPDATE: I got in touch with Kenny Kantner. He'll be a co-owner of the Lawrence Minsky's location, and he said he expects to open by late April or early May. Some of you may know Kantner. He used to work for Papa Kenos years ago before that business ran into some of its problems. (He also is a regular on a Lawrence kickball team.) When Kantner got out of that business, he went back to Kansas City but has long wanted to open up a true pizzeria in Lawrence.

Kantner said the company is excited to be back in Lawrence (it had a location in the 1980s near 23rd and Iowa), and expects a lot of Kansas City students at KU who have grown up on Minsky's to be frequent customers. For those of you who haven't had Minsky's, Kantner said it is not quite New York style, not Chicago style.

"We tell people we're Kansas City style," Kantner said. "We're not real thin crust, although we offer it, our original is something in between New York and Chicago style."

In addition, it looks like the restaurant will offer pasta and hot sandwiches. I did forget to ask Kantner whether the restaurant will offer delivery, but it looks like all the other Minsky's offer delivery.

A rendering showing the style of a 4-bedroom "cottage" planned for the Aspen Heights apartment complex near 31st and Iowa streets.

A rendering showing the style of a 4-bedroom "cottage" planned for the Aspen Heights apartment complex near 31st and Iowa streets.

A rendering of a 2-bedroom duplex proposed for the Aspen Heights apartment complex near 31st and Iowa.

A rendering of a 2-bedroom duplex proposed for the Aspen Heights apartment complex near 31st and Iowa.

A rendering showing a 3-bedroom duplex at the proposed Aspen Heights apartment complex near 31st and Iowa.

A rendering showing a 3-bedroom duplex at the proposed Aspen Heights apartment complex near 31st and Iowa.

• I’ll be a bit late with the pizza, though, dear. As we’ve previously reported, the Lawrence City Commission is meeting tonight — although it starts at an early time of 5 p.m. — to consider approving a large new apartment complex on the site of the Gaslight Mobile Home Village near 31st and Iowa streets.

As I’ve mentioned several times, this new apartment complex — about 1,000 bedrooms geared toward students — won’t be a traditional complex. Instead it will have more than 150 individual buildings that will be designed to look like traditional houses. There will be a mix of four-bedroom cottages and two- and three-bedroom duplex units.

Anyway, I’ve had some people ask me what these buildings are really going to look like. So, I found some pictures buried in a staff report. Click on the pictures to the left of this article to get a better look.

Or, come down to City Hall and spend your Valentine’s Day with us. There won’t be much amore, but there will be pizza. (If you bring it, that is.)

• Also on the menu for tonight’s commission meeting is coffee. (No, there won’t be any available — again — unless you bring it), but commissioners are set to clear the way for a new coffee shop to open in East Lawrence.

As we’ve previously reported, the folks at the Lawrence-based design-build firm Struct/Restruct are looking to open a coffee shop at 920 Del. Commissioners tonight are scheduled to approve a rezoning for the old industrial building, which is right in front of the Allen Press property, that will allow a coffee shop/art space.


Hooligan_016 5 years ago

Two things:

1) It seems all of the new restaurants opening up are Mexican food and pizza ... hope we get a bit more variety soon!

2) I am impressed with those renderings and seeing ... PORCHES! Thank goodness, it is looking like we're finally getting away from the "welcome to my garage" suburban syndrome.

asixbury 5 years ago

I agree. I really dislike having the garage the first and most prominent feature on a home.

Jimmy 5 years ago

I love the "Garagemahal" look!

Aileen Dingus 5 years ago

Hear hear. Down with snout houses!

palmettostar 5 years ago

@Chad - do you have any renderings for the apartment complex being built at 6th & Stoneridge across from the Alvadora complex? Lots of buildings was curious to know what they'll look like.

kef104 5 years ago

Did there not used to be a Minsky's in Lawrence? I think it was in Runzas' location back in the late 70's, early 80's. I remember liking it and being disappointed when it closed. Anyone else been around for a while who can fill in the gaps?

bornherelongago 5 years ago

It was where Phoggy Dog is now. Good pizza.

Kelly Anderson 5 years ago

No Minskys was located next to Plum Tree across the street from Runza. They tore down the building. Empty lot now. Spent a lot of time there during high school!! So glad they are coming back!!!!

meggers 5 years ago

I think that was Mazzio's and not Minsky's.

Scott Frazier 5 years ago

Yeah, Mazzio's was on the NE corner of 27th & Iowa. I delivered for them my freshman year @ KU.

John Davies 5 years ago

I think that the one you're thinking of across from Runza was a Mazzio's or something like that. Minsky's was where the Phoggy Dog is now! Maybe it was a franchise or something?

auntmimi210 5 years ago

I could have sworn, for awhile anyway, that Minsky's was on the north side of 23rd St, between Alabama & Louisiana. Back in the days of Mr. Steak, it seems like Minsky's was just east of there. Anyone else remember that?

