Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Town Talk: UPDATE: 23rd Street motorists to face long-term detour beginning Thursday; Korean restaurant opens on Sixth Street; Gilchrist files for Douglas County Treasurer

May 30, 2012, 8:20 a.m. Updated May 30, 2012, 1:26 p.m.


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• How about some bulgogi or some BBB? (No, the first one is not a made-up word and the second one is not a poor attempt to abbreviate barbecue.) Both are menu items from Lawrence’s newest Korean restaurant.

O Cafe recently opened at 1530 W. Sixth St. in the strip center that includes the Subway shop at Sixth and Minnesota streets. (You know, the strip center in front of the Yacht Club. That seemed to help my wife get oriented.)

Some of you may already be familiar with many of the items on O Cafe’s menu. The restaurant is run by the Cho family, which previously operated the Campus Hideaway Korean Restaurant at 11th and Mass. about five years ago.

O Cafe manager Jay Cho said that location ended up being just a bit too hidden away, and his family has long been looking for an opportunity to get back in the Korean restaurant business in Lawrence.

The restaurant is starting out with a simple menu and adding to it as old Hideaway customers come back in and make requests for some of their old Hideaway favorites.

But something called bulgogi is a mainstay on the menu, Cho said. The restaurant offers beef, chicken and pork bulgogis. Cho told me bulgogi basically is a Korean style of marinade. In other words, it is a dish of either marinated beef, chicken or pork. Some of the marinades, I’m told, are pretty spicy, but Cho said the restaurant has made sure to include several menu items that have the heat dialed way down.

Then there is BBB. It is an abbreviation for bibimbap. My understanding is bibimbap is a dish that includes a bowl of rice, sautéed vegetables, a chili pepper paste, and is topped with either beef, chicken, pork and an egg. Mix it all up, and you have a dish that may be as fun to eat as it is to say. (But not to spell. I finally gave up and handed my notebook to Cho.)

The menu also includes fried dumplings, a few tofu dishes, and everything from beef to tuna rolls. The restaurant also has a tasty little appetizer of Korean sweet potatoes that it hands out like chips and salsa.

Cho said the restaurant has been open for less than a week, and is betting that Lawrence’s international leanings will support a Korean restaurant.

“We think it really will add to the variety of Lawrence,” Cho said. “The town really has everything else. Thai, Japanese, Chinese, but it doesn’t have a restaurant that is totally Korean.”

As for the name O Cafe, Cho said the letter O represents peace and tranquility in his culture. The restaurant makes a point to play soothing music in its dining room, and hopes people not only find good food but also find relaxation when they visit the cafe.

That’s good to know about the letter O. I have a 6-year-old daughter named Olivia, nicknamed O. Peace and tranquility are not what come to mind when I frequently yell that letter in my house.

• More news from the Douglas County Courthouse. Paula Gilchrist has filed for re-election as the Douglas County Treasurer. Gilchrist, a Lawrence Democrat, turned in her paperwork late Tuesday afternoon.

Gilchrist, so far, is the only person to file for the treasurer’s position. Candidates for all county seats up for election have until noon Friday to file their paperwork for the November general election.

• UPDATE: Shoofly, shoofly. It may become the word of the summer in Lawrence in 2012. Traffic along a portion of 23rd Street is scheduled to be shifted over to two shoofly detours on Thursday as part of work to replace the 23rd Street bridge near Haskell Indian Nations University.

In case you are not familiar with the concept of a shoofly detour, it is basically a short frontage road that takes you around a construction site. In this case, there will be two shoofly detours: one on each side of the 23rd Street bridge.

The two shoofly detours will accommodate two lanes of traffic, which is an improvement over the situation currently. For several weeks, the eastbound portion of 23rd Street has been reduced to one lane.

The speed limit on the shoofly detours will be less than the standard speed limit on 23rd Street. I once was told the speed limit on the detours likely will be 30 miles per hour, down from the standard of 45 miles per hour on 23rd Street. But I've got a call in to KDOT, which is overseeing the project, to confirm.

I also hope to get a better estimate on how much longer motorists will be dealing with the bridge project. Once upon a time, there was discussion the bridge project may be completed in September. The last I heard, however, is the project may last into December.


ksjayhawk74 5 years, 11 months ago

An Asian food restaurant that isn't Chinese buffet? Say what!?!?!

Actually I would really like to try their bibimbap, it's really good. I haven't had good Korean food since I left NYC.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Ah, NYC food - I still miss it, though I haven't lived there for over 20 years. It tends to spoil people - you just can't get the same quality elsewhere, even in other large cities, like Chicago.

If these are the same folks from 11th and Mass, this place should be pretty good, if spicy - we used to go there quite a bit.

Scott Tichenor 5 years, 11 months ago

I missed this place. Was aware a Korean restaurant was opening in this new space but didn't know if was the folks that used to be at Campus Hideaway. Their food was great, looking forward to trying out the new location.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 11 months ago

FYI, the LPD has made a bunch of money giving tickets on that bridge the last week or two, so the 30 MPH will be strictly enforced.

blindrabbit 5 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if a completed South Lawrence Trafficway would have relieved some of the pending traffic mess at 23rd. Street Bridge project. Just wait till students (Johnson County) return in August!

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

can you imagine the congestion during a KU basketball or football game if it isn't done until December??

whats_going_on 5 years, 11 months ago

omg, good point. That is going to SUCK (for those people)

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

The Chamber of Commerce run by developers messed up the traffic in Lawrence. They built the lion's share of the high tax dollar bedroom community where there was no 4 lane highway aka the wrong side of town.

That was genius.

Then they derailed the bypass for a trafficway that was obsolete day one. Can we say "pork barrel spending" ? For the industry that has inflated market values and increased taxes big time which they believe improves our quality of life.

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