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Deep-dish pizza and funky old photos featured at new west Lawrence sports bar; city receives update on difficulties of fireworks ban; downtown parking changes on tap
There is a new player in the Lawrence pizza battle, and consider this one an offensive lineman version.
As we told you a couple months ago, former KU football player and current broadcaster David Lawrence was teaming up with longtime 23rd Street Brewery owner Matt Llewellyn to open a new sports bar and restaurant at Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive.
Well, indeed, Legends has opened recently, and now we know more about its menu offerings. Deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza is featured heavily. I do mean heavily. Llewellyn tells me that a small deep-dish pizza weighs four pounds.
"We think we're going to bring very unique food to Lawrence," Llewellyn said. "We'll have traditional dishes, but we think we'll do them in a unique way."
In addition to the deep-dish pizza, Legends also offers hamburgers, three kinds of steak, pastrami sandwiches, a meatball sub named after local coaching legend Wilbur "Nanny" Duver, and a whole page of items labeled "Hudy Approved Health Menu."
That would be Andrea Hudy, who has gained fame for overseeing the strength and conditioning program for the Kansas University men's basketball program since 2004. Hudy is a partner in the sports bar, Llewellyn said. Her healthy portion of the menu includes things such as the Cindy Self Caesar Salad, a steak and goat cheese salad, a Scotch egg salad, grilled Argentinian chicken, shrimp scampi and even pan-fried trout. (Personally, my plan is to put a four-pound deep-dish pizza in each hand and do curls with them as I eat. I'm thinking that has to win some type of stamp-of-approval.)
The restaurant also features more than 200 photos of former KU players, coaches and other local dignitaries. Those are well worth the look, if for no other reason, than to get some ideas for poses for your next family photo. Or, maybe not. I learned two things at the restaurant: Curling deep dish pizza may lead to pepperoni in your nose, and early 1900s photographers did you no favors with their fashionable poses.
If you look at several of the team football photos from that era, one of the players often will be stretched out in front of the team, with his head in the lap of another player. (Maybe he just ate a half-dozen deep dishes, I don't know.) Some of the other photos are interesting too, like the 1897 KU baseball team photo. It includes a dog. One KU football team photo includes a sled that looks like it had been well used by players the snowy day the photo was taken. And there are lots of old KU versus Missouri football photos, including one of the 1921 game, which shows Memorial Stadium before the north bowl was built. Notice in the photo that at least one house existed just a few feet away from the stadium. And since the KU-Missouri game used to always be played on Thanksgiving Day, there is even a team photo taken before one of the games where many of KU's stars are holding live turkeys.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
In other news and notes from around town:
• Get ready for Lawrence's annual expression of independence, where on the Fourth of July, hundreds of you show that you are free to break the city's law prohibiting fireworks.
City commissioners this year have asked for a report on why enforcement of the fireworks ban has seemed to be a bit lax in past years. The new report from the police department provides the answer most of us would expect: It takes a lot of time and effort to find a fireworks violator, and there is a high volume of other police calls happening on the July 4 holiday.
In 2013, according to the report, the city had 189 fireworks complaints and issued four citations and confiscated fireworks in 12 instances. Since 2008, the most citations the city has ever issued for violating the fireworks ban has been four.
In the memo, police department officials note that it can be difficult for officers to determine who is actually shooting off fireworks. In 2013, 40 percent of all fireworks calls resulted in no action because an officer couldn't determine an offending party after arriving at the scene.
In addition, the memo states a fireworks call that results in action taken usually will require at least 30 minutes of an officer's time. That's in part because fireworks confiscated from a suspect must be delivered to a designated fire station where they can be destroyed. It is not safe to put the fireworks in the evidence storage areas of the department.
The department does add extra staff during the holiday period, but the memo states those staff members often are occupied by the larger call volumes associated with "fights, domestic disturbances, alcohol offenses, and other volatile situations associated with individuals in a celebratory mood."
City commissioners are scheduled to receive the report at their Tuesday evening meeting. We'll see whether commissioners want the police department to take any extra enforcement steps this year. The department says it can do so, but it "would likely require a dedication of significant resources to adequately address the volume of calls and would necessitate a deliberate refocusing of resources from other operational commitments."
But the memo also warns that increased enforcement likely will continue to put officers in a difficult position.
"Often, citizens point to others around them when an officer contacts them about a violation, and they are quick to point out the abundance of firework stands adjacent to city streets at every main artery in and out of town," the memo states. "Additional public awareness and cooperation with the county on the issues could be another avenue to pursue."
If anything is to come of this, that is what I would keep an eye on: a request for the county to consider tightening its fireworks regulations in the future. Most fireworks have been banned from sale and use in the city limits since 2002. But the county doesn't have any such ban.
• Red, white and blue fireworks may not be the only brightly colored items to begin showing up in early July. An increase in those bright yellow envelopes for parking violations may start showing up on the windshields of some downtown motorists.
City officials have announced that July 7 will be the first day it starts charging parking rates in the new city-owned garage next to the expanded library at Seventh and Vermont streets. That, of course, means that you'll be subject to a ticket if you don't pay the fees.
The garage, however, still will have some free parking spots. Parts of the first and second levels will have two-hour free parking spaces, and the top, uncovered deck of the garage will be available for free 10-hour parking. The rest of the garage will charge for parking at a rate of $1 for up to 10 hours. The garage won't have parking meters nor those fancy gates you drive up to. Instead, it will have pay stations that you walk up to and pay. They will be located near the Vermont Street and Kentucky Street entrances. The machines will be able to accept credit cards or cash.