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New breakfast spot, The Roost, slated to open in former Milton's location


Milton’s may not be coming back to downtown Lawrence, but a full-fledged breakfast restaurant is slated for its spot at 920 Massachusetts St.

And it will have a strong Milton’s connection.

Manda Jolly, a former general manager for Milton’s, has inked a deal to open The Roost in early 2013.

Jolly said the restaurant and its menu won’t be a replica of Milton’s — which closed last month — but it will be a place to get a traditional breakfast, and some of the menu items will be very recognizable to fans of Milton’s.

“I understand that there were things that people grew to love and need from there,” said Jolly.

(I’m working to get her to write my doctor a note to prove to him that I indeed do need sausage gravy.)

Jolly said The Roost will focus on breakfast, lunch, pastries and something she calls “inspired cocktails.” (That sounds a bit redundant to me. Almost every cocktail I’ve had has inspired me to have another.)

Jolly is opening the restaurant with three other partners — she is not yet releasing those names — but she said one of the partners has opened and managed several bars in Lawrence. She said The Roost will be more committed to having cocktails and spirits be a part of the restaurant than Milton’s was, which had a liquor license on and off during its existence. But at the moment, Jolly said the restaurant won’t have regular evening hours. (Don’t fret, I’ve heard cocktails at lunch can be very inspiring and darn right transformational at breakfast.) Instead, The Roost will be available for rent for evening events, and Jolly said the restaurant also will host a few special evenings per year.

The former Milton’s space will get a major makeover to accommodate The Roost. Jolly said the name for the restaurant comes from her family’s farm just outside of Speed, Kan., which is near Phillipsburg, which is near Stockton, which is near . . . (In Western Kansas, we could play this game all day, but it always ends the same. It is east of Denver.) The family farm’s name is The Roost, and Jolly said the restaurant space is going to take on a little bit more of that type of feel with some old barn wood incorporated into the design and more natural elements such as exposing some stone walls.

When all of it comes together, is still a bit uncertain. Jolly at this point is only committing to “early 2013” as an opening date.

“I don’t want to give up on January yet, but it won’t be early January,” Jolly said.

Jolly started at Milton’s as a hostess on the day the restaurant opened in 1997. Jolly worked there pretty much for the next 11 years, rising to the rank of general manager. When she left the restaurant four years ago, she tried to buy Milton’s then, but the deal never quite happened. The idea, though, never did fully leave her.

“I love mornings,” Jolly said. “I’m used to that. Milton’s served as a major hub of the community for a long time. It always has been the best job I ever had.”


Joe Adams 5 years, 5 months ago

(In Western Kansas, we could play this game all day, but it always ends the same. It is east of Denver.)

Love reading this article because of bits like that. Made a good morning even better. Good luck to a breakfast restaurant in Lawrence. We definitely need some more around town so putting one back in the Milton's space is exciting. Bring along two free pancakes with an omelet or skillet and coffee refills at the table, and I'll come by as often as possible!

Joe Adams 5 years, 5 months ago

Edit: I guess I can get up for my coffee if I have to but I really want somewhere in Lawrence to serve a few pancakes with my omelet. Not saying I will eat it all but it's a nice variety :)

Joe Adams 5 years, 5 months ago

First Watch, Perkins, and IHOP are terrible. I like local and with breakfast, I like local even more.

COjayrocks 5 years, 5 months ago

Bits like that? Thought it was trite myself. I enjoy reading these posts a lot but that was an unnecessary low blow. Lots of people would say that about all Kansans if they were outsiders looking in...Doesn't help that I grew up in western Kansas and heard plenty of this growing up from the big, bad "Easterners".

irvan moore 5 years, 5 months ago

the restaurant at the old truckstop in topeka was named the roost, hard to beat a truckstop for breakfast atmosphere

Mike Hatch 5 years, 5 months ago

I remember going there, think they closed up in the early or mid 90s. Never had their breakfast but always had their buffet. Was the only bread pudding I would ever eat. Served cold, and very firm. No idea how they made it but it was always the same.

walterbradley 5 years, 5 months ago

Congrats you two, I had an inkling you were the ones whom beat me to the spot and I am glad you did. You two truly deserve this and I am happy and excited for you guys it couldnt have went to better people and I am positive it will be a HUGE success and welcome addition to downtown. Karma has a way of working it's magic and it did in your case. Again I am so happy for you and cannot wait to come in and enjoy your creations let me know when the grand opening is. From a veteran of the restaurant industry take it from me.GO HERE when they open everyone will love what they do I promise. Great job Jolly's.

patkindle 5 years, 5 months ago

hyvee always has hot breakfast at a resonable price, of course it is not the place to be seen like downtown

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

Hell, I might even go downtown for a decent breakfast! Better have biscuits and gravy though. . .

blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

Sure miss the Cowboy Eggs that Paradise use to serve up! Plate of cornbread, pinto beans , avocado, salsa topped off by eggs of choice; just a hint for The Roost. Mirth's biscuits and gravy are great, either with sausage gravy or veggie.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

That's what I was thinking. I don't want a "traditional breakfast." I can get that at IHOP, First Watch, or Perkins. Or Mirth for that matter, if I want to wait all day for it.

true_patriot 5 years, 5 months ago

We need a place downtown where you can walk in and order a piece of pie and have coffee with it. Real pie, as in made on the premises or baked locally and brought in. When Perkins is the only guaranteed place to get a piece of "pie", especially in city like Lawrence that actually still has a small town downtown sector, another chunk of America is dead and gone.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

Please, Chad. If you want good sausage gravy, you need to go to Aimee's.

blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

Methinks Mirth's biscuits and gravy are better than Wheatfields,either sausage or veggie. Try it if you haven't.

blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

For pie: Bradley's Corner Cafe at 844 N. Topeka Ave (in North Topeka). Have at least 30 kinds of pie, all made on the premises. Boysenberry, Coconut Cream, Strawberry Rhubarb are favorites. Perkins is a poor 1st (and only choice) for Lawrence.

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

Just for the record, I judge all other biscuit and gravy against my own. Very few have ever come close.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

Well mine are the best in town, Roe, but I'm a busy person. I'll bet mine could beat yours. :>)

George_Braziller 5 years, 5 months ago

I'd like to see some breakfast menus downtown that include two or three non-traditional breakfast options like a bowl of soup or a grilled sandwich for those of us who don't eat traditional breakfasts. This morning for breakfast I had chicken and noodles, yesterday morning I had a hamburger.

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