Fast-food hamburger restaurant, with a Mexican twist, coming to 23rd Street

Courtesy: Jack in the Box Inc.

There is a lot to unpack in this box: Hamburgers and tacos on the same menu, but perhaps one less chance to talk like a pirate in Lawrence. Shiver me timbers. What is ye talking about matey? Plans have been filed for the fast-food restaurant chain Jack In The Box to take the place of the Long John Silver’s/A&W restaurant on 23rd Street.

If you are not a fast-food connoisseur (I’m not because I could have eaten two hamburgers in the time it takes me to spell “connoisseur”) you may not be familiar with Jack In The Box. The restaurant chain is prevalent in many parts of the country, but not in Lawrence. The KC metro area has seven of the restaurants, including nearby at The Legends district by the Kansas Speedway and in Olathe.

What makes Jack In The Box stand out a bit from the fast-food crowd is it won’t confine itself to just one fast-food genre. Instead, it has both hamburgers and fast-food Mexican on its menu.

On the burger front it has a couple of premium burgers that they call Ribeye Burgers, including a fancy one with Havarti and grilled onions. The menu includes about a dozen other hamburgers including some served on “butter buns” and a few served on sourdough bread.

On the Mexican side of the menu, it really is more of a taco menu rather than full-fledged Mexican fare. For instance, it doesn’t have burritos or the most Mexican of dishes — tater tots with celery salt. (Batten down the hatches, landlubbers. It is Tuesday and I’ve got Potato Oles on my mind.) The taco menu includes about four different varieties, including one called a Bacon Ranch Monster Taco.

Of course, the restaurant has chicken on its menu. As we’ve found out in Lawrence, chicken is really more of a way of life than a menu item. Perhaps that was Long John Silver’s downfall — it brought fish to a chicken fight. (If you believe in the local food movement, though, Long John Silver’s was for you. They have deep fried Twinkies on their menu. Twinkies are made in Emporia, which is considered local to me, especially when deep fried is involved.)

I can’t say with certainty that we have seen the end of Long John Silver’s in Lawrence. It is always possible that it will relocate in Lawrence. I’ve got a call into the restaurant to find out. If Long John Silver’s doesn’t reopen in Lawrence, it will be the end of a longtime Lawrence restaurant. I’m pretty sure there has been a Long John Silver’s the entire 25 years I’ve been in Lawrence.

If you are unfamiliar with the location, the Long John Silver’s/A&W restaurant is at 1501 W. 23rd St. Plans filed at City Hall call for the current building to remain in place, but to be completely remodeled. Also look for parking lot and landscape improvements as part of the project. No word yet on when Jack In The Box may open, but I would guess the construction will take several months.

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