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La Parrilla set to move into former Tapas building on Massachusetts Street


I wonder what type of music they play in Mexican musical chairs. Whatever it is, keep an ear out for it on Massachusetts Street.

I’ve gotten confirmation that the popular Mexican/Latin American eatery La Parrilla will be moving into the space that recently was vacated by Tapas at 724 Massachusetts Street.

Allison Vance Moore, of the Lawrence office of Colliers International, confirmed to me that she has brokered a deal for the owners of La Parrilla to buy the large downtown building that previously housed several other restaurants, including Joe Shmo’s, and way back when, Prairie Fire.

The purchase was finalized on Friday, and Moore said La Parrilla has tentatively set a late spring timeline to open in the new location, a block from its current spot at 814 Massachusetts.

La Parrilla has been open in downtown since 1999, when Subarna Bhattachan and Alejandro Lule teamed up to open the restaurant that focuses on dishes from Mexico, Central America and South America. The duo has become one of the more successful restaurant teams in downtown over the last decade. The pair also is part of the ownership group that owns Zen Zero and Genovese restaurants. Last spring, the pair began a Kansas City area expansion, opening a La Parrilla at 119th and Strang Line Road in Olathe.

I haven’t yet gotten in touch with Bhattachan or Lule to find out their plans for the new space, which is significantly larger than what they have currently.

But Moore told me there has been some talk of using the upstairs space at the new location for private parties or to host special events, similar to the wine and food tastings that Genovese frequently hosts.

If I get in touch with either of the two chefs today, I’ll let you know of anything else interesting.

As for Tapas, we reported last week that it plans to re-open but hasn’t yet announced a new location or timeline. I still haven’t confirmed either, but sources tell me that Tapas indeed is serious about re-opening. I’m told a location on Massachusetts Street is most likely.

Then there is La Parrilla’s soon-to-be-former spot at 814 Massachusetts Street. That building is owned by a company led by longtime Lawrence landlords George and Judy Paley. I also don’t have anything confirmed about its future, but sources tell me a tenant already is in the works, most likely a restaurant of some sort. So, plenty more to write about in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, cue the music, and somebody start packing the chips and salsa.


msezdsit 5 years, 3 months ago

Krause opened up his version of La Parrilla and went away pretty fast. Pretty effective way to disrupt competition by buying the building and sending Topas on down the road. Part of Parilla's success has been its simplicity. Moving into the new space will change the formula of the restaurant. I trust these guys to have made the right decision because they usually do. However the remodel they did on Parilla (when Krause entered the scene) was awful. They should have left it alone. Doesn't seem it would take long for this to be opened up.

GUMnNUTS 5 years, 3 months ago

Tapas made the mistake of breaking their lease on the building believing the owner would let them stay on. Who does that? Look for Krause to open something up in the old La Parrilla space.

jack22 5 years, 3 months ago

When I read the name La Parilla I had to think about it before I could remember why it sounded so familiar. I used to eat there a few times a month when they first opened because I always enjoyed their good food and casual atmosphere. After the remodel I went there less and less and then just started getting food to go before giving up on them entirely. The food has always been very good, but I don't want to eat anywhere where the tables are nearly stacked on top of one another and it's so loud you have to yell to have a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Please bring back the casual dining experience and reasonably priced food. I don't need fancy overpriced drinks to make my tacos and burritos seem more gourmet.

Keith 5 years, 3 months ago

The Basil Leaf is hinting about a move, perhaps they'll be in the old La Parilla space.

Jimmy 5 years, 3 months ago

I also like the remodel. I didn't find the seating any more cramped, and noise has never been an issue.

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