Posts tagged with Merchants Pub And Plate

Just Food moving forward with Chef’s Table fundraiser

Despite the recent controversy surrounding former executive director (and now-resigned Lawrence mayor) Jeremy Farmer, a spokesperson for Just Food says the food bank is still moving forward with its upcoming Chef’s Table fundraiser.

Davis Loupe, a volunteer at Just Food at 1000 E. 11th St., stocks shelves at the food bank on Nov. 6, 2014.

Davis Loupe, a volunteer at Just Food at 1000 E. 11th St., stocks shelves at the food bank on Nov. 6, 2014.

“This dinner is important now more than ever as we serve 140 to 200 families a day,” Just Food interim director Elizabeth Keever said in an email.

The event, which is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Cider Gallery, will feature a six-course meal (with wine pairings) prepared by some of Lawrence’s most celebrated chefs.

That list includes: Rick Martin and Mike Humphrey from Limestone Pizza; T.K. Peterson of Merchants Pub and Plate; Ken Baker formerly of Pachamamas; Zach Thompson of 715; and Vaughn Good and Jay Tovar-Ballagh of Hank Charcuterie.

Tickets for the Chef’s Table event are still available as of Wednesday afternoon and cost $100 for general admission and $800 for an eight-seat table, with proceeds going toward Just Food.

For more information, including where to buy tickets, visit the Just Food website.

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Foodies can eat, drink, eat some more during the Free State Festival

The Free State Festival's Lawrence Mixology event June 23 at John Brown's Underground will feature a panel of local cocktail experts.

The Free State Festival's Lawrence Mixology event June 23 at John Brown's Underground will feature a panel of local cocktail experts.

Attendees of next week's Free State Festival should have their fill of music, art, film and ideas. And the festival's making sure all the foodies out there get their fill of food and drinks as well, with three dining-related events on this year's roster. Here's a breakdown:

Lawrence Mixology

Cocktail-crazy? Check out this rundown of the latest bartending trends from a panel of local experts from 6 to 7:15 p.m. June 23 at John Brown's Underground, 7 E. Seventh St.

"Mezcal aficionado" Adam Clary will guide participants on Oaxacan drinking culture and tradition, while 715's Katrina Weiss will discuss "history's greatest punches" and share how to create cocktails fit for hosting a large group.

Rounding out the panel is Kate Brubacher of John Brown's Underground. The festival's Lawrence Mixology description mentions her enthusiasm for "clean drinking" (think cocktails with herbs, plants, essential oils and fresh produce — much of which Brubacher grows in her own backyard), so perhaps we'll see a bit of greenery when it comes to her portion of the event.

For obvious reasons, this event is for those 21 and up. Tickets cost $25 and include "cutting-edge cocktails and nibbles."

Lawrence Eats!

Lawrence Eats!, a discussion of "food trends, food favorites and food fanaticism," is slated for 6 to 7:15 p.m. June 24 at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.

This free event invites foodies to meet some of Lawrence's greatest culinary minds, including Mel Roeder of Cafe Beautiful, Matt Hyde of 715, Jesse Bonebrake of Mariscos and Rick Martin of Limestone Pizza, and learn what they're cooking up in their kitchens.

Stella Artois Presents the Free State Festival Beer Dinner

For the hardcore foodies (or those with the deeper pockets), there's the first annual Free State Festival Beer Dinner on June 26 at Maceli's Banquet Hall and Catering, 1031 New Hampshire St. Tickets to the dinner cost $100 and include a five-course meal of beer-based recipes from local chefs and food-beer pairings by Anheuser-Busch brewmaster George Reisch.

Participating chefs include Mark Gregory of Maceli's, Nick Wysong of Ingredient/Five Bar and Tables, T.K. Peterson of Merchants Pub and Plate, Dave Nigro of Maceli's and Patrick Ryan of Port Fonda, who will respectively handle the bread, soup, salad, entree and dessert courses.

Attendees will get the chance to learn about beer-meal pairings and collect new recipes to try at home, and they'll also have a chance to win door prizes.

"Beertails" commence at 5:30 p.m., while dinner will take place between 6 and 8 p.m. Visit the festival's website for a full menu.

Tickets for Lawrence Mixology and the Free State Festival Beer Dinner can be purchased online at freestatefestival.org.

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As morels spring up, so do restaurant specials

None by 715 Restaurant

It's springtime in northeast Kansas, and for the past few weeks, the Journal-World newsroom has been abuzz with talk of a very special fungus: the morel mushroom.

Journal-World photographer and resident mushroom hunter Richard Gwin is particularly enthused, and every few days he'll show off iPhone snapshots of his most recent morel haul. You may remember this gem of a video from 2011, in which he illustrates how to track down and cook morels.

A number of restaurants in town share Richard's appreciation for the elusive (but richly flavored) mushroom, serving up a variety of morel-centric dishes while they're still plentiful along Lawrence-area river banks and hillsides.

At Merchants Pub and Plate, chef/owner T.K. Peterson has been foraging for morels for about a week now, though he estimates it'll be another week before the mushrooms start popping up on the Merchants menu. The plan is to rotate morel specials for the duration of the season, Peterson says.

