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Posts tagged with Restaurants

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

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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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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Tasting notes: Irish whiskey and St. Pat’s eats (starting now)

A few upcoming drinking and dining notes for the coming week — and with St. Patrick’s Day on Monday, Irish is naturally a common theme. If you know of other St. Pat’s food and drink specials (ideally, something cooler than green beer?) share with the group by posting in the comments section.

Irish Lamb Stew

Irish Lamb Stew

Now: Mr. Bacon BBQ has their once-a-year smoked corned beef sandwich on today's menu. Henry T’s St. Patrick’s Day food specials include Irish Stew with lamb and prime rib and corned beef with smashed potatoes, according to their Facebook page. Brit’s is highlighting Irish snacks, too.

Saturday: Irish whiskey tasting at the Oread, according to their monthly email newsletter. For more information or to RSVP call 830-3921.

Monday: St. Patrick’s Day feast, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Eldridge (the Jayhawker) and the Oread (Ten Restaurant). Festive specials will include beef and Guinness stew and corned beef and cabbage. Also available will be the hotels’ March “cause” martini, the Gilded Shamrock (citron vodka, white chocolate liqueur, melon liqueur), with $3 from each sale benefitting Tiny-K Early Intervention.

Wednesday: Irish whiskey tasting, 6 p.m. in the La Parrilla wine cellar. The evening will feature five styles of whiskey paired with Irish-inspired foods including duck prosciutto with grilled apples, Ardrhan cheese, Irish soda bread and Irish beef stew. Cost is $55 per person. To reserve a seat call 841-1100.

Thursday: Pinot noir tasting, 6 p.m. at Genovese, featuring wines from Pali Wine Co. The planned four-course tasting menu includes prosciutto-wrapped shrimp salad, Wakarusa Valley mushroom crostini, duck ravioli and stuffed pork loin. Cost is $51 per person. To reserve a spot call 842-0300.

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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Mexican or Chinese? Yes, at odd Eudora restaurant

Salsa and crab rangoon, together at last.

Actually, the two have been in a steady relationship the past 14 years at what's easily one of the area’s oddest (and most genius?) restaurants, Jasmin in downtown Eudora. Jasmin serves both Mexican and Chinese food, and has since the restaurant opened in 2000 at 719 Main St. We’re not talking some kind of gourmet Mexican-Chinese-fusion cuisine, just Mexican and Chinese — Mexican in the front of the menu and Chinese in the back, a gilded dragon relief sculpture on one wall and Mexican blankets and sombreros on the other.

Chips and salsa, chilaquiles and the Chinese Combination Platter appetizer (crab rangoon, fantail shrimp and one hot wing already eaten — all sans salsa) at Jasmin Chinese and Mexican restaurant in Eudora.

Chips and salsa, chilaquiles and the Chinese Combination Platter appetizer (crab rangoon, fantail shrimp and one hot wing already eaten — all sans salsa) at Jasmin Chinese and Mexican restaurant in Eudora. by Sara Shepherd

Mexican menu items include entrees like guisado (beef chunks in red sauce), chicken en mole and several shrimp dishes, plus the usual tacos, tamales, burritos and combo plates. Chips and salsa are complimentary if you order something Mexican. Chinese offerings include soups, dumplings, lo mein, fried rice and three pages of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp and vegetarian entrees. I officed at the former Eudora News my first job out of college and remember particularly liking Jasmin’s Hot and Sour Cold Noodles for lunch on hot days (when I actually left the office for lunch).

Husband and wife J and Maria Ramirez opened and own Jasmin. They’re originally from Mexico, but J cooked for a long time at Chinese restaurants in Lawrence, so when they opened Jasmin they decided to serve both, Maria said.

The restaurant’s dishes are either-or. But Maria said she often sees people putting guacamole on Chinese food or dipping crab rangoon in salsa. She shrugs and laughs, “they like it.”

Jasmin Chinese and Mexican restaurant, 719 Main St. in downtown Eudora.

Jasmin Chinese and Mexican restaurant, 719 Main St. in downtown Eudora. 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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Sherry gets less granny, more chic behind select Lawrence bars

If you look in the right spots, sherry suddenly seems a lot less stodgy than stereotypes would have you believe.

As such places have for eons, a handful of Lawrence’s nicer restaurants have a sherry or two on their drink menus, usually grouped with dessert cordials. A small few are following a trend from the coasts by increasing sherry offerings, even incorporating the Spanish fortified wine into craft cocktails.

One is Pachamama’s, 800 New Hampshire St., which is planning it’s first-ever sherry dinner Wednesday night — though chef/owner Ken Baker says he’s not sure what’s taken him so long to do one. (See menu below, and call the restaurant at 841-0990 to reserve a seat. There were a few left late this week.) Another is 715, 715 Massachusetts St., where bar manager Margie Hogue said guests can choose from about five or six sherries by the glass or order one of several craft cocktails featuring the wine.

