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Popular breakfast restaurant Milton's returning to downtown in space currently occupied by Loopy's


There are a few survival tips I’ve learned in nature: Never stare a feral hog in the eye; don’t get between a bear and her cub; and don’t block a Lawrence resident from his French toast.

That last one is courtesy of David Lewis, the former owner of the one-time downtown breakfast institution Milton’s. (I won’t tell you where the first one came from.)

Lewis confirmed to me that he’s bringing back Milton’s and all its old menu favorites, but it will be in Lewis’s new restaurant location in the ground floor of the 901 Building at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. That restaurant currently is called Loopy’s, but not for long. Lewis said he will rebrand the restaurant to Milton’s, as soon as he can get the details on signs and such worked out.

In November, Lewis closed Milton’s — which had operated for 15 years at 920 Massachusetts Street — and began focusing on the new Loopy’s concept.

Unlike Milton’s, Loopy's was a breakfast, lunch and dinner place that stayed open until 11 p.m. But there was a problem: Breakfast wasn’t what it used to be. It was frittatas, quiches and other similar dishes rather than hashbrowns, over-easy eggs and French toast.

“Our plan is to build on our old menu and really go with the things that have worked for us in the past,” Lewis said. “A lot of customers really missed it. We heard about it everyday since we opened.”

The new menu — which is basically the old menu — is already back in place. Lewis said the new Milton’s is serving breakfast seven days a week, and until 2 p.m. each day.

Unlike the past Milton’s, this location will stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and Lewis said the restaurant is keeping the liquor license it received to operate Loopy’s.

One of the bigger differences with the new Milton’s will be its size. The 901 location has just 28 seats inside, but it has a large patio area than can seat another 32.

“I love the space that we have with the windows and the light,” Lewis said. “We would like to get some nice weather, though, to take advantage of the outdoor seating. I think folks are really going to like that.”

Other changes include removing the pizza oven from the restaurant in order to accommodate the kitchen equipment to cook a full breakfast. The ownership of the operation also has changed. Lawrence chef Sula Teller and her husband, Lawrence marketing executive Billy Pilgrim, are no longer involved with the restaurant.

What hasn’t changed though, is all the old Milton’s recipes. Lewis said 20 of the 22 employees at the restaurant were former Milton’s employees, so the transition to the old dishes has not been difficult.

He said crowds have picked up at the location since the menu was implemented about a week ago.

“The Loopy’s concept just didn’t seem to resonate with a lot of people,” Lewis said. “When we were closing Milton’s, I started to see the sentiment and feelings people had for it. It was really pretty emotional.”

And many people would tell you pretty addictive too. Since its closing, we've heard from many people who seem to be having breakfast food withdrawals. Lewis said that might have something to do with the little bit of brandy that is a key ingredient in the French toast.

Yes, the return of Milton’s may mean downtown Lawrence becomes even more competitive on the breakfast scene. As we previously reported, a former manager of Milton’s is set to open up a breakfast restaurant called The Roost in the former Milton’s location on Massachusetts Street. I haven’t received an update on those efforts in awhile, so I’ll check in and report back.

In the meantime, I need to get my dose of breakfast brandy. Sure, I probably could go for some French toast too.


Mark Jakubauskas 4 years, 11 months ago

Esquina made a similar mistake, IMHO. Used to go there all the time for the three-taco dinner. Haven't been since they changed the menu to high-end stuff. If I want high-end, I'll go the 715....

jimmyjms 4 years, 11 months ago

715 is the best restaurant in Lawrence. You want pasta out of a box, head elsewhere.

Danielle Brunin 4 years, 11 months ago

Considering what a pain it is to make homemade ravioli, I'd gladly pay $20. I mean, I won't, but I understand why it's expensive.