Right now, he's got a few ideas: a simple pasta with shallots, wine wine, butter, garlic and maybe a bit of cream; perhaps a flatbread with fresh herbs and cheese. He's also made a jam from the mushrooms and served it with grilled meats in the past.

Rick Martin, chef-owner of Limestone Pizza, plans to offer a morel pizza topped with Gruyere cheese and cream. It was a big hit last year with customers, he says.

Last Tuesday, Genovese offered a lunch special of house-made spinach ricotta gnocchi with locally foraged morels and beef short ribs. I also saw a Facebook post from 715 on Monday advertising a dish of shiitakes and morels. Hank Charcuterie introduced a morel special of its own: sherry agave cream, poached egg, charred carrot and roasted pepitas via Facebook last Friday.

Have you tried any of these specials yet? Any I missed out on? We've still got at least a few weeks until morel season ends — when temperatures hit 80 degrees, from what Richard tells me — so I'll keep an eye on social media to see what dishes pop up at local restaurants.

A morel from one of T.K. Peterson's recent mushroom-hunting jaunts.

A morel from one of T.K. Peterson's recent mushroom-hunting jaunts. by Photo courtesy of T.K. Peterson

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Sunrise Project fundraiser draws prominent local culinary talents

Some of Lawrence's best and brightest culinary minds are coming together to raise money for the Sunrise Project.

The Lawrence organization, which garnered its nonprofit status earlier this year, aims to "provide education and community engagement around the intersection of food, the environment and social justice," according to its website.

A Chefs' Table Dinner fundraiser, scheduled for May 12 at the Lied Center Pavilion, will entail a "seasonal, locally sourced and inspired five-course menu" created by Lawrence chefs.

The roster of participating chefs includes T.K. Peterson of Merchants; Vaughn Good of Hank Charcuterie; Rick Martin of Limestone Pizza; Zach Thompson of 715; Jay Tovar-Ballagh of Hank Charcuterie and Limestone Pizza; and Ken Baker of the now-closed Pachamamas.

No details yet on what will be served, but we'll keep you updated. To receive an invitation for the meal, email info@sunriseprojectks.org.

Meanwhile, Liberty Hall is hosting a special screening of "Growing Cities," a 2013 documentary about the role of urban farming in America, at 4 p.m. Sunday as part of the Sunrise Project’s fundraising efforts.

Sunday's screening will be followed by dinner from 23rd Street Brewery, after which attendees can stick around to hear a panel discussion with leaders from the worlds of food and social justice.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the establishment of Sunrise Project and securing space at the former Sunrise Garden Center, which organizers envision as the site of a community greenhouse and educational workshops.

The garden center, located near 15th and New York streets, has been vacant since 2013.

(You may remember hearing this first from Chad Lawhorn, who chronicled the group's beginnings in his Town Talk blog last month.)

Tickets for Sunday's screening event, which cost $40, can be purchased at the Liberty Hall website or box office, 644 Massachusetts St. For more information about the group and its fundraising efforts, check out Sunrise Project's Facebook page.

Rick Martin, executive chef and owner of Limestone Pizza, is one of several local culinary professionals participating in the Chef's Table dinner, a fundraiser for Just Food slated for Aug. 27.

Rick Martin, executive chef and owner of Limestone Pizza, is one of several local culinary professionals participating in the Chef's Table dinner, a fundraiser for Just Food slated for Aug. 27. by Nick Krug

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Coming soon (very soon): Merchants Pub, new-and-improved Basil Leaf Cafe

Interior of the new Basil Leaf Cafe. Contributed photo from Basil Leaf Cafe.

Interior of the new Basil Leaf Cafe. Contributed photo from Basil Leaf Cafe. by Sara Shepherd

UPDATE (2 p.m. Tuesday): Pushed back again! A new press release from Merchants says that instead of Thursday, they'll open at 11 a.m. Saturday.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m. Monday): Merchants will open for business at 11 a.m. Thursday, according to a press release that just came in. Reservations can be made online at www.OpenTable.com or by calling the restaurant at 785-843-4111. “At Merchants you’ll find an upscale pub atmosphere featuring food inspired by the region,” co-owner Philip Wilson said in the announcement. "Our doors are open to all who wish to eat and drink well."

Merchants Pub and Plate, the new gastropub in the former Teller’s location at 746 Massachusetts St., plans to open this week. Merchants has one inspection down and two to go, according to an update today on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Merchants originally hoped to open in mid-August, but as restaurant openings are wont to do, that date got pushed back. Owners said last week they are now hoping to open Wednesday (see "UPDATE," above), as long as the final inspections go as planned.

Philip Wilson and chef TK Peterson, formerly chef at the Oread, own the new restaurant. See their latest updates at facebook.com/MerchantsOnMass, where I’m sure they’ll post the firm opening day as soon as it’s official.

Meanwhile, Basil Leaf Cafe is putting finishing touches on its new location in the old Joe’s Bakery storefront, 616 W. Ninth St.

