Restaurant featuring chili and tamale pie set to open in downtown Lawrence

If a spicy bowl — or hot tub — of chili sounds good right about now, you’ll want to take notice of a new downtown Lawrence restaurant.

Lawrence chef Sarah Busse plans to open Archibowls at 125 E. 10th St., which was the former home of Ramen Bowls before it moved to its new location on Massachusetts Street. Archibowls will feature chili and something called “tamale pies.” What you need to know about both is that they bring the heat.

“I’m here to cater to people who aren’t kidding when they say they want spicy food,” Busse said.

The restaurant is scheduled to open on Friday.

Archibowls’ menu will have at least four types of chili. (What a coincidence. That’s the same number my tie usually has on it.) Busse said her standout chili is the “Sincerely Spicy” Green Chili. It features four types of peppers, plus tomatillos and tomatoes. Diners can order it with pork or vegan-style. There also is a “slightly spicy” green chili version, plus a red chili that features a beef or mushroom broth, and a white chili that includes white beans, sweet corn and chicken.

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Then there is this business of tamale pies. Think of it basically like a pot pie filled with potatoes and chili, but instead of a flaky, traditional crust, the crust is made from the type of corn masa used to make tamales. Busse said she was looking for a way to “make green chili more accessible,” so she came up with this creation. (Note: I’ve found it is always accessible if you carry it around on your tie.) In addition to being unique, the dish is also gluten free.

Busse said the tamale pies seemed to be her calling card at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market stand she ran last year. The success at the market caused her to begin seriously looking for a restaurant space. She said she has long had the recipe for the chili, having made that since she was a girl in Colorado, where the cold winters can make green chili a bit of an addiction.

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“I just saw an opportunity to jump in here and be the person for Colorado-style green chili,” Busse said. “All the ingredients are really well supplied here in Kansas.”

Busse said during the summer she’ll get chili peppers grown in Kansas. She also said the pork and the beef would come from Kansas producers.

Speaking of summer, Busse said she’s not worried about chili business making less sense in the heat of a Kansas summer. The restaurant will have some salads, smoothies, Italian sodas and other grab-and-go items. But she fully expects lots of green chili to be sold in the summer months too. She said once people become green chili aficionados, they’ll understand that it is more than just a hearty soup. People will use it as a gravy for enchiladas and eggs and any number of other dishes. Busse said she’ll even be selling green chili by the quart because it’s common in many locales for people to keep a jug of green chili in the fridge to use as an ingredient in cooking.

“I’m not worried about the summer,” she said. “They’ll start craving it.”