Laura Wilson 5 years ago

Yes. I don't know if it moved to the Phoggy Dog area but it was most definitely in the area where the current Pizza Hut is. I ate there several times as a child in the 70s.

CharlesinCharge 5 years ago

Shakey's Pizza used to be where the current Pizza Hut is. After Shakey's it remodeled and was an independent pizza restaurant. I don't remember the name though.

bornherelongago 5 years ago

Not sure anyone else remembers this; but we had a Minsky's back in the 70's. It was where the Phoggy Dog is now. Not sure how long they were there or why they closed. Hope they do better downtown. I seem to remember that their cheeseburger pizza was my favorite back then. And Chad...will they deliver?

jhawk0097 5 years ago

Prime Cut w/ cream cheese minus the regular shredded cheese. Outstanding.

CardHawkFan 5 years ago

I think I just went broke, because all of my money just went into the Minsky's Pizza Fund. Love that place. The question will be, though, is will the expand the current location to accommodate for more customers. The Minsky's I have been to is more like a sports bar type atmosphere with TV's and such. Just wondering.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

The new apartment complex looks great, only thing it will be missing is an on-site bar. If anyone thinks this will not be a party complex, give me a call and I have a bridge to sell you...

Steven Berger 5 years ago

Minsky's was across the street from Runza, next to the old Plum tree. It went out back in 1986 and sat vacant till a few years ago when they tore down the building. Great Pizza! I welcome them back to Lawrence.

Julie Lowrance 5 years ago

I believe you are thinking of Mazzio's Pizza that was across the street from Runza.

Kelly Anderson 5 years ago

oh man I think you are right......I am showing my age.

Sheryl Wiggins 5 years ago

Mazzio's was across from Runza Minsky's was behind....Food Barn I believe. I think the Foggy Dog is there now?

Sheryl Wiggins 5 years ago

oops sorry, ksgal1971 and Jeffrey16 I was so busy trying to know something that I didn't see your responses. shutting up now.

Steven Berger 5 years ago

Oh well, that was 26 years ago and it did start with a

pizzapete 5 years ago

Minsky's in Lawrence, now that's some good news. I'm going to have to put them on the speed dial.

oldbaldguy 5 years ago

Minsky"s, very,, very good. I still miss American Pizza Company out on 6th. This good news.

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

The way this town is going I am expecting Mexican Pizza to be on the menu.

David Albertson 5 years ago

I can only hope they have taco pizza.

David Albertson 5 years ago

Let's get one thing straight. Pizza Hut SUCKS. Let's get another thing straight. Minsky's is awesome. Their buffalo wings are the best I've ever had. I can't wait.

irvan moore 5 years ago

take it from an old fat guy, minsky's is yummy

Noweigh 5 years ago

Fact: Minsky's was located where Phoggy Dog is now. Mazzio's was across the street from Runza on the northeast corner of 27th and Iowa...subsequently torn down. It may have been a "Ken's Pizza" before Mazzio's.
Minsky's closed in Lawrence for a variety of reasons, including the company reducing the overall number of stores they had in entire KC area. They used to dominate the locally owned KC area pizza market. Increasing competition stole market share. It was great pizza.

jackpot 5 years ago

Worked Next door to Minsky's in OP when they came to town in 76. Have many lbs put on because of them. They use to grow and mill and use their own foods when they started. Looking for them on day one.

somedude20 5 years ago

Never had a "Minsky's" but am open to try it as I love pizza but their name does not sound appetizing (although Minsky is a better sounding name than Menard's is)

Jayhawk_4_Life 5 years ago

Kansas City style...something between New York style and Chicago style...could you be anymore vague?

Gareth Skarka 5 years ago

Basically, they mean the bland "casserole on cardboard" crap that Midwesterners call "Pizza", despite it bearing pretty much no resemblance to the actual food of that name.

Mike Hatch 5 years ago

Minsky's and Mazzio's were both good. Miss the Mazzio's taco pizza...that was really good.

There's been a lot of pizza places come and go here over the years, hope Minsky's stay a good long time. Each time I see their commercial on TV, makes me want one RIGHT NOW (as opposed to a Fat Tire Amber Ale). That small shop over in Hillcrest (used to be Nabil's) was a pizza place too at some time...maybe a Ken's or Pizza Inn? Can't remember. And the Green Pepper/WC & Me/Valentino's...I think the Green Pepper was the first pizza place I ever ate at in Lawrence. Only time I get Valentino's now is when I head up to Omaha. Seems all their Lincoln locations are carryout-only.

MarcoPogo 5 years ago

I believe it was the Great Waldo Pepper, wasn't it?

Enlightenment 5 years ago

With the request for rezoning to allow the coffee shop on Delaware, it looks like the renovation of the Poehler building may just be the spring board for redevelopment on the east side of town.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

A neighborhood coffee shop.... hmmmm sounds cool. Kinda like the east coast.

LogicMan 5 years ago

Watch out when WVU comes to town!

lunacydetector 5 years ago

after reading all the comments regarding minsky's, it goes to show lawrence's huge transient community.

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