“If we’re not open by the weekend, we’ll be open the first of next week no matter what,” owner Brad Walters told me today. Basil Leaf stopped serving in its old home, a corner of the Miller Mart convenience store on Sixth Street, last month to prepare for the move.

Walters has completely transformed the old Joe’s space — for one, knocking out the wall that once confined the public area to the doughnut counter and just enough space to walk back and forth in front of it. It’s now a cozy sit-down restaurant full of rough-hewn wooden tables, pendant lights made of wine bottles and a bar (with a liquor license). In the new, bigger restaurant, Walters plans to expand his menu offerings as well.

Basil Leaf also is posting daily updates on its Facebook page if you want to tune in, facebook.com/TheBasilLeafCafeKS.

P.S. While we’re talking restaurant musical chairs, if you’re wondering why the big yellow Blissful Bite food truck isn’t serving lunch today at 11th and Massachusetts, they — like a lot of Lawrencians soon will be no doubt — are in Winfield. Any hungry folks reading this from the Walnut Valley Festival, be advised, the Blissful Bite is on the ground now.

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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Tasting notes: More palate teasers from Merchants, craft beer dinner, free sweet tea

Here's a couple of food- and drink-tasting opportunities to be had this week in Lawrence.

Tonight

La Parrilla this week will play host to its second tasting event in the wine cellar beneath the restaurant’s new location, 724 Massachusetts St. A dinner featuring beer and food pairings is planned for 6:30 p.m. today. Leading the event is Steve Wilson of City Wine Market who has selected a lineup of American micro-brews and some European samplings. Cost is $48 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 841-1100. There were still spots available as of late Tuesday.

Thursday

McAlister’s Deli is celebrating its fifth-annual Free Tea Day on Thursday, and according to a press release from the restaurant’s corporate office, nationwide the chain expects to give away more than 320,000 32-ounce glasses of their "Famous Sweet Tea." That’s a lot of free tea! The Lawrence McAlisters is located at 2108 W. 27th St. No purchase is necessary to get the free tea, but if you’re hungry the fast-casual restaurant is known for its sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts.

Friday

Merchants Pub and Plate, the new gastropub scheduled to open next month in the space formerly home to Tellers, will again serve samples from its menu at Final Fridays. Owners said they served more than 600 samples to Final Friday-goers at the Phoenix Gallery in June. This week, Merchants is setting up shop at 5 p.m. Friday at the Cider Gallery, located at 810 Pennsylvania St. in the Warehouse Arts District.

“We’re having a lot of fun sharing our concept and getting ready for the opening through these tasting events,” chef/owner TK Peterson said in an event announcement.

A note for those interested in more than just the food: This week’s Final Fridays reception at the Cider Gallery will feature large-scale photographic works by Lawrence artist Tim Forcade and indigenous-inspired paintings by Colombia native Majo.

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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A taste of what’s on the menu for Merchants Pub and Plate (quail panzanella!)

Philip Wilson, left, and chef T.K. Peterson, co-owners of Merchants Pub and Plate, offer samples of menu items from their new restaurant, opening in August at 746 Massachusetts St.

Philip Wilson, left, and chef T.K. Peterson, co-owners of Merchants Pub and Plate, offer samples of menu items from their new restaurant, opening in August at 746 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Co-owners of the soon-to-come Merchants Pub and Plate, Philip Wilson and chef T.K. Peterson, were chatting up potential customers while whipping up appetizers Friday evening in the back room of the Phoenix Gallery.

Final Friday-goers got to try two items expected to be on the menu at the new gastropub-style restaurant, on track to open in mid-August in the building formerly home to Teller’s, 746 Massachusetts St. (Previously, Wilson was the operating manager of Teller’s, and Peterson was executive chef at the Oread.)

On the table at Phoenix Gallery were samples of Black Pepper Mascarpone Crostini with Peach Basil Preserves and little boats of Grilled Quail Panzanella Salad, a mix of tender quail slices, arugula, diced tomatoes, fresh onions and bread cubes that soaked up a bright vinaigrette (a decidedly non-woodsy take on quail, and, unlike some at-home versions around these parts, birdshot-free!). I thought both were pretty to look at, fresh, flavorful and season-appropriate — and of course even better with a sip of the sauvignon blanc and IPA they were serving next door at BIAO Designs.

Black Pepper Mascarpone Crostini with Peach Basil Preserves

Black Pepper Mascarpone Crostini with Peach Basil Preserves by Sara Shepherd

Grilled Quail Panzanella Salad

Grilled Quail Panzanella Salad by Sara Shepherd

That’s good, because one of Merchants’ main goals is making seasonal food that goes well with beer, Peterson said. “It’s just kind of the food I want to cook,” he said. “Our restaurant’s going to be heavy on the beer side of things ... we’re beer enthusiasts.”

Merchants plans to have 30 beers on tap — all craft varieties, including Free State and other area beers — with no duplicate handles. Owners say that’s easily the most beers on tap of any place in town.

For updates on the restaurant’s anticipated opening, keep an eye on Merchants at Twitter.com/MerchantsOnMass or like them at facebook.com/MerchantsOnMass.

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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