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Kansas City company files plans to open bakery, restaurant in former Jayhawk Bookstore building

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When I was at KU, I became an expert in Danish studies. There were cherry ones, there were lemon ones, and so many others that I should have gotten a diploma but instead just left with 20 extra pounds. Well, KU students may get a similar chance if a new plan for the old Jayhawk Bookstore building is approved.

Plans have been filed for a McLain’s Market to locate in the former bookstore building at 1420 Crescent Road, which of course is at the top of the hill and right on the edge of the KU campus.

The business is part of the same McLain’s Market that operates in Kansas City. An employee at the store there referred questions about a Lawrence location to a manager, but I haven’t yet heard back.

McLain’s Market operates at I-435 and Roe in Overland Park. The store is a sister to McLain’s Bakery, which has a multidecade tradition in the Waldo district of Kansas City. According to its website, McLain’s serves a variety of pastries, plus a breakfast and lunch menu.

The breakfast menu includes bacon, sausage, egg and cheese dishes, plus a granola parfait, a veggie quiche and a breakfast burrito. The lunch menu includes several salads, sandwiches, some wraps and even fancier fare, including a sirloin dish that comes with pears, pesto, mushrooms, cauliflower and a balsamic reduction.

But the business has it roots in the dessert world. McLain’s Bakery dates back to 1945 in the Waldo district. The main attractions were a “chocolate cup cookie,” something called a butter roll, and a German chocolate coffee cake. The bakery is on a new set of owners, but those traditional menu items have remained.

According to the company’s website, the restaurant’s dessert menu also includes a variety of danishes, croissants, muffins, scones and more than a half-dozen flavors of coffee cake.

Jayhawk Bookstore is located at 1420 Crescent Road, just off the KU campus at Crescent and Naismith Drive.

Jayhawk Bookstore is located at 1420 Crescent Road, just off the KU campus at Crescent and Naismith Drive. by Sara Shepherd

The plans on file with City Hall indicate the building will receive a new facade, and the ground floor will be completely remodeled to accommodate a kitchen and seating area and a little bit of space for merchandise sales. The second floor space will include a public seating area for students who may want to use the area as a study hall, as well as a private room that can be rented for events, meetings and other such functions, according to the plans.

It is not clear from the filing whether McLain’s plans to serve beer and other liquor as part of its menu. The one in Overland Park does offer spirits. It also isn’t clear to me what approvals that may require from City Hall. But based on everything I’ve seen from the company, the business certainly doesn’t appear to be anything close to a bar. The Overland Park location closes at 9 p.m. or earlier every day.

As we reported in October, Kansas City-based Axiom Equities bought the old book store building that is just west of the Chi Omega fountain and the main entrance to Jayhawk Boulevard. At the time, the leaders of that group said they were fielding multiple inquiries from restaurants and coffee shops that wanted to be next to campus.

I’ve got a call into the building’s owners for more details. When I hear back from them or the folks at McLain’s, I’ll let you know more.

Comments

Clara Westphal 2 months ago

If the food is good, that should be a gold mine for the owners. Great location.

Richard Heckler 2 months ago

I ditto Clara .........

This is one new operation that will survive for decades I speculate.

Kurt Kummer 2 months ago

I remember my parents pointing out that spot back in the early 1960's. They said they used to meet there for "Coke dates" back when they were KU students. If it was a popular place that long ago, it'll probably do great again. Location, location, location.

Jim Haack 2 months ago

Mid-70's we ate pizza there and they had a cool new game called Pong !

David Holroyd 2 months ago

And how long will approval take from Dr McCullough's office, the one who wants one stop convenience at Planning and Lack of Development?

Did the corner really sell for $3million? If so,,,how does rent from a bakery pay that off even with the apartments rented upstairs.

If the place is not open all night it might survive, otherwise the litter outside will drive the neighbors on Crescent Road NUTS!

They fought a restaurant before , but now only a few left alive.

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