Plans filed for local butcher shop near Ninth and Iowa streets

photo by: Journal-World photo/Chad Lawhorn

The former Southern Style Beauty Supply shop is set to become the new home for Leeway Butcher later in 2018.

If you want handcrafted sausages for your cookout, you could sure try to make them. (I hear it is a great way to avoid handshakes for at least a month.) Or, you could find a butcher shop in the sausage business. It looks like Lawrence is going to get the latter.

Plans have been filed for Leeway Franks — the small restaurant that serves up what it calls handcrafted frankfurters, bratwursts and other such creations at Ninth and Iowa — to open a retail butcher shop.

K Meisel, an owner of Leeway Franks, confirmed via email that she and her partner, husband Lee Meisel, plan to open Leeway Butcher before the end of the year. But she didn’t want to share any other details at the moment. So, I don’t have a lot of firm details to provide about the type of sausage or other products the butcher shop will offer. We’ll call it secret sausage for the moment. (Actually, I’ve found that sausage is a food best enjoyed when there is still some mystery to it, if you know what I mean.)

The plans on file with City Hall, though, do provide some information. The plans definitely do call for sausage production to take place at the facility, which will be just two doors down from the Leeway Franks restaurant. The butcher shop is going into a small retail shop that previously housed Southern Style Beauty Supply. If for some reason you aren’t familiar with either Leeway Franks or Southern Style Beauty Supply, the location is just east of the bowling alley in Hillcrest Shopping Center. (If you don’t know where the hotdog place, the southern style place or the bowling alley is, you really should make a point of becoming more cultured.)

Leeway Franks

According to the plans, about two-thirds of the interior space will be used for sausage production and other behind-the-scenes butcher activities. But there will be a walk-up meat counter near the front door. It doesn’t look like the plans call for any overflow seating for the restaurant or anything like that. Plans do call for an outdoor area, but it also doesn’t appear to be part of the the restaurant. Instead, the plans show a fenced-in area just west of the butcher shop that will house a smoker and a big wood pile.

As for what the shop will sell, it is probably safe to assume that it will offer a couple of the prominent items from Leeway Franks’ menu. Those include a beef frankfurter and a bratwurst made from country-style pork sausage. No word on whether the butcher shop also will sell some of the accompaniments, like the housemade sauerkraut or the Texas red chili that is used on several of its dishes. I wouldn’t be surprised, though. The restaurant already dabbles in that sort of thing, selling “grill kits” that include raw sausages, buns and the fixings for one price.

Less clear is whether the butcher shop also will be in the beef business. Leeway Franks’ menu does include hamburgers and patty melts, so it is a possibility that the butcher shop may sell freshly ground hamburger.

Also unclear is whether the additional space will allow the business to experiment with some new offerings.

With the eat local and the farm-to-table movements, the fresh meat business has gotten a little more attention in Lawrence. As I reported late last year, the owners of a traditional Jefferson County meat market opened up a Lawrence outlet at the Orchards Shopping Center at Bob Billings and Kasold Drive. Heartland Meat Market offers sausage, but also has bacon, pork chops, ribs, roasts and a whole lot of beef, including steaks, briskets, patties and more.

Those type of meat market businesses long have surrounded Lawrence — Ottawa, De Soto and Overbrook, for example, all have fresh meat markets. Those businesses all have the advantage of having slaughter operations. That part of the business hasn’t been proposed for Lawrence. It will be interesting to see, though, how large the local butcher shop trend can become in Lawrence.


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