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Posts tagged with Dining

Food trucks multiplying, driving for more freedom in Lawrence

Lawrence’s food truck population has tripled this year (from one to three!), and interest in them is growing, too. In case you missed the smattering of recent mentions in the Journal-World, here’s a roundup of what’s going on with the local food truck scene.

Regulations

Journal-World city reporter Chad Lawhorn has been tracking an effort to give food trucks more freedom in town. Currently, trucks are not allowed to operate more than three hours a day in Lawrence, and locations where they’re allowed to park are restricted. Last week the City Commission discussed changing that, but no decision was made. Commissioners plan to talk about it again next week. (Read Chad’s most recent story here.)

Trucks

There are three Lawrence-based trucks on the road, that we know of:

• The Blissful Bite, specializing in healthy food made with locally grown produce, appears to have just transformed itself into the Purple Carrot. (Here’s their Facebook page, and a feature on them I wrote last year.)

• Torched Goodness relocated here from Arizona (where Smithsonian.com named them one of the country’s 20 best food trucks) this spring and specializes in gourmet creme brulee. (Here’s their Facebook page, and more on them in Town Talk.)

• SnoFlower Shaved Ice, another new truck, operated this summer at Sixth Street and Monterey Way. Now that school has started, they’re switching to events only. (Their Facebook page, and a mention in Town Talk.)

Locations

The first Kansas Food Truck Festival happened in May, drawing a handful of trucks from the area and a big crowd to east Lawrence. (See Party Pix here.)

The Warehouse Arts District, which organized that festival, has ideas about involving food trucks in redevelopment there. One executive told the City Commission that developers want to create a “food truck garden” — permanent pad sites for multiple food trucks, accompanied by an area where operators could grow their own herbs and vegetables.

Lawrence doesn't have the nightly hungry, on-foot, food-truck-fueling crowds like, say, Westport in Kansas City, Mo. For now our food trucks appear mostly at outdoor events like the farmer's market, last weekend's Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships or occasional collaborations with other businesses. Following the trucks on social media (see links above) is the best way to track them.


Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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What are the best dishes from new Lawrence restaurants? Give us your picks for future food icons

Last week, with your help, we compiled a list of the top 10 Lawrence food icons. New restaurants — no matter how awesome — didn’t really stand a chance compared to these famous longtime favorites. (Miss the story? Check it out here.)

So this week we're going to highlight some of the best dishes from Lawrence newcomers. Think catchy, yummy menu items with a shot at being our town's next-generation food icons.

Any last-minute nominations before we shore things up? Comment below. Comment on Facebook. Shout out on Twitter @saramarieshep or @lcom. Email Sara at sshepherd@ljworld.com. Again, this isn't a scientific survey or anything. But make sure to get your say in by Wednesday afternoon.

Bonus category: All this got us thinking about favorite menu items from bygone Lawrence restaurants, too (Paradise Cafe, Tin Pan Alley, Fifi's, Esquina, Molly McGee's ... the list goes on). What delicious, famous dishes do you miss the most?

715, at 715 Massachusetts St.

715, at 715 Massachusetts St. by Nick Krug

KU alumni miss doughnuts from Joe's Bakery, according to an
informal poll by the Journal-World and the KU Alumni Association.
In this file photo, students form a late-night line at the shop at
616 W. Ninth St.

KU alumni miss doughnuts from Joe's Bakery, according to an informal poll by the Journal-World and the KU Alumni Association. In this file photo, students form a late-night line at the shop at 616 W. Ninth St. by Journal-World File Photo

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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First Lawrence Restaurant Week set for Sept. 14-20

Prepare yourselves, foodies: The first Lawrence Restaurant Week is set for Sept.14 through 20 in downtown Lawrence.

Downtown Lawrence Inc. is organizing the new event and expects at least a dozen downtown restaurants to participate, said Sally Zogry, DLI director. Each restaurant — representing cuisine from Pachamama's fine-dining to Jefferson's sports bar fare — will offer a special prix fixe menu throughout the week in addition to its regular offerings. Prices for the prix fixe Restaurant Week meals will be $35 or less, depending on the restaurant. More participating restaurants, menus and reservation information will be announced later; watch for details at lawrencerestaurantweek.com.

