Coffee, beer and music come together at new Iowa Street pub
photo by: Journal-World photo/Chad Lawhorn
Maybe Lawrence businessman Shaun Trenholm has come up with the next great political slogan, courtesy of his new business Shaun & Sons Artisan Pub and Coffeehouse.
“Our slogan is ‘It takes a pub in every village,'” Trenholm said.
(I know some politicians who are willing to do the research on such a platform plank.)
Trenholm opened the business recently at 23rd and Iowa streets in the building that previously housed the Phoggy Dog bar. You may remember that about a year ago we reported on plans being filed for Shaun & Sons, and how Trenholm expected the business to have some unique twists to it.
Back then, Trenholm said he and his wife, Lori Trenholm, planned to donate a significant portion of business revenues to local nonprofits.
“We want to be community friendly,” said Shaun, who also works as a teacher at Woodlawn Elementary. Lori works for the Douglas County Community Foundation.
The pair have come up with a plan to regularly donate a half percent of weekday sales to the Lawrence Humane Society, a half percent to St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church’s Mission Nepal project that works to end human trafficking, and a half percent to Cottonwood Inc.
Plus, the business plans to have some special benefit events as well. The first one is on Saturday when the Lawrence-based Alferd Packer Memorial String Band will play a show at Shaun & Sons. Trenholm said the $10 cover charge will be split between the band and The Willow Domestic Violence Center. Trenholm also said 1.5 percent of sales on Saturday will go to Willow. The show is set from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The business itself has had some of its own struggles to overcome in the recent weeks. Shaun said he leaned heavily on Dana Shoup, a former manager of Lawrence’s Dunn Brothers Coffee, to get the coffee side of the business up and operating. But Shoup — a 33-year old, physically active soccer player — died unexpectedly from heart problems just two weeks after the restaurant’s opening.
“That has been really rough,” Trenholm said, who noted that thankfully Shoup’s mother had flown in from Alaska for the store’s grand opening and that she was able to see her son as part of that visit.
As the name suggests, the coffee lineup Shoup created is a big part of the business. Shaun & Sons gets its beans from Messenger Coffee Co. in Kansas City. The menu includes your standard dark and light roast varieties, plus lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, espresso, and many others, including a blend named after Lori, which features dark roasted beans from Peru, Columbia and Brazil.
Beer also is a big part of the business. The bar has 20 craft beers on tap, including from Lawrence Beer Company, Free State, Yankee Tank, Boulevard, ODell, Sierra Nevada, Dogfish and several others.
The shop is also notable for what it doesn’t have. The menu is devoid of meat, and most dishes are vegan. Shaun said the menu is the brainchild of Lori, who is a vegan. He said avocado toast has been the hit item so far, but the menu also features items such as salsa, guacamole, salads, smoothies and some veggie wraps.
Part of the menu choice came from Lori’s tastes, but Shaun also didn’t want a menu that competes with the West Coast Saloon, which is next door. Trenholm has been a co-owner of that business for more than three decades.
“If people want a hamburger, they can go to West Coast,” he said.
The same goes for a television. Shaun & Sons doesn’t have TVs. Trenholm said he was leaning toward putting a few TVs in the establishment, but music friends persuaded him otherwise.
“They told me it would kill the vibe for music,” he said. “So it is just coffee, beer and conversation. And nobody has complained about not having a TV.”
Thus far, Trenholm said the coffee business has been stronger than the beer business. That may change as students start to arrive in town for the new school year, but Trenholm’s not sure. He said he’s happy to have college customers, but that’s not his primary goal.
“I’m really hoping that we are going to lock in with the locals,” he said. “I don’t want the perception that we are chasing the KU buck, because I don’t think that really works. We are trying to give the place a downtown feel and atmosphere, but with parking.”