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Saints Pub + Patio closes near 23rd and Iowa as speculation heats up that 810 Zone set to take the space
Get out that giant foam finger, the crimson and blue body paint, and all the other accessories required to be a self-respecting patron of a sports bar. The speculation is certainly heating up that one of Kansas City's larger sports bar chains is coming to Lawrence.
As we reported last week, there's a lot of talk on the street that 810 Zone, the sports bar chain that is part of the sports talk radio station 810 WHB, is interested in coming to Lawrence, especially along south Iowa Street. Well, a large spot has become available. Saints Pub + Patio, near the southwest corner of 23rd and Iowa, has officially closed its doors. The Saints spot certainly was the location most frequently mentioned by sources as a spot for 810 Zone to locate. There's still no official word from 810 Zone on its Lawrence plans, but I suggest you keep your foam finger on the pulse of this one.
"I don't want to say anything is 100 percent certain, but that definitely is the rumor I'm hearing," said Josh Thomas, who was the manager for the Saints operation in Lawrence.
Thomas added he expects to see the location, which can accommodate about 500 people, to be operating again in about a month's time.
Thomas said Saints had been open in Lawrence for almost three years.
"Business wasn't too bad, but of course, everybody would like to be busier," Thomas said.
As for 810 Zone, the bar and restaurant operates three locations in Kansas City — in the Leawood Town Center, the Harrah's Casino in North Kansas City and in Lee's Summit. The restaurant serves a variety of sandwiches, steak, fish, barbecue and even some fried chicken, according to the menu online. But it also is selling atmosphere. The Leawood location, for example, touts that it has 7 high-definition television screens of 100 inches, plus many of the booths have their own individual televisions as well. It also promotes a family fun area, "in-wall digital entertainment," and a 55-inch widescreen video golf area. The restaurants also include areas for 810 WHB to host live broadcasts. 810 WHB isn't one of the stations that carries KU football and basketball, but it extensively covers it. One of the station's top personalities, Kevin Kietzman, has deep K-State roots, and he's been known to rile a few KU fans over the years — which of course means that a regular feature with Kietzman coming to Lawrence probably would produce some good radio.
I'll let you know if I receive any official announcements from 810 Zone about their Lawrence plans. If 810 Zone, however, does move into the market, it will make for an interesting time in the sports bar scene. Noted radio personality David Lawrence, who is the color commentator for KU football, is in the process of opening his own sports restaurant and bar at Bob Billings and Wakarusa Drive. As we reported last month, Lawrence has partnered with longtime restaurant owner Matt Llewellyn of 23rd Street Brewery to go into the former Bambino's Italian restaurant space.