“We have such a great food scene here,” Zogry said. “Whatever your tastes are, and whatever your budget allows, we want people to experience what we have to offer.”

Since Downtown Lawrence Inc. is organizing the event, they’re sticking with downtown restaurants this year, Zogry said. But she hopes the event will be popular enough to grow in the future.

The Lawrence event is modeled after the wildly popular Kansas City Restaurant Week. Kansas City has been doing restaurant week the last couple of years and had close to 150 restaurants participate in January.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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What are Lawrence’s most iconic menu items? Help us decide

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Since posting this blog on Friday, I’ve gotten lots more suggestions via email, Twitter, Facebook and comments (below). Following are just a few of the new additions. Anything else, foodies of Lawrence? Let me know today!

• Texas Burrito at Border Bandido • Spring roll salad at Zen Zero • Gyros at Mad Greek • Mini-cinnis from Munchers Bakery • Ricotta pancakes at Mariscos • Hot wings at Henry T’s • French toast at Miltons • Shrimp po’ boy at Terrebonne • Biscuits and gravy at Wheatfield’s • Flaming cheese at Mad Greek • Birria at Mexquisito • Biscuits and gravy at Mirth • Potato pancakes at the Roost • Lentil soup at Aladdin Cafe • Vegetarian biscuits and gravy at Aimee’s Coffeehouse


What would you put on a list of Lawrence's food wonders? The Journal-World is looking for our city’s most iconic, most delicious, most notorious, must-have, can’t-miss, original-to-us menu items (yes, we’re aware this is going to be hard to narrow down).

We’ve talked to some local foodies, chefs and restaurateurs. Now we want your input.

Below are a bunch of nominees — a mix of old standbys and potential new classics. Which of these are worthy? Which aren’t? Which other dishes should be on here? Tell us what you think.

Comment below. Comment on Facebook. Shout out on Twitter @saramarieshep or @lcom. Email Sara at sshepherd@ljworld.com. Bring food item directly to Sara at 645 New Hampshire St. (Kidding — she doesn’t accept bribes.)

• Banh Mizza at Limestone Pizza Kitchen

• Bill Self Pasta at 23rd Street Brewery

• Black Bean Quesadillas at Free State Brewing Company

• Buffalo Chicken Meatballs at Merchants

• Cheddar Ale Soup at Free State Brewing Company

• Cinnamon Rolls at Wheatfield’s

• Cream Cheese Doughnuts at Munchers

• French Dip Sandwich at Free State Brewing Company

• Gnocchi (gluten free) at Genovese

• Goober Burger at Yacht Club

• Habanero Salsa at La Parrilla

• Rock Chalk Jayhawk ice cream at Sylas and Maddy’s

• Iguana Dip at Salty Iguana

• Johnny Wilson burger at Johnny’s

• Kale Caesar Salad at Merchants

• Kansas Roll at Wa

• Mama Keno slice at Papa Keno’s

• Phad Thai at Zen Zero

• Pizza at Johnny’s Tavern

• Rabbit Ravioli at 715

• Sausage sandwich at Bigg’s

• Smoke Burger at Burger Stand

• Smoked Trout Crostini at 715

• Thukpa at Zen Zero

• Tortellini cordon blue at Basil Leaf Cafe

• Truffle Fries at Burger Stand

• Tuna Tower at Cafe Beautiful

• Turkey Cranberry Sandwich at Wheatfield’s

• Wang Burger at the Wheel

The Wang Burger at The Wagon Wheel, 507 W. 14th St.

The Wang Burger at The Wagon Wheel, 507 W. 14th St. by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Culinaria plans Final Friday food event featuring tacos, tequila cocktails

The area around the Warehouse Arts District still lacks a traditional restaurant, but a catering company located there will open for dinner Friday as part of this month's Final Friday event.

Culinaria, 512 E. Ninth St. Suite A (the old stone house behind Vintage Emporium), has been opening its event space to the public on a pop-up basis for the past year with its monthly Wine Club gatherings. This will be their first Final Friday (no art exhibit this week, but maybe next time). They plan to sell summer veggie or pork shoulder tacos — accompanied by a fresh salsa bar — and grapefruit-tequila cocktails.

