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Entries from blogs tagged with “features”

John Brown’s Underground serving weekend brunch; Limestone Pizza now open Sundays

Speakeasies may not be known as brunch destinations, Kate Brubacher admits, but she's hoping to change that at John Brown's Underground, 7 E. Seventh St.

The bar is now in its third week of offering brunch to customers, says Underground manager Brubacher, who explains the move as a way to boost food sales on weekends.

So far, she says, the response has been huge.

The brunch menu, available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, features a handful of inventive breakfast-sandwich options, from the Jam on JB (eggs, plus fig or raspberry jam with meat and cheese on Texas toast) to the Mac Stack, a mixture of eggs, macaroni and cheese bites, and meat and cheese on Texas toast. There's also the Bourbon Bacon Waffle — Brubacher's favorite — and something called "French Toast in a Jar."

As always, booze is readily available — though the meals come with a choice of coffee, orange juice or tomato juice.

• • •

Popular downtown eatery Limestone Pizza is now open on Sundays, co-owner Debbie Rascoll says.

Plenty of downtown businesses are open Sundays, she says, so why not Limestone? Rascoll hopes the expanded hours will better accommodate "late risers" from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Don't expect the pizza joint to turn into a full-fledged pancake house, though. Limestone is sticking with what it does best, mostly. In lieu of an official menu, the restaurant offers rotating specials like biscuits-and-gravy pizza and other brunch-y creations.

"We're not trying to be a breakfast place," Rascoll says. "We're starting small, trying to figure things out right now."

Bahn Mizza at Limestone Pizza Kitchen + Bar

Bahn Mizza at Limestone Pizza Kitchen + Bar by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

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

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BurgerFi now open in downtown Lawrence

A meal from BurgerFi, featuring the restaurant's hand-dipped, freshly prepared onion rings. 
Photo courtesy Charlie Guzzetta/BurgerFi

A meal from BurgerFi, featuring the restaurant's hand-dipped, freshly prepared onion rings. Photo courtesy Charlie Guzzetta/BurgerFi by Joanna Hlavacek

A bright-green sign has adorned the windows at 918 Massachusetts St. for at least six months now, promising us a new hamburger joint called BurgerFi in the space formerly occupied by Chutney’s Indian Diner and Bar. Today, it appears, is the day BurgerFi makes good on that promise.

Franchise owner Josh Kurzban confirmed the news this morning. The restaurant opened at 11 a.m. today, he says, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce is planned for tomorrow afternoon at 4:30.

The Florida-based chain has about 40 locations nationwide, clustered mostly on the East Coast and in Texas. The Massachusetts Street store will be only its second foray into Kansas after a Leawood location opened in May.

Journal-World reporter Chad Lawhorn first reported the arrival of BurgerFi in his Town Talk blog back in March. At the time, Kurzban and his wife, Michelle, also a co-owner, said they expected to open the Lawrence location by mid-spring of this year. Now, several months later, Josh cites construction issues as the cause of the delay.

“The building, or parts of it, are 100 years old,” he says. “We definitely wanted to preserve some of its architectural elements.”

The restaurant boasts an original tin ceiling and an exposed brick facade along a passageway to its back end. Much of the furniture is made from upcycled materials, Josh says.

As for the food, BurgerFi makes its patties from free-range, hormone-free, never-frozen Angus beef. Customers can also choose from five different types of hotdogs, hand-cut fries (ordered regular, well-done or limp), and frozen custard made with pure cane sugar. There’s also a quinoa-and-lentil-based veggie burger that’s made fresh daily.

Josh says the restaurant plans to source as much produce as possible from local providers in season. Free State Brewing Company, 23rd Street Brewery, Boulevard Brewing Company beers will be on tap; selections from Paola-based Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery are also on the menu.

“Basically the message is, we’re a gourmet kitchen hiding in a fast-casual environment,” Josh says. “We’re very excited to be in a college town like Lawrence.”

BurgerFi’s hours are 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Tips welcome!

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

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Lawrence, start your eating: A Restaurant Week roundup

The first-ever Lawrence Restaurant Week kicked off Sunday and is underway now. If you missed the Restaurant Week story I wrote last week, click here to read about what that means, how it works and why people are excited about it.