On 715’s cocktail menu now is the Jerez, made with Campari, cream sherry, sweet vermouth and orange. A featured drink Hogue hinted may land a spot on 715’s next cocktail menu is the Imperial Suitor, with Guatemalan aged rum, aged sherry (about 25 years on both) and blood orange liqueur, stirred with ice and served with a cherry.

The Imperial Suitor at 715, 715 Massachusetts St. Contributed photo from 715.

The Imperial Suitor at 715, 715 Massachusetts St. Contributed photo from 715. by Sara Shepherd

“We really liked how rich and raisiny it (the sherry) was, so we used that instead of a sweetening agent as a variation on the old fashioned,” Hogue said. “It’s rich, and sherry gives it a nice nutty nuance.”

Admittedly, I’m a sherry newbie (it turns out there are styles and levels of sweetness, just like champagne or German rieslings — who knew?). Baker kindly answered some questions this week to help bring me up to speed. Now, about those stereotypes...

Sara Shepherd: Convince me sherry is not just for people of the 1800s (or for soaking the spongecake in my grandmother’s trifle recipe)?

Ken Baker: Sherry has a long and storied history. It’s a drink that travels well, and it has resilience. But the most important thing about it is that it’s super versatile — it has so many different flavors. Everybody identifies sherry with the sickly sweet after-dinner drink, but most of your best sherries are bone dry, umami-rich, very savory. Those are the kinds of wines that blow court out of the water, and they go with so many different foods.

SS: My cabinet’s always stocked with a bottle of bottom-shelf sherry I use for cooking. I’ve tried drinking it (even in a cobbler with muddled fresh fruit), and it’s not good, not good at all. What kind of sherry is actually worth sipping?

KB: I don’t want to say cooking with sherry is a terrible idea, but it’s a terrible idea. I come from the standpoint that beer and wines are for drinking! You’re going to spend a little bit more money, but with sherry — aside from being versatile and having a huge range of flavors — the prices are all over as well.

SS: So if you’re really trying to appreciate this wine, it’s worth paying for something from higher than the bottom shelf?

KB: Yeah, absolutely.

SS: Any tips for pairing sherry with food?

KB: For the fino or manzanilla sherries, the first thing that comes to mind is olive spreads or nuts. The manzanilla is going to have more of a briny, salty component to it so it’s just awesome with seafood. The more full-bodied sherries take on super nutty caramelized notes. They have such a strong backbone, these wines are really good with game meats and sausages, a wide variety of foods. Amontillado up to oloroso, then the super-sticky ones like moscatel or Pedro Ximinez, that’s the kind of stuff you can pour on a bowl of ice cream and it’s unbelievable.

SS: Have you noticed more people ordering sherry at your restaurant?

KB: It’s not a top seller, but there’s definitely an upswing. I think part of that is because my bartenders are getting into it more, taking it away from the old-ladies-playing bridge image. The Midwest is always a little slow on the uptake, but it’s definitely huge in New York, Charleston and out on the West Coast — they have bars where that’s what they do.

Menu for the March 12, 2014, sherry dinner at Pachamama's, 800 New Hampshire St.

Menu for the March 12, 2014, sherry dinner at Pachamama's, 800 New Hampshire 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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‘All-natural’ burger chain coming to former Chutney’s space (via Town Talk)

My colleague Chad, our city reporter whose Town Talk blog brings us the scoop on all kinds of businesses before they even open, today reports that an "all-natural" hamburger chain is coming to the space formerly occupied by Chutney's Indian Diner and Bar, 918 Massachusetts St.

According to Chad's latest post:

Franchise owners Josh and Michelle Kurzban plan to open their restaurant, called BurgerFi, by mid-spring. The Florida-based chain has 36 restaurants nationwide but expects to have 75 by the end of 2014.

The restaurant says all its hamburgers are made of free-range, hormone-free, never-frozen Angus beef. Also on the menu: a brisket burger made from dry-aged ground brisket; five different styles of hot dogs; hand-cut fries that can be ordered regular, well-done or limp; beer and wine; and frozen custard desserts made with sugar cane. One especially unique item to watch for, Chad notes, is the Breakfast All Day Burger, with hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, a fried egg and hashbrowns.

A screenshot from the BurgerFi website, burgerfi.com.

A screenshot from the BurgerFi website, burgerfi.com. by Sara Shepherd

The BurgerFi website is splashed with phrases like "locally grown" and "farm to tray." Since it's a national brand, I'm interested to see whether they'll serve food that's actually local to us (Remember Local Burger? All their various meats came from named farms within a few hours drive.) or "local" to some other place. One last notable I spotted on their menu: bottles of Mexican Coke.

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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