Culinaria, 512 E. Ninth St. (photo courtesy of Culinaria)

Culinaria, 512 E. Ninth St. (photo courtesy of Culinaria) by Sara Shepherd

“We’re right there in the middle of the new up-and-coming arts district,” said Regan Lehman Pillar, who owns the business with her husband, Aaron PIllar. “People are always peering in our window, wondering what we are or stopping in ... we thought, ‘Hey, we should probably just go ahead and invite them in.’”

Culinaria’s Wine Club events are the third Wednesday of every month. For $35, attendees get tasting pours of six wines paired with complementary small plates. Pillar said Culinaria started the tasting events about a year ago after an expansion enabled them to make their dining area more spacious. For information on future events, follow Culinaria on Facebook, facebook.com/CulinariaKS.

Some of Culinaria's homemade salsas. (photo courtesy of Culinaria)

Some of Culinaria's homemade salsas. (photo courtesy of Culinaria) by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Magazine honors wine lists at Lawrence hotels

Two Lawrence restaurants made Wine Spectator’s 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards, the magazine announced today. Five 21, inside the Oread Hotel, and Ten, inside the Eldridge Hotel, received Awards of Excellence (the lowest of Wine Spectator’s three tiers of rankings).

The same two restaurants made Wine Spectator’s 2013 list. They are among 12 Kansas restaurants on this year’s list. The awards list will be featured in the magazine’s Aug. 31 issue, which hits newsstands July 22.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Ephemeral local ingredient du jour: the chanterelle mushroom

At some of Lawrence’s more creative restaurants, the daily specials menu is a great — if not the only — place to find dishes featuring ephemeral local ingredients. (Think about it: putting produce with unpredictable availability on a permanent menu doesn't really work.)

Right now, one of those unusual ingredients-du-jour is the chanterelle.

Restaurants are featuring the aromatic wild mushroom in dishes from pizza to sliders. Here’s a few of the entrees spotted on social media in recent days, though there's sure to be more — keep your eye on those specials boards.

At 715, fettuccine and chanterelles. At Merchants Pub & Plate, a local chanterelle and gruyere slider and linguine with local chanterelles. At Limestone Pizza, chanterelle pizza (of course). At Pachamama's, locally raised tilapia with ricotta herb tart and chanterelle herb vinaigrette.

Linguine and local chanterelles at Merchants Pub & Plate (Photo from facebook.com/MerchantsOnMass)

Linguine and local chanterelles at Merchants Pub & Plate (Photo from facebook.com/MerchantsOnMass) by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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New restaurant now serving in Sixth Street gas station

After a short-lived fried chicken joint recently closed, a new restaurant called Eats — their slogan is “real food fast” — is now serving inside the Phillips 66 Miller Mart at 3300 W. Sixth St.

Owner Anthony Cannon, a Lawrence High School grad, said he’s worked in a number of restaurants around town over the past 10 years, including WheatFields Bakery Cafe and Merchants Pub and Plate. Eats is the first restaurant he’s opened, Cannon said, and he liked the gas station’s track record — while D-Lux Southern Fried Chicken didn’t last, Biemer’s BBQ, Tortas Jalisco and Basil Leaf Cafe all found success there before expanding to bigger locations in town.

Eats is located inside the Phillips 66 Miller Mart at 3300 W. Sixth St.

Eats is located inside the Phillips 66 Miller Mart at 3300 W. Sixth St. by Sara Shepherd

The Eats menu features burgers, sandwiches, grinders, salads, pastas and a few kids items (including peanut butter and honey sandwiches). Cannon said the menu is likely to change as he determines what’s popular with customers — offerings are displayed on a chalkboard wall, which not only looks cool but should make updates convenient.

Cannon said his goal is to use fresh ingredients and that he’s chosen menu items that can be prepared in five minutes. “It’s just about doing things right every time, and doing it fast,” he said.