My Lawrence Restaurant Week Instagram of the day: Cherry Almond Coffee Cake at The Roost. This week, it comes with an entire breakfast and a fresh juice or coffee drink. #EatLawrence

My Lawrence Restaurant Week Instagram of the day: Cherry Almond Coffee Cake at The Roost. This week, it comes with an entire breakfast and a fresh juice or coffee drink. #EatLawrence by Sara Shepherd

If you want to see the full list of participating restaurants (all 19 of them), links to what they're serving plus a map, check out our interactive Lawrence Restaurant Week page.

And — most importantly — if you've already started chowing down, let us know what you ate. Go ahead, take a pic of your food. If you're going with a group, get a Restaurant Week selfie. Tweet a mini-review. Write a Restaurant Week haiku (please, please somebody do this?!?). Use the hashtag #EatLawrence, and tag us on Twitter (@lcom), Instagram (@ljworld) or Facebook (lawrencekansas). We'll post the best stuff on our Lawrence Restaurant Week blog.

Bon appétit, Lawrence.

Buckwheat crepes with herbed sweetcorn and boursin, smoked trout aioli and crispy serrano will be on Pachamamas’ Restaurant Week menu.

Buckwheat crepes with herbed sweetcorn and boursin, smoked trout aioli and crispy serrano will be on Pachamamas’ Restaurant Week menu. by Richard Gwin

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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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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Java Break celebrates 20th anniversary in 24/7 style

Java Break has been caffeinating Lawrence 24 hours a day for 20 years. To celebrate the milestone anniversary in 24/7 fashion, the funky, half-underground coffee shop at Seventh and New Hampshire streets is offering half-price everything from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday.

Arron Atchison, Lawrence, a barrista at the Java Break, 17 E. 7th, sets up chairs at 4:53 a.m. part way through his graveyard work shift of midnight to 8 a.m.

Arron Atchison, Lawrence, a barrista at the Java Break, 17 E. 7th, sets up chairs at 4:53 a.m. part way through his graveyard work shift of midnight to 8 a.m. by Mike Yoder

When it comes to coffee shops, Java Break is like the anti-Starbucks. It’s one-of-a-kind from the retro diner tables and swag lamps (collected through the years by owner Derek Hogan), to the kooky seasonal drink posters behind the counter starring Java Break employees, to its signature coffee drinks and baked-in-house sweets and sandwiches. And let’s not forget the computerized cereal bowl randomizer on the Cereal Bar.

Hogan said “good coffee, good food and a lot of homemade products” have helped the shop stay in business. With the exception of a few months shortly after it opened, Java Break has always been open ‘round the clock.

“We’re not cookie-cutter,” Hogan said. “There’s a lot of competition in this town; you’ve got to stay fresh and unique.”

A Cereal Bar concoction at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. This one features Cap'n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs and Rice Krispies topped with fresh sliced banana and chocolate syrup.

A Cereal Bar concoction at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. This one features Cap'n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs and Rice Krispies topped with fresh sliced banana and chocolate syrup. 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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Alchemy Coffee now a bakery, too

I wish I were better at resisting temptation, but man, do I love a sweet treat with my coffee. And especially given all the coffee shops selling stale or over-sugared, trucked-in baked goods — or none at all — I REALLY love a handmade, freshly baked sweet treat with my coffee.

Alchemy Coffee, 1901 Massachusetts St., has added an in-house kitchen to offer just that, and the establishment now calls itself Alchemy Coffee and Bake House. In-house baker Joni Alexander whips up treats daily in the cutesy little kitchen (lavender wall, shiny red mixer, retro mixing bowls and everything) at the east end of the shop.

Joni Alexander prepares to bake a loaf of zucchini bread on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in the newly added kitchen at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St.

Joni Alexander prepares to bake a loaf of zucchini bread on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in the newly added kitchen at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St. by Nick Krug

This week I tried the triple-chocolate sea salt cookies — big, soft, laden with chocolate chunks and generously sized flakes of sea salt — and strawberry peach muffins — also big, soft, with sweet crumbly tops and hunks of fruit, all nestled in brown paper. Other offerings include cakes, pies and more muffins, including a blueberry doughnut muffin complete with glaze.

