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Duo has plan to convert Teller's into gastropub with heavy emphasis on craft beers; Papa Murphy's opens with special event for Boys and Girls Club today


In Lawrence, beer is art. If you don’t believe me, drive through certain neighborhoods and behold the beer-bottle pyramids erected on many a front porch.

Well, it looks like Lawrence beer lovers may soon have another way to express their love for the beverage: a gastropub.

A deal is in the works to convert the longtime, downtown, upscale restaurant Teller’s into a gastropub that focuses on Midwest food and an extensive list of libations, led by a large lineup of craft beers.

The idea for the new restaurant comes from T.K. Peterson, the former executive chef of The Oread, and Philip Wilson, the operating manager of Teller’s.

Peterson left his position at The Oread last week, and if all goes as planned, he’ll join Wilson at Teller’s next month.

“It is a concept that I’m passionate about,” Peterson told me. “We feel like Lawrence needs a new restaurant concept like this, but really why it comes down to this is the type of food I like to cook.”

What type of food will that be? I don’t know. My mind was still on the beer. (What can I say? I’m a dedicated patron of the arts.) Peterson said the plan is for the restaurant to work with the usual brewers and develop relationships with many small-batch breweries, and perhaps even have some special batch brews created just for the restaurant.

Notice that I have used the word “plan” quite a bit here. Some details are still being worked out on this deal, but Peterson and Wilson agreed to share a few details with me because the rumor mill had started to crank up about the future of Teller’s and whether it was set to close.

As it is currently envisioned, Teller’s, 746 Massachusetts St., is scheduled to close temporarily for a major renovation. Wilson said the closing likely would take place around July 1 and the business would reopen in its new form before the students arrive in late August.

As for whether the new restaurant will keep the Teller’s name, Peterson said that hadn’t been decided. “We don’t know on that yet, but it is hard to ignore the kind of name recognition Teller’s has, not only locally but really with alumni across the country.”

The project will be a bit of a homecoming for Peterson. He worked at Teller’s while attending the Culinary Institute at Johnson County. In total, Peterson has about 12 years on the Lawrence food scene, including stints at the former upscale French restaurant Bleu Jacket at The Eldridge and for the last 17 months as the executive chef at The Oread.

It sounds like this project will be one to watch in the coming months. I’ll update you as a I get more information.


On another restaurant note, those of you who want some pizza and don’t want to get out of the car to get it are in luck. As we previously reported, Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza is one of the tenants opening in the new retail building at 650 Congressional Drive, which is just west of the Famous Dave’s BBQ location at Sixth and Wakarusa.

Well, Papa Murphy’s is now open at the location. (Wireless Zone, a Verizon Wireless phone dealer, is also open at that site. Other tenants for the location will include Prime Martial Arts and Meritrust Credit Union.) But back to pizza. Papa Murphy’s is hosting a special event today, where 20 percent of all sales made at the shop will go to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.

As for the part about having the pizza placed right in your car, the location has a drive-through, which is a new concept for Papa Murphy’s in Lawrence. But hopefully you realize the “Take ‘N’ Bake” in Papa Murphy’s name means you have to cook the pizza yourself.

I don’t know about your vehicle, but my old F-150 doesn’t have an oven (or a working cassette player or a rear view mirror or brakes), so you may still have to get out of your vehicle to enjoy the pizza.

Or maybe not. I’ll ponder on it a bit. It is a beautiful May day. Perhaps I’ll do some pondering with a piece of pizza and a healthy dose of art, if you know what I mean.


oldbaldguy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

time does not remain the same. too expensive for what you got. have not been back for 4 years.


overplayedhistory 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Who cares so long that it is good? I know from direct experience, the old occupants buy local as do the new occupants. The space is occupied which is better than empty.

