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Teller's restaurant to change name and concept to Merchants Pub & Plate


It’s official: Teller’s restaurant is now a thing of the past.

We reported in May that the downtown institution Teller’s, 746 Massachusetts St., was closing to undergo renovations and a change in concept from Italian-American eatery to a gastropub.

But at the time, the owners weren’t sure whether the Teller’s name would remain. Well, new chef TK Peterson and general manager Philip Wilson have announced the new restaurant will be called Merchants Pub & Plate. The name pays homage to the Merchants National Bank, which the duo says was the first tenant of the historic bank building at the corner of Eighth and Massachusetts streets.

Folks will have to wait a bit longer, though, to see what a pub and plate restaurant involves. The restaurant is still undergoing renovations, and is not set to open until mid-August.

But as you can imagine, any restaurant with pub in its name is going to have a strong emphasis on beer. The restaurant plans to have 30 beers on tap, plus wines and “craft cocktails.” (I think that means you have to knit while you drink — which is the best way to knit — but I’m not sure of that.)

As for the menu, the duo is describing it as a “new dining concept reflective of the region.” I haven’t seen a full menu for the establishment, but the announcement mentioned “locally-inspired pub fare” such as homemade pimento cheese, fried green tomato sandwiches, and grilled quail panzanella salad.

The restaurant also plans to offer something called a “Chef’s Table.” It will be a single table at the restaurant that can be reserved for one seating per night. The menu for the table will be personally designed and prepared by Peterson, previously was the chef at The Oread hotel.

The restaurant will provide samples from its menu at the Phoenix Gallery during the Final Fridays event downtown this Friday.

I know some of you have gift certificates to Teller’s and want to know if they will be honored at the new restaurant. That wasn’t mentioned in the announcement. I’m checking on it, and if I get word about it, I’ll provide an update in this space. UPDATE: I've heard back from a representative of the restaurant who says Merchants gladly will accept gift certificates from Teller's.


redweathered 9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Richard Heckler 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Want the food to be real good with a few vegetarian choices....

Perhaps some yumo guacamole...

I think 30 taps is too many and would prefer a few good choices from Free State, New Belgium and Boulevard.

Of course best wishes on this endeavor.


juma 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Beer is NOT wine or spirits. It must be kept under ideal temperature conditions and will go 'off taste' over a short time. Pete says clear the lines; I hope that Pete is not in the alcohol/bar business because he would lose it with that lack of knowledge. The beer goes off in the keg. Many of the so-called craft beers are distributed by wine&spirits people who do not keep the beer cold and could care less. Those who drink this do so for show only. Keep the beers to a manageable list and serve good taste.


msezdsit 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is a well warn concept but maybe it will work. Tellers always tried to pretend they were a high end high star restaurant and they never were. Pachamama's makes a major effort to be what tellers always pretended to be. I would take 715 over tellers any day. A change, any change, should be an improvement. Interestingly enough, their is a family tree between pacha,715, and tellers.


brink75 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Another Freestate point, one would think you'd want to be one of those 30 taps. I know I would as a brewery, some breweries have guest taps from time to time. Wait and see what beers are there, if Freestate doesn't want to be poured there that's a odd elitist decision.


brink75 9 months, 3 weeks ago

A "new concept " it is not, but a change of scenery for Lawrence. There are many places like this in KC, giving good options in drink and food. Of course parking downtown can be a hassle. Not sure exactly why a lot of folks are rushing to defend Freestate. Freestate is a brewery, not a gastropub, the food is OK, and on occasion the beer selection is decent. Last time I checked they weren't in any jeopardy of closing the doors.


juma 9 months, 3 weeks ago

30 beers on tap!!!???? I am always amused when the 'new' pub owners think that having all the beers in the world on tap is a good idea. Try keeping them fresh and in-date; won't happen. In a year they will be down to half and maybe less later. They will also think they should serve their direct competitors beer; Free State. Tellers sold FS beer but then Tellers was not a direct competitor to FS. Now they will be. Good luck but I will miss Tellers and do not look forward to another 'beer pub/drinking hole' on Mass.


KU79 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Hopefully they'll honor my Teller's gift certificate. If they do, I'll give it a shot and probably be a regular customer. If they don't, I doubt I ever walk through the door.


pagan_idolator 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I know most are excited by the idea of 30 beers on tap but I am excited about the craft cocktails - think drinks made with fresh juice instead of powdered drink mixes. I think its a good concept. This will be a place for a few drinks instead of a few drunks. If they are doing a real gastropub you can expect freshly prepared food (not frozen items) and really good cocktails. Yeah it will cost more than a chain restaurant or your typical downtown bar.