Triple chocolate sea salt cookies and other treats are now baked in-house at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St.

Triple chocolate sea salt cookies and other treats are now baked in-house at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Alexander, a Kansas University graduate who traveled the world while working as a professional model, got into cooking and baking as a hobby.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s so calming, and I love feeding people.” She said she tries to keep things simple — ideally five ingredients or less — yet fully commit to the flavor at hand. For example, that decadent chocolate sea salt cookie. “If I’m going to do a triple-chocolate sea salt cookie ... it’s going to be in your face,” she said.

Alexander started working with Alchemy owner Benjamin Farmer last fall. He had been selling cookies and granola bars made in Kansas City but brought in Alexander’s goods (then baked off-site), which were a hit. The kitchen was completed two weeks ago, he said. Alchemy is known for its cold-brew, sold in bottles and even on draft at several other places around town. Farmer and Alexander said they hope some of Alchemy’s baked goods soon will follow suit.

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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Just-opened Mass Street Soda selling sweet, bubbly versions of almost everything

Mass Street Soda popped the cap today and informally opened at 1103 Massachusetts St. Even with most of the shop's 1,000-plus sodas still in the process of being moved from box to shelf, there are already so many it’s crazy — and really hard to pick just one.

“Basically, if you name a fruit we probably have a soda in that variety,” said Matt Baysinger, who co-owns the store with Luke Thompson. There are sections for all of those fruits, plus sections for other categories including cream sodas, root beers and oddball flavors (such as meat ... scroll down).

A fraction of the lemonade soda section at Mass Street Soda.

A fraction of the lemonade soda section at Mass Street Soda. by Sara Shepherd

The soda counter — where Baysinger said there eventually will be seating and and ice cream to make floats — isn’t set up yet, but you can buy sodas by the bottle ($2 each) or mix your own 12-pack ($22) or case ($42) to take home. Also coming later: A device that can chill a bottle of soda in moments. Even Baysinger has tried only about 200 of the sodas the shop is carrying, noting that if you tried one soda every day it would take three years to get through all their flavors.

I failed at picking just one (OK, I didn’t really try very hard to pick just one) and walked out with these three to taste and share here at Lawrence.com headquarters.

Soda from faraway land: Kazouza 1941 orange soda from Lebanon. It’s actually a “sparkling fruit drink” and actually tastes like oranges (probably because it actually contains orange juice) — nothing at all like that weird orange liquid at McDonald’s.

Soda in very weird flavor: Chocolate Covered Maple Smoked Bacon Soda by Real Soda. Not as strong-tasting as anticipated, and that’s probably a good thing. The bacon flavor is subtle enough that this can actually pass for soda and not just another bacon gimmick.

Soda I just thought sounded good: Ginger Man Soda by Maine Root. Tastes like a spicy gingerbread man dunked in cream soda. Yum, and the label is cute.

Mini soda tasting at Lawrence.com HQ.

Mini soda tasting at Lawrence.com HQ. 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

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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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Food truck festival coming to Warehouse Arts District

Lawrence doesn’t have many food trucks of its own (I know of just one, the Blissful Bite), but a group plans to import some for a just-announced event in the Warehouse Arts District.

The Kansas Food Truck Festival is tentatively set for 5 to 10 p.m. May 10 in the 800 block of Pennsylvania St., in front of the Cider Gallery. Tickets are $12 (or $10 if you bring canned food items), and proceeds will benefit Just Food. Kids get in free.

Participating food trucks have yet to be announced, but a few other aspects of the festival have been confirmed. In addition to food, the event will feature beer gardens, live music — Truckstop Honeymoon, Psychic Heat and another not-yet-determined band — and kids activities, Cider Gallery general manager Amanda Artigas said. The Cider Gallery will be open for the public to check out the art and the upstairs office space.

Artigas said the festival was hoped to highlight the Warehouse Arts District and let food trucks know they’re welcome in the neighborhood anytime. “We’d like them here, like, daily,” Artigas said, “but events would be great.” For updates on the Kansas Food Truck Festival, keep an eye on facebook.com/ksfoodtruckfest.

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

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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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