Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Mirth Cafe closing Monday, moving to new location downtown

February 8, 2013


Mirth Café, 745 New Hampshire St., will close next week while it moves to another downtown location, owner Ron Zahorik said Friday.

The restaurant’s kitchen was barred from operating two days ago because city officials said the ventilation system was not in compliance with city code.

The restaurant will close Monday after offering buffet-style meals and music this weekend as part of a customer-appreciation event, Zahorik said. He is in talks with the owners of the 947 New Hampshire St. building and hopes to move the Mirth into that space late next week.

“We’re doing the customer appreciation event this weekend to let people know what’s going on,” Zahorik said. “We hope they will follow us.”

The closing and the move became necessary quickly, Zahorik said, when he learned that, without a system of ventilation hoods over his cooking surfaces, he can’t cook there. Up until now, he believed he was within city code because his cooking surfaces had no open flame or gas lines.

Zahorik said Mirth Cafe will keep its normal hours this weekend, bringing in food prepared at its Tonganoxie location and at other restaurants that reached out to help.


msezdsit 5 years, 3 months ago

good luck. Hard to just pick up an move like this.

blindrabbit 5 years, 3 months ago

The building they are in now is the old Oldsmobile dealership; I think it was Hudson's (not that car) Oldsmobile/GMC trucks.. Mirth is the best breakfast in town, looking forward to their re-opening. The new (to them) location is the former Pepper Jacks who have moved to mid 900 block of Mass. St. West Side. What was the reason for Pepper Jacks moving, their new space is smaller than 947 New Hampshire.

woodscolt 5 years, 3 months ago

Mass is still a better location for them. That place they were in was more like a storage shed for their restaurant. The myrth location is better than the proposed new one. I hope the people will go the extra couple blocks.

woodscolt 5 years, 3 months ago

the myrrh has struggled since bowden owned the place. Hope they can overcome this latest fiasco, they overcame bowden.

woodscolt 5 years, 3 months ago

Oh, don't get me wrong, I like John to but he had to work really hard to keep that place floating. It was sinking when he took it over.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 3 months ago

I enjoy the Mirth Cafe- great biscuits and gravy. I wonder how many years they operated without incident without "city code ventilation"? Makes you wonder about the importance of said city code.

Randall Barnes 5 years, 3 months ago

pepper jacks moved to compete with the late night crowd on mass st. much more foot traffic.

bearclaws 5 years, 3 months ago

Luppy's did not fulfill the void of Milton's and the new owners of the Milton's remake (Red Rooster) have a poor track record.

Poor track record? I have really only been witness to good things. How can you justify your claim when this is their first real endeavor? I certainly hope The Roost can carve out a following.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

I say it is among the best breakfast places in town. Global Cafe is not too shabby.

Mirth will be missed for those few days no question about it. Is the "Red Rooster" open yet?

My guess is the Mirth will do fine at the new address whereas not all could do that.

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

There used to be a Red Rooster truck stop in Ottawa, Kansas years ago.

Gaius_Baltar 5 years, 3 months ago

So in less than a year Nader has lost three storefront tenants in that building. Maybe if he ever fixed the roof and drains...

blindrabbit 5 years, 3 months ago

LarryNative: Why PepperJacks so bad in your mind?? We all like the place, not a fancy, but food good. If the company is so bad why are they expanding the chain, company had 3-4 stores when they opened in Lawrence about 5 years ago, now about 20 locations. Also, while the sandwiches are called Philly Cheese Steaks, P:epperjacks are much better than the originals. We lived in South Philly for many years, a few blocks from Geno's and Pat's on Passyunk Avenue and Jim's on Pine Street and although those places are a "must go" attractions if in Philly, you have to deal with a rude service staff, filthy streets and have to understand the "wit or witout" terminology, and who likes Cheese Wiz anyway?.Do wish Lawrence had something like the 24 hour Melrose and Penrose Diners, also in South Philly.

true_patriot 5 years, 3 months ago

It makes me wonder if there some issue other than just safety. How is it possible this was never an issue in all the years the Mirth has been operating and the city never bothered them when the Teller's owner owned Mirth. I've been eating at that location since it was the Harvest (many iterations ago) and have never gotten sick and never heard of a major incident there.

Now, out of the blue, the situation is so dire they must cease operations almost immediately? Or is there more to the story than that.

Am hopeful the move works out for them but will miss the ambiance of the older structure compared to something as bland and blah as the old Pepperjacks location. Have been eating at restaurants in that wonderful space forever.

I wonder if another more established business interest than the current owner leaned on someone to nudge Mirth out because they want the space?

Keith 5 years, 3 months ago

I was in there for breakfast once when they had something going wrong in the kitchen and their exhaust fan filled the hallway/atrium with smoke. I wondered then how they got away with venting the kitchen to the hall.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 3 months ago

I think Larry is right. The place has been just fine for all these years, and now, all of a sudden, there is a crisis. This does not pass the smell test.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

Just because chains expand is no indication that they are a hot item. Just means the banks are still playing risky games and/or someone appears to have plenty of financial backing.

South Philly is quite different from Larryville meaning tons and tons of foot traffic from a frequent former visitors pony of few.

I say not that many new food joints will make it if not on Mass Street. Out of sight out of mind.

blindrabbit 5 years, 3 months ago

Larry: Didn't mean to imply that Pepper Jax was gourmet quality, just good for a change! Tony Luke's on Oregon Avenue is great, sometimes too busy to get in though. Speaking of broccoli raab, hard to find here, so I raise 5 different kinds in the garden. Not a advocate of gourmet all the time, need to go back to the basics once in a while. Disliked some of the Navy chow, but still prepare some of the old items for a re-connect including Navy version of SOS (ground beef in tomato sauce on toast) and better yet 4Skins on toast (chipped beef in cream gravy on toast).

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 3 months ago

Mirth is great, and the new location will be better than their present location, if you ask me.

MrLawrenceLady 5 years, 3 months ago

I seriously can't believe how long The Mirth has been open...their food is terrible. Cold, uninspired and don't forget the nasty coffee. The Roost is going to be bomb, I know the people backing that operation and they will definitively deliver. To each his own I guess, some people have low breakfast standards...

lawrencejna 5 years, 3 months ago

I love going to the Mirth. I've always enjoyed great food (especially their corn chowder) and prefer their coffee to any place else downtown. I have noticed over the last year that the dining room air occasionally becomes so thick with grease that my eyes burn, and I would leave smelling like a kitchen, so their lack of hoods was clearly becoming a problem as business increased. Nevertheless, I am a loyal customer, highly recommend them, and wish them lots of luck in their new location.

blindrabbit 5 years, 3 months ago

Good crowd in there this morning (Sunday). Food buffet was simple but good, me et too much though, now time for a nap.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

What do we have for breakfast?

  1. Global Cafe
  2. Wheatfields
  3. Mirth
  4. Red Rooster - some day
  5. The Eldridge Hotel
  6. First Watch

irvan moore 5 years, 3 months ago

did anybody ever figure out why miltons closed, it seemed to have a really big crowd for breakfast and lunch

jhawkinsf 5 years, 3 months ago

A thriving business is worth a lot of money. I can't believe they simply went out of business without trying to sell. However, if you're on a short lease and the landlord won't renew, then you have nothing to sell. There might be other explanations, but that's the one that makes the most sense to me.

P.S. I always liked Miltons but Mirth was also a favorite.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps Milton's was paid to shut down in hopes of stimulating a new venture down the street and around the corner?

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