I often wonder how much experience critics have of operating a business and/or restaurant experience. I guess is very little. I have a gut feeling, that both the old and new occupants are doing more for the local economy, than I imagine those who criticize are.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it you computer couchtards! So called consumer feedback is not the only thing that drives the economy.


hipgrrrrl 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Everything about Tellers got better when the old manager came on. Then, everything got truly bad again when he left to open 715. Their much acclaimed new chef - who has maybe left at this point - couldn't cook his way out of a paper bag...they had big braggin' on him going on in their brochure and online talking about all the celebrities he had cooked for and after eating there once he was ensconced, I was firmly of the opinion maybe he had done some prep work in those situations - perhaps he had diced up carrots for the mirepoix - but surely nothing else. The current manager comes across as a failed frat boy and doesn't like handling any issues, the service has disintegrated - although there are a few good ones and I admit a weakness for the mustachioed waiter - and the bathrooms are now usually dirty. Their cocktails are overwrought and far too heavy handed, the quality of the food is highly questionable (there is never any reason to serve yellowed kale, people). Teller's food resembles bad hotel food - and taking on a chef from The Oread to change things is quite laughable since The Oread happily serves bad hotel food. I actually really hate eating there. Unfortunately, my husband does not share my distaste...


jane_doe 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Love the building. Hated the restaurant. Just too high tone. I'm honestly looking forward to retrying it! Change doesn't have to be bad unless they are totally with the idea in the first place. At least they aren't doing another Mexican restaurant. Geesh.


Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tellers interior design is absolutely cool to fascinating. I would spend no money redesigning the interior. Nice bar...

Keep some fine italian and bring on whatever some midwestern fare might be....

Do some fabulous guacamole while the menu is being altered.

Wait service on the bar side could be improved cuz some folks prefer that side while munching,dining and sipping. Pay attention to all your customers no matter what.

Not that many eating establishments in Lawrence can command high dollar menu's so it may be time to adjust accordingly.


Steven Gaudreau 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The only current menu in Lawrence which could be considered Gastrpub fare would be Pachmama's Starbar menu. Sorry folks but the Red Beans & Rice and Fish & Chips at Freestate is not considered Gastropub fare. Gastropub is when fine dining techniques and food are transformed into high quality bar fare. The Spotted Pig in NYC is a gastropub.


Lori Nation 11 months, 3 weeks ago

There needs to be a push to bring more to the SE side of town. Stop building on the West side.


Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

great tofu stuffed mushrooms ....


Currant 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Wonder if they'll serve gastropods...


repaste 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Seems to me the first builder had a hard time getting paid for his work. I hope the new contractor has better luck. My only time at dinner there was marked by observing the line cook overheat his pan, catch the oil on fire, then putting his face in the pan and blowing hard repeatedly to extinguish the flames.


Chris Jeter 11 months, 4 weeks ago

food stinks, bar makes good cocktails though.


Meatwad 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Tellers food never disappointed. I loved it! But the prices were so sky high I only went about once per year. I'm eager to see the change. I hope they have some healthy options too.


gatekeeper 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Went to Teller's twice and felt like I got average food for outrageous prices. The 2nd time, we ordered a bottle of red wine and when we asked for them to put in in a decanter to breath, they had no idea what we were talking about and poured it into a pitcher. We had taken my snobbish, wine enthusiast father-in-law from California for dinner and he had to explain to them why you let red wine breath. You would think the staff at a supposedly upscale, mainly Italian restaurant would have a clue about serving red wine. That was eight years ago and we've never been back. My father in law always thought KS was lame and uncivilized and he really thought that after visiting there.

Basil Leaf is so much better and looking forward to them moving into their new location.


jack22 11 months, 4 weeks ago

The building that houses Tellers is such a great venue for a restaurant. I hope the new concept is a success and I'm eager to give it a try. It would be really nice if they had a decent wine selection to compliment the food and beer, hint, hint.


Steve Hillyer 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Where did the term "gastropub" come from? Doesn't sound like it is that interesting or different to me, now if they were going to brew their own beer that would interest me but just another restaurant that will have a lot of beer on tap (Old Chicago, Barleys), not that excited.


chootspa 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Don't we already have a gastropub called "Free State Brewery?"


Keith Richards 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I love the idea of a gastropub. Never have been fond of the food or pricing at Tellers.


rockchalkjayhawk 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Tellers has gone down hill quickly over the last few years. I'm looking forward to the change.


orbiter 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Wow, Nonsense, you must be a joy to be around. Onward on your straight line towards the cold grave!


Nonsense 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Well, scratch off another restaurant to a failed change of vision. I predict the death of Tellers, just like the death of Milton's, Vermont St. BBQ, and many others. Why do owners insist on changing things when they work. How many succesful estasblishments have we seen go down the drain becuase someone is bored with the status qou. My restauRANT is over now.


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