Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Town Talk: California-style luxury lounge to open in downtown; crowd control plans to change for downtown Final Four celebration; city studying natural gas trash trucks

March 28, 2012


News and notes from around town:

• If you are social, if you are suggestive, if you have a bit of swagger, then you may well have a new club in Downtown Lawrence.

Shots — a self-described California-style luxury lounge — is in the process of opening at 10th and Massachusetts street in what used to be The Orient Vietnamese cafe.

“We really thought the essence of California needed to be brought here to Lawrence,” said Jason Nguyen, who is serving as CEO of the enterprise.

And evidently, social, suggestive and swagger are all California hallmarks. At least that is the tagline Shots is using for the club.

The club is definitely going for an upscale look in downtown. The entire Orient space has been remade. Flat screen TVs are built right into the wall and framed with rich hardwoods. The walls themselves are partially covered with a flagstone-like material, and there is granite everywhere with new tables and bars.

“We think college students want something affordable but also want something luxurious,” Nguyen said.

Food also will be part of the mix. If you remember, the city requires new drinking establishments in downtown to make a majority of their revenue from food sales, except for a handful of locations that have been grandfathered in as pure bar uses. I haven’t seen a menu yet, but Nguyen told me he has a California chef who is creating a menu that combines Asian, Mexican and American influences. For example, a Korean beef taco will be on the menu, as well as a spring roll filled with American ingredients.

In addition to being a luxury lounge, the location also will be available for private parties, Nguyen said. In fact, the business has a private party booked for Saturday, and then plans to be open to the public beginning on Sunday.

• If you are going to be at Shots or anywhere else in downtown Lawrence on Saturday night, be prepared to stay awhile.

Saturday, of course, will be the big night for the Jayhawks in the Final Four. If the Jayhawks win, there will be pandemonium in the streets, and the police department also will have a different plan for how to deal with the crowds.

Unlike last weekend, Massachusetts Street and most other side streets that cross Massachusetts won’t be open to any vehicular traffic following a KU victory.

“Frankly, we just need the space the streets provide,” Police Chief Tarik Khatib told city commissioners at a recent briefing. “There’s no way we can keep people on the sidewalks.

“But all of this does mean that if you park your car down there, you are probably staying down there for the duration. We won’t be escorting anybody out.”

Khatib said plans are for Massachusetts Street to be shut down to traffic from Sixth to 13th Street following a victory.

Khatib said Sunday’s crowds following the Elite Eight victory were a bit larger than police had expected, and they’re using the experience from 2008 to assume crowds could be huge. We reported in 2008 that about 40,000 fans — or about half of the city’s entire population — filled downtown streets after KU’s win over Memphis. An estimated 80,000 people came to downtown a few days later for a National Championship parade.

The department will be ready, Khatib said. Law enforcement officers from 10 other area agencies will be joining LPD staff in downtown. Those helping out include: the KU police department, the KU Med Center police department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the Ottawa Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, Overland Park Police Department, the Olathe Police Department, the Lenexa Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

In total, Khatib said “several hundred officers” will be available for downtown duty.

“We have gotten great support from the law enforcement community,” Khatib said. “They don’t charge us for this. They provide this service through a mutual aid type of arrangement. We provide them water and snacks, but they don’t charge us for their expenses.”

• City commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday agreed to spend about $197,000 to purchase a new diesel-fueled trash truck for the city’s fleet of vehicles that empty the commercial Dumpsters around town.

But city commissioner gave some indication that the days of purchasing diesel trash trucks may be getting a bit shorter. Commissioners really urged staff to fully investigate the feasibility of buying compressed natural gas vehicles in the future.

City Manager David Corliss said research already is underway on the topic. But he said fueling compressed natural gas vehicles continues to be a challenge. Black Hills Energy has installed a natural gas fueling station for its vehicles at its East Lawrence shop site. And as we’ve previously reported, the folks at the Lawrence-based Zarco convenience store chain have plans to install a natural gas fueling station at their Ninth and Iowa store.

But Corliss said neither of those fueling stations allow for the quick fueling of vehicles. Corliss indicated a trash truck, for example, would need to be fueled overnight using the technology currently in place at the Black Hills site. How long it would take to fuel up a normal size vehicle, I don’t know.

“We are in discussions, though, to determine if a private purveyor could make the substantial investment to provide the fast fueling option,” Corliss said. “But to make the type of investment needed, it likely will require several users of CNG.”

Corliss said he is meeting with County Administrator Craig Weinaug to talk about the CNG issue. I know when I have talked to Zarco leader Scott Zaremba in the past, he has said he would like the city, the county and KU to take a serious look at converting some of their fleets over to CNG.

City Commissioner Bob Schumm said he thinks trash trucks would be the logical place to start because they use a lot of fuel and the city’s fleet is at the point that many trucks currently need replaced.

I haven’t talked to Zaremba in awhile about his plans for a CNG station at Ninth and Iowa, but Schumm said Zaremba indicated he’s still about six months away from having anything in place.

As for cost, diesel fuel runs about $4 a gallon these days. The equivalent amount of compressed natural gas is about $1.80. City officials did ask trash truck manufacturers how much more it would cost to purchase a truck that runs on CNG instead of diesel. The bids came back about $30,000 to $40,000 higher, or about 15 percent to 20 percent more than a standard diesel trash truck.


gccs14r 6 years ago

Maybe someone should crank up a biodiesel plant at the Farmland site.