Just like past gas station restaurants, the dishwasher-less kitchen means everything’s served in to-go containers with plastic utensils. Eats opens at 11 a.m. daily and has been closing around 6 or 7 p.m., though Cannon said he’s hoping for more dinner business and may eventually stay open later.

I grabbed lunch there today. The kids peanut butter and honey sandwich was tempting (I’ve always loved those!), but I went grown-up instead with the Spicy Avocado BLT. It’s served with grilled jalapeno halves and sliced avocado — both excellent ideas.

The Spicy Avocado BLT at Eats.

The Spicy Avocado BLT at Eats. by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Name that oven: Soon-to-open pizza restaurant taking submissions for wood-fired ‘behemoth’

At the centerpiece of the soon-to-open Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar is a 20,000-pound, white-brick-on-the-inside, local-limestone-on-the-outside wood-fired oven that reaches 1,000 degrees and can cook a pizza in 90 seconds. This thing is a “behemoth,” Limestone says on its Facebook page, “but she’s gentle as a dove.”

And she needs a name.

Limestone, 814 Massachusetts St., is taking suggestions on its Facebook page now. They plan to choose 10 finalists then announce the winner when the restaurant opens, expected sometime in early April, executive chef and owner Rick Martin said.

The newly installed wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. (Contributed photo)

The newly installed wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. (Contributed photo) by Sara Shepherd

Not only is the massive cylindrical oven a focal point of the restaurant, it’s key to creating the Neapolitan-style pizza Limestone will specialize in. The French fire-on-hearth (wood is burned inside the chamber right next to items being cooked) oven was installed and its exterior finished by local stone artist Karl Ramberg.

When it comes to picking the perfect name, Martin said, keep in mind that “we’re making a product that’s perceived as being authentic Italian, but we want to be very Kansas.” And in Italian tradition, ovens get female names. Last but not least is the hot factor. How hot? When I stopped by this afternoon, the inside of the oven was still hot — from a fire that burned out on Saturday.

Here’s a smattering of the 80-ish name suggestions Limestone has gotten so far: Aretha ("large and in charge and hot as hell”), She-Ra, Paytah ("Sioux name meaning fire”), Bernadette ("Or Burnadette”), Glinda ("after the good witch in OZ”), Elda ("Norse for Fire Woman”), Amelia, Pearl, Betty and, of course, Bertha. To add your own suggestion, go to Limestone's Facebook page.

The wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. gets hot. (Contributed photo)

The wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. gets hot. (Contributed photo) by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Intorno closes, another restaurant may already be eyeing Round Corner spot (via Town Talk)

Intorno Italian restaurant — located in the cool, window-lined corner space at Eighth and Massachusetts streets — has closed after a year and a half.

The restaurant couldn't produce the volume of business it needed, chef and owner Jim Vaughn told my colleague Chad Lawhorn, who reported the closure in this morning’s Town Talk blog. "We just couldn't fill the seats, and the overhead was just too high," said Vaughn, who previously was part of the successful Charlie Gitto's Italian restaurant in The Hill district of St. Louis. "It is really stiff competition on Mass. Street. It seems like the staples are busy, and the other guys get to try."

Chad’s post also includes information (or at least speculation) on what might be coming to the space next: A second Coal Vines or another restaurant concept by the same owners. Coal Vines, a pizza and wine bar, opened on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza in 2010. Before Intorno, 801 Massachusetts St., was home to Esquina restaurant and the historic Round Corner Drug Store.

In closing, RIP Intorno crab cakes and peanut butter pie.

Italian fare at Intorno, 801 Massachusetts St., includes seafood dishes such as the Linguini Monte Mara and the Crab Cakes appetizer. The linguini comes with jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops and cherry tomatoes in garlic cream sauce. The Maryland crab cakes are served with dill and adobo sauces.

Italian fare at Intorno, 801 Massachusetts St., includes seafood dishes such as the Linguini Monte Mara and the Crab Cakes appetizer. The linguini comes with jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops and cherry tomatoes in garlic cream sauce. The Maryland crab cakes are served with dill and adobo sauces. by Richard Gwin

Peanut Butter Pie at Intorno, 801 Massachusetts St.

Peanut Butter Pie at Intorno, 801 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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