Lawrence restaurants: Terrebonne owner loves town’s varied restaurant scene
This Q&A appeared in the Jan. 22, 2020, edition of the Journal-World’s Crave food supplement. More from that section, including interviews with Lawrence restaurateurs, can be found here.
Greg Renck, owner of Terrebonne Cafe, recently sat down with the Journal-World to talk about po’boys, the local restaurant scene and — maybe — putting salad on the menu.
Terrebonne, 805 Vermont St., is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Q: What’s your favorite item on your restaurant’s menu?
A: I always look forward to Saturday when we serve a roast beef po’boy. It’s made with smoked brisket and it’s a bit on the sloppy side, but delicious. As far as everyday items, the jambalaya is what I usually recommend to first-timers. It’s a little soupier than most, has great flavor and comes with a couple of hush puppies.
Q: How did you get into this profession?
A: I started working at a Little Caesars while at KU, spent time in the kitchens of a few local restaurants — Becerro’s, Molly McGee’s, The Merc Deli, Free State, WheatFields, The Mirth Cafe. Then I decided to take it seriously somewhere along the line and was fortunate enough to find the tiniest restaurant in town when I decided to take the plunge into ownership.
Q: What is the one trend in food that you are most excited about right now?
A: I love the amount of variety and uniqueness among local restaurants and food service these days. I feel like there’s a lot of genuine enthusiasm among cooks, servers and bartenders, and diners who really embrace local businesses.
Q: Other than your own restaurant, what restaurant would you most like to eat at in Lawrence?
A: There are more wonderful options in town than ever before. I love The Roost and Ladybird for breakfast or lunch. Everything I’ve ever had at Nagoya has been fantastic and beautiful. I love the Mass