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years ago

Bummer! I like making the "drive" down Mass! Oh well! They gotta do what they gotta do I guess. But this is the first time they have shut down Mass to vehicles that I know of.. even after national championships.

gatekeeper 6 years ago

Nope, they shut it down when we won in 2008. That's how 40K people fit on Mass St.

irvan moore 6 years ago

i didn't think upscale and tv in wall went together

pizzapete 6 years ago

Well, this is KS after all. Good to hear they'll be serving tacos and pizza.

tomatogrower 6 years ago

“We really thought the essence of California needed to be brought here to Lawrence,”


Aileen Dingus 6 years ago


I've lived in California. If I thought I needed more "essence of California" I'd still be there.

Here's a thought- why doesn't someone open something that doesn't have a "theme" or a "tagline" to draw people in? How about some good food, at affordable prices, with friendly help and clean tables??

Clickker 6 years ago

Simply dont go there if you dont like the idea.

justinrunge 6 years ago

"Social" and "suggestive" are adjectives. "Swagger" is a noun. Sigh. (I know, I know, that's just me being punctilious, irritable, and gripe.)

cummingshawk 6 years ago

Definition of SWAGGER from Merriam-Webster dictionary intransitive verb 1: to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence 2: boast, brag transitive verb : to force by argument or threat : bully

Really, a noun?

justinrunge 6 years ago

From the New Oxford American Dictionary:

noun [in sing. ] a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive gait or manner : they strolled around the camp with an exaggerated swagger.

And the all-important Urban Dictionary:

How one presents him or her self to the world. Swagger is shown from how the person handles a situation. It can also be shown in the person's walk. Ryan: "Denzel Washington has swagger in all his movie rolls" Phil: "You can't forget about Al Pacino! He had swagger all over in Scarface!!!"

I'd say they're using it as a noun.

Richard Andrade 6 years ago

"California-style luxury lounge"?

Commence eye-rolling sequence.

gatekeeper 6 years ago

What you describe is L.A. Sounds like he's going for more of the uptight, yuppie feel of Irvine, Newport Beach, Laguna, etc.... in the O.C. Areas that I have family and can't stand to visit. The land where everything looks the same, everyone looks the same and all they're concerned about is their appearance and what everyone else thinks of them. It's why my husband and I live here, not out there near his family.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

sounds like the antithesis of the reason people choose to live in the Midwest. I guess they're going for the "I wish I was smart enough/cool enough/successful enough to be a CA yuppie crowd." They might get 50 people a month. I predict a concept change within 6 months.

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

One man's luxury is another man's waste of time with an automatic 15% gratuity for parties of six or more.

deec 6 years ago

Will they be ticketing revelers in the park after closing hour?

deec 6 years ago

Neither does the Occupy movement. Fail.

booyalab 6 years ago

“We really thought the essence of California needed to be brought here to Lawrence,”

That's the same thing the city of Lawrence officials said about the last proposed tax increase. (not really, but it would be funny)

RCM 6 years ago

I'm just thinking what a stroke of luck to have a brand new bar space (with all the licenses, equipment, liquor, food, etc.) ready for private party rental on the weekend KU is playing in the Final Four. That should go along way to being profitable from the very start.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

That space has been about 100 different things over the last 10 years apparently all by the same owners. What gives? Do they just have unlimited funds to open failed bars/restaurants?

Richard Andrade 6 years ago

I was thinking the same thing. Between that space and the current Queen Lizzy's space they own around the corner, it's been Oh Boy! Fried Chicken, and a vegetarian restaurant and dozens of other incarnations. If it was me, with that track record, I'd second-guess my gut on the California Luxury Lounge idea, if I were him.

John Hamm 6 years ago

Don't understand the "filling" time. Way back in the 80s some LA vehicles used Natural Gas. Our house was one they used to fill the vehicles. They'd pull up, take a meter reading, attach hose, fill and reread. Couldn't have been more than15 to 20 minutes, if that. Has the technology become that much more cumbersome?

gccs14r 6 years ago

Imagine how much larger a trash truck fuel tank is and multiply your 20 minutes accordingly. Times how many trash trucks. Especially if they need more than one tank of fuel for a day.

08Champs 6 years ago

I'll miss the Pad Thai at the Orient - it was the best in town.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

I'm not kidding, based on the history of this space and the related adjacent space (Anglers/old Orient) and it's revolving door of different restaurants you could very well see the Orient return in the near future. The Orient was the only one of these owner's concepts that actually lasted more than 2 years. I really liked the Orient's Pho. I'm sad to see it go.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

There was also the Ethiopian place, Tapas, Southern Cuisine, Oh Boy Chicken. Did I miss any?

GUMnNUTS 6 years ago

Anglers Seafood. Food was average but theyhad a killer beer list.

pace 6 years ago

The new trucks will make their extra cost back in a couple of years and save every day after that. Cleaner too.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Will everything be taxed at California rates in this new dive?

jafs 6 years ago

They'll serve anybody.

Rim shot.

RoeDapple 6 years ago

Will they be serving any of that fine pink slime?

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