Joe Adams 4 years, 11 months ago

Hahahaha! So now, to go back to Milton's, I have to wait for even fewer tables. Good luck convincing me of that. I think I'll just stick with the new, expanded location at the Mirth. Turns out, I wasn't missing Milton's nearly as much as I thought.

unllawstudent 4 years, 11 months ago

You can get a cookbook for Paradise Cafe recipes at the Raven bookstore!

HutchSaltHawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Exactly why I have not missed Milton's and never cared to go to his new place. Who needs the attitude?

Orwell 4 years, 11 months ago

Think bigger. We need a revival of the Rock Chalk Cafe featuring the Truck Stop, with or without the Budweiser and the pinball machines.

Bob's Our Place, not so much.

MarcoPogo 4 years, 11 months ago

Forget that, bring back JB's Big Boy!!!

Ken Lassman 4 years, 11 months ago

I bussed tables there back in the day and stayed up into the wee hours doing dishes....we always liked when someone only ate a corner of their scrumptious strawberry pie...ahh, those were the days!

workinghard 4 years, 11 months ago

There was actually two Shorty's, a small one next to the Red Dog and then later he moved to a bigger one that had been Kiem's. Little known fact, he used to have "all you could eat spaghetti" night once a week. The left over sauce was then thrown into the chili pot.

Adrienne Sanders 4 years, 11 months ago

Milton's had serve-yourself coffee. I have mixed feelings about this b/c when I go out to eat I like to have someone serve me; if I wanted to get my own coffee I could do that at home. However if you're waiting for a refill it's your own problem.

Jimmy 4 years, 11 months ago

I always enjoyed Milton's and am glad to see it return. I am worried about the seating though. It was a problem before in the larger space.

Irenaku 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh geez. Close Miltons - move to smaller space - open Loopy's - it fails - rename Miltons. You mean he seriously did not see this coming??

Justin Roberts 4 years, 11 months ago

Should be interesting to see how long the loyal Milton's customer put up with limited seating and long lines. Once the patio opens up it will be a great spot to grab breakfast before/after the farmers market on Saturdays. Billy P is a good guy, sorry to see it didn't work out.

K Meisel 4 years, 11 months ago

Sula and David were a disastrous combo. I'm not surprised she left (or he cut her loose) and David went back to doing what he knows. However Miltons was never that great, it simply benefited from being one of the only reasonably priced breakfast locations downtown ("reasonably priced" being relative). With the expanded Mirth and 715's killer weekend brunch plus The Roost opening in the near future and Miltons now being in a smaller, more crowded space, I'm not sure it will work out quite the way he wants. In addition, I'm pretty sure that location in the 9th & NH building is ridiculously expensive especially considering how small it is.

readit 4 years, 11 months ago

Crash and burn, David. Couldn't happen to a better guy. I"ll make my own French toast at home, thank you.

timebomb66 4 years, 11 months ago

Popular by default.That place is no Paradise...

patkindle 4 years, 11 months ago

seems like breakfast is hot and tasty at hy vee, and not hard on your pocket book of course , no ambiance, and not the place to go to be seen

Doug Fowler 4 years, 11 months ago

Tried Loopey's once as I used to enjoy Miltons. Ordered the French Toast and was a served a tiny piece of baked stuff that was cold in the middle. When I complained to the waiter I was told "yeah we are having a hard time trying to figure out the oven." Not sure I can try them again...

bearded_gnome 4 years, 11 months ago

bring back something?

bring back Tin Pan Alley!

bearded_gnome 4 years, 11 months ago

Popular breakfast restaurant Milton's returning to downtown in space currently occupied by Loopey's

eribear 4 years, 11 months ago

So, its the only breakfast place downtown? Only besides Global Cafe, Wheatfields and Mirth! Bad attitudes, slow service, long waits and cold food at Miltons helped me find all these other amazing places! I'll continue to avoid Miltons/loopys/whatever!

I cant wait for The Roost!

pfwdr 4 years, 11 months ago

I've gotten used to David's rudeness.

K Meisel 4 years, 11 months ago

Here here. He once asked my family to leave before we'd finished eating so he could seat other customers at our table and another time when he saw a cockroach on the floor, rather than pick it up with a napkin and dispose of it tastefully, he simply stomped it and ground it into the carpet in front of everybody. And yet another time my husband was served a white, crunchy tomato on his BLT and when he brought it to the attention of the waitress, David made a scene in the restaurant that, because my husband had taken a bite that was equivalent to eating the whole thing and refused to remove the item from our bill. That was the last time we ate there and I'm sure it's been at least 4 years since that incident. Uncouth. I'd rather eat elsewhere.

HutchSaltHawk 4 years, 11 months ago

I had enough of his attitude one day and walked to the Eldridge. I found the food, service, and prices so much better. I will never go back to Milton's. Who wants to start the day with those ugly stares and snotty comments.

OZtheGreat 4 years, 11 months ago

Funny- I moved back to Lawrence in 04 I tried to make Milton's my morning breakfast place and found out quickly they only catered to their regulars who demand tea and crumpets from the poor servers. Dave would stand and scowl and order them around. I would try to be pleasant and say hello to him only to be greeted by a cold stair. He never said a word. When I would come in regardless of if my order had been placed long before others coming in I would end up served after them and often my omelet was cold by that point. I doubt this guy changes his attitude any time soon.

Bridgett Walthall 4 years, 11 months ago

does the liquor license mean mimosas with my breakfast?

walterbradley 4 years, 11 months ago

No surprises here new it was doomed from the start when I heard about it. I know Dave worked with him and generally like him as a person but business wise this is all KARMA playing its hand. The Roost and other breakfast joints will make it nearly impossible for him to make that space work for breakfast. A new concept could work in that space need one Dave you know how to contact me good luck I hope it works put for you.

mpn67 4 years, 11 months ago

Memo to copy editors? Loopy's. SPELLING. Loopy's.

Kat Christian 4 years, 11 months ago

AWESOME!! Just hope their prices aren't too high. Milton's had great breakfast prices. Not many places I can afford to eat out, but loved Milton's egg's benadict. Looking forward to eating there. BY THE WAY....to put a bug in your ear....Don't know what's happened with the Mad Greek but their food has gone way downhill. Will never eat there again. Their Hummus was the most nasty tasting I've ever had. Their olives tasted rancid. The wonder white sauce (sp?) taste bland now and had slimmy little strings in it. Not to mention how the deceiving coupons they advertise. This use to be my favorite place to eat downtown, not anymore.

K Meisel 4 years, 11 months ago

Agreed re Mad Greek. I worked there 10 years ago or so while in college and at that time most of their product came off the back of a Sysco truck. The only things they made in house were the mousaka and a few other "traditional" dishes, everything else was frozen and prepackaged. I did notice how bad the food was recently when there for a lunch meeting and their pricing is very deceiving. They'll post menus online but when you go to pick up an order the price is at least a dollar higher than it was on the website and they won't give you the website price, they'll just tell you that the website needs to be updated. This has happened every time my office has tried to order lunch there. Not worth it. I much rather eat at Aladdin if I'm in the mood for a gyro and hummus.

Bob Forer 4 years, 11 months ago

Hopefuly, Dave reads all of these comments and takes them to heart. The few people I know that know him personally think he is a good guy. But he sure doesn't reflect that image to the general public. A restaurant is, above all else, a business of service, and people rightly respect service with a smile.

Major blunder in moving to a new location with a new concept. (Why fix something if it's not broken?). Dave has dug a big hole for himself, and its gonna take a lot of work and some good fortune for him to crawl out.

Greg Cooper 4 years, 11 months ago

What about his comments requires restaurant experience?

Not the knowledge that the restaurant is losing about half to two thirds of it's seating, since restaurant seating and sales per table are really important.

Not that the owner apparently projects a less than sunny attitude, since one has to believe that the new place would like to attract more than the tree-huggers and old hippies that frequented the old one.

Anything else?

livetocook 4 years, 11 months ago

Anything else? Do you know what mise en place is? Or, how to turn tables? It can be done in this space. Take the haircut and walk.

riverdrifter 4 years, 11 months ago

They made an outstanding porktender sandwich.

FlintlockRifle 4 years, 11 months ago

Lefty, yes total agree on Stricks, but fix the parking lot, my old Ford would drag it's tail pipes, course it was lowered so low it would drag about anyplace, thanks for the memories.

Michele Trompeter 4 years, 11 months ago

I've already had my French toast at the Loopy's/Milton's, and it was as fabulous as it was before. We've never had cold food at Milton's. Yes, if you went to Milton's on Sunday, as we often did after church, there was usually a long wait. Once we were seated, our food generally came very quickly. I'm disappointed about the small space of the new place. The old spot was almost too small for the crowded times of the day. This one will be impossible if the crowds from before return.

irvan moore 4 years, 11 months ago

i had enough of eating at miltons about a month after it opened, tried it 2 or 3 times and was not impressed, i like aimees, good and reasonable prices

Tony Kisner 4 years, 11 months ago

Dave seem like a good guy to me. Loved and missed Milton's tried his new place but missed my eggs and toast. I appreciate food artistry but my mid-west habits are hard to over come. Good luck Dave I will be back.

The long wait seems to be a leading indicator.

kernal 4 years, 11 months ago

Sadlly, Paradise Cafe, Cornucopia and Tin Pan not coming back - ever. The owners moved on to different careers. But, thanks to Missy McCoy (who we can also thank for Douglas County Pie), the Raven carries her cookbook which has many of the recipes from the Paradise Cafe.

Now if we could just get Glen Sohl and Randy Walker to do one for Tin Pan Alley and Conucopia!

2muchthyme 4 years, 11 months ago

Can we add Mojo's to the wish list? Phat Elvis was the best wing sauce! "Ain't no thing like a Mojo's wing"

bearded_gnome 4 years, 11 months ago

^^bearded_gnome 9 hours, 58 minutes ago Popular breakfast restaurant Milton's returning to downtown in space currently occupied by Loopey's

[this comment got changed up there by someone. should've had my following line below:]

"popular?" more like attitude problem!.

[attitude problem extended to servers. if you're not one of the pretty people of lawrence, fergetaboutit.]

msezdsit 4 years, 11 months ago

Great, now I can drive right by Miltons again. Never been in the "Goofy's" and will continue that when it is , what, Miltons again. Very small expensive space. Great business plan. Didn't one of the Goofy guys say Lawrence "just didn't have a place you could just jump into your car and go to to have a good time". Wish I could find the Ljw link to this and give it a proper quote. Miltons food was so so and the service was so so. This is not a knock on the "servers" because most of them genuinely tried but it is awful hard to fix a restaurants problems by handing them off to the servers.

I think this might just be Mr. Lewis's "oops" moment that many of us saw when he announced he was closing Miltons to do "Goofys"

Isaias Shannon 4 years, 11 months ago

I hope that Milton's works out in the new space. I always enjoyed the food there and have many fond memories of breakfast with friends and family. As for Dave, I know him personally and he is a great guy - I think some of you have no manners to complain and disparage him in a public forum. Imagine yourself being bashed by total strangers based on what kind of "look" you had on your face one time...pretty unfair. Good luck Dave! Can't wait to have breakfast on the patio when the weather warms up!

mom_of_three 4 years, 11 months ago

Are you new here? it happens all the time....

Rosalie Granger 4 years, 11 months ago

To the owners credit, if 20 of his employees stayed with him, he can't be that bad. I never had a problem with Milton's and I certainly was never a regular. The service was always friendly, competent and as prompt as can be expected with as busy as they always were. Personally, I think y'all are haters. PS, bring back the breakfast potatoes!

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