Irenaku 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Nooo! Sheesh. It's like the Milton's-Loopys-Milton's thing all over again. "Tellers" says classy and chic. Any name with the word "Pub" in it just sounds tired and unoriginal. Why do people insist on fixing what isn't broken??


lunatic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Change is inevitable. Best of luck guys.


waitjustaminute 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Would love to see a gluten free offering too. I have a relative who has the allergy and hates to go out to eat due to the risk.


Kay Traver 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Hopefully the location will keep it popular. Best of luck to you Phil and TK! I look forward to checking it out. Missing it closed now.


Bob Forer 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Would love to see some authentic New York Delicatessen fare, e.g. Corned Beef, Roast Beef, Pastrami, potato salad, cole slaw, dill pickles, etc on the lunch menu. Have lived in Lawrence for over forty years, and the deli food here is drek--nothing at all like the great Deli food available in NYC.


jack22 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm eager to give this new place a try. If they increase the bar area, have good food, and a ton of TV's to watch KU basketball, I'll probably be a frequent customer. I'm kind of surprised with the choice of name. Pub and Plate? A simple name like Merchants probably would have been enough, why add plate to the name? Was Merchant's pub, tables, chairs, and silverware already taken?


irvan moore 9 months, 3 weeks ago

it takes courage and confidence to open a new business, congratulations on having both, good luck


Defixione 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey, everyone, it's the new coke!


Aiko 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I have been a fan of Tellers since 1998 but look forwarding to frequenting the new Merchants. See you there MerchantsOnMass.........


oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Hope the rent is cheap! IF this place has an SBA loan, I hope it doesn't go the watch that many in Lawrence has.

If the new operators can figure out how to make the place quieter when one dines, it mifpght be worth going to.


naturalist 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I sure hope that beautiful bar hasn't been taken out.


jesse499 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh good another reason not to go downtown.


jane_doe 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Kind of excited! I volunteer to test all the beer and the entire menu! pick me!


Ricky_Vaughn 9 months, 3 weeks ago

As if there aren't enough places to drink in Lawrence...


boiled 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Wife and I have really enjoyed Teller's for the food and atmosphere, and it is a easy place to get to. Now, are they trying to draw the young, free-spirited, dreadlocked, non-tipping bohemian crowd maybe?

I am not sure---but we'll give them a chance but I'd say as Chad Lawhorn put it, Teller’s restaurant is now a thing of the past.

At least for this couple. Sad, as it was the only reason we even went to Lawrence for the most part.

Buh-bye Teller's (formerly).


MacHeath 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I think the pub thing has been done to death. Are you going to beat a micro brewery?

I don't know how long you can keep a given keg of beer on tap, but there has to be a limit? I can't really see bellying up to the bar in there. Hey, lets go to Tellers and drink some beer? Beer drinking is serious business. Sipping on a 6 oz sample is not what beer drinking is all about!

Craft cocktails? You mean expensive cocktails that don't taste a bit better than a non-craft cocktail made well?

Peterson? Really? I hope the quail panzanella tastes like my Mom's! Locally inspired and filled with pretentious goodness!


friendlyjhawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Will the food be better and the portions a little larger? And will the prices be low, medium or high?


kef104 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Never change a name that is established and respected. Unless this place is seriously better than FreeState Brewery, which is next to impossible, it will probably not make it.


Jimmy 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm excited for the change-up. For craft beer lovers, this is something Lawrence has been missing. Yeah there are plenty of place with 5-10 taps and a ton of bottles, but 30 taps is a big leap forward. Hopefully they have a good bar area and focus on keeping those taps rotating with interesting beers. And of course I hope they do a nice job with the food too!


boltzmann 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, changing the name and concept worked so well for Milton's.


Virgil_Caine 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Teller's had a good run, but their concept had run its course. At one time I would have said it was one of the top two or three places in town, but not in recent years. The menu was boring, and the food was pretty hit-or-miss. For the prices they were charging, you can do so much better in Lawrence these days. I really like the idea of Merchants, and I can't wait to try it out.


flloyd 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Best of luck to the new owners. Thirty beers on tap? Right on!!!

Please include some vegan items on your menu. Our planet will thank you!


Rae Smith Evans 9 months, 3 weeks ago

oh...goody.....another one. This one is opening with a chef with not the best reputation for flavor in this town. Sigh.....


thepianoman 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I sure hope he's making the right descision. He's tampering with a brand/name that's been around for years. That's awful risky. What do I know? I don't own a restaurant.


GUMnNUTS 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope TK puts out better food with this venture than he did at 5-21. Ate there twice with very disapointing results.The service was fine but the food was bland and ill prepared.


kernal 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh, good. Another pub/brewery restaurant. I was afraid they were going the way of the dinosaur as we have so few of them in Lawrence.


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