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Breakfast restaurant The Big Biscuit to open near Sixth and Wakarusa; Spangles closes its lone Lawrence location


We're just two days into 2014, and already this new year is conspiring against my utter devotion to high fashion.

Signs have emerged that the popular breakfast eatery The Big Biscuit will be opening a restaurant near Sixth and Wakarusa. That's of course a major fashion story in my household because biscuits and gravy are the ultimate Thai food. Check that. I mean Tie food, as in if there is a bowl of sausage gravy anywhere within a mile of me, my necktie will find its way into it.

According to signs that are up on the building, The Big Biscuit will be opening in the Westgate shopping center, which is the center that has Marisco's, Glory Days Pizza and several other longtime businesses. The restaurant will be taking the large, center anchor position of the shopping center. It will be the restaurant's sixth location. The other five are in the Kansas City metro area, with the closest one in Shawnee.

I've been out of the office for nearly two weeks, so I'm playing catch-up on this story. (Not to be confused with ketchup, which also makes a frequent appearance on my tie.) But I'll put a call into the business today to see if I can get more details about when the restaurant plans to open.

As its name suggests, the restaurant specializes in breakfast fare. According to its website, the restaurant has nearly 60 breakfast dishes on its menu. I'm talking about 11 omelets, ranging from your traditional Western omelet to one called a Ranchero that actually has grilled steak, jalapeno peppers and other ingredients. There are also nearly 10 kinds of pancakes, including a cinnamon roll version, blueberry, strawberry and banana pecan.

The restaurant also is open for lunch with a menu that includes a variety of burgers, sandwiches, chicken dishes and wraps. Of course, breakfast is also served during the lunch hour as well.

I'll let you know when I hear more details. In the meantime, I'll start shaving this beard off that I had started to grow over my vacation. What? You know what a beard and biscuits and gravy are, don't you? A to-go meal, without the to-go box.

In other news and notes from around town:

• If your New Year's resolution involved dressing up like Elvis and having a Turkey Turkey on Pita, it appears you now have one less option in Lawrence. According to the signs in the window, the Spangles near Sixth and Kasold has gone out of business. (What? You don't dress like Elvis when you go to a 1950s-style diner?)

As I mentioned earlier, I've been away growing a beard, so I don't have any info from Spangles yet on its decision to close the Lawrence restaurant, or whether it has any plans to reopen at another location in town. But I'll try to get in touch with the Wichita-based chain, which has restaurants in many of the larger cities in Kansas. The Spangles at 3420 W. Sixth St. was its only location in Lawrence. (SEE UPDATE BELOW.)

The restaurant made a big splash when it entered the Lawrence market. About 250 people camped outside the doors — I'm talking about in actual tents in the parking lot — when the restaurant opened in April 2006. Campers, who stayed through a thunderstorm, were hoping to win a contest where the first 100 people at the restaurant would win certificates for a year's worth of free meals.

It will be interesting to see what was behind the decision to close the Lawrence location some seven years later. I wasn't there often, but the restaurant seemed busy when I was there.

But, of course, a crowd always follows The King.

UPDATE: I chatted with Dale Steven, one of the owners of the Spangles chain this afternoon, and he confirmed the restaurant has no plans to reopen in another location in Lawrence.

"We're very disappointed but we would sure like to come back," Steven said. "We would like to look at other locations in town."

Steven said the company — which operates 28 restaurants across the state — decided that the location near Sixth and Kasold simply wasn't producing the sales the business expected. Steven said he thinks a location closer to Kansas University would be a better fit for the business.

Steven said Spangles leases the location at 3420 W. Sixth Street, which used to house a Runza restaurant. He said Spangles is trying to sub-lease the space to another tenant.


Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 1 month ago

Maybe the location that Spangles chose was somehow doomed. I was told it was built on the same site as 'Russell's East', which was an upscale restaurant here in Lawrence that closed many years ago, even though the food they served was excellent, in my opinion.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 1 month ago

Their original location in Salina, Kansas is still open after all these years, under the name of simply 'Russell's'. Lawrence represented the Russell family's push eastward, hence the name 'Russell's East'. So they must have been doing a few things right in order to say in business for something like 40 years. Not that many restaurants in Lawrence have a 40 year track record.

But, that said, I did have my own beefs with them. I'm a former employee of Russell's East, from 1975.

Rae Hudspeth 4 years, 1 month ago

It was a bit awkward to get in and out of at busy traffic times.

William Enick 4 years, 1 month ago

Big Biscuit needs to have a delivery service... friend has a breakfast joint in Chicago...Quadrupled his sales...

Curtis Lange 4 years, 1 month ago

No loss on Spangles. Their food was terrible. Terrible.

Michael Dennis 4 years, 1 month ago

Chad, Your reporting is impeccable and super valuable. However, the" I'm gonna get fatter and/or mess up my clothes by sloppily eating" theme for every new food-related enterprise is wearing thin...

Betty Bartholomew 4 years, 1 month ago

Nooo!!! Now I'll have to drive clear to Topeka for my Frito chili cheese bowl and fiesta breakfast bowl, both with extra jalapenos!!! (I should probably walk to Topeka and back to work off the calories...)

Wayne Cook 4 years, 1 month ago

Who cares that you've been out of the office for nearly two weeks and playing catch-up on this story. (Not to be confused with ketchup, which also makes a frequent appearance on my tie.)

What does this have to do with the story? Treat your few readers with more respect

But I'll put a call into the business today to see if I can get more details about when the restaurant plans to open. As I mentioned earlier, I've been away growing a beard, so I don't have any info from Spangles yet on its decision to close the Lawrence restaurant,

Again what has this to do with the story -- why write it.

A good reporter would have all the facts first before writing a story. If you don't have the facts, then WAIT.

If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever.
Use a hammer. Hit the point once. Winston Churchill

Lee Saylor 4 years, 1 month ago

Wow, what vitriol. This is Chad's blog. Most of the things he writes about get a formal news story when all the details are known. This blog has more than a 'few readers'. I appreciate Chad's efforts to make what could be very dry information entertaining. If you want to miss Chad's humor, ignore his blog and wait for the finished stories to appear.

Bob Forer 4 years ago

Lighten up, Wayne. Chad's humor may be cornball, but so what. He has a relaxed, friendly and down-home style of writing that many of us appreciate, even if we wouldn't pay to hear him do stand-up.

Greg DiVilbiss 4 years, 1 month ago

I agree Lee, if you do not like Chad's humor do not read his blog. Pretty simple solution, I don't like cottage cheese...I do not eat it and then criticize it for having bad texture...I just do not eat it.

I personally like the humor, the updates from Chad on what to expect as to when the blog is not going to be written.

Keep it up Chad!

Mary Alexander 4 years, 1 month ago

Keep writing the way you do Chad, I really love to read it. It makes my day.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 1 month ago

Some say tomato, some say potato. I read newspapers quite a bit finding Chad an excellent source of news delivered in a unique way. Joe Posnanski former head columnist KC-Star spent 15 years in this area and in all of his writings injected humor and personal info.

Oh, Joe has won so many awards crediting his writing would be hard to list them here. One of his latest NBC Sports (former Sports Illustrated writer too) focused on the top stories of the year. Being Joe, he wrote about coaching his daughters soccer team as being the top story.

Chad writes in the same style. Lucky to have him, especially for such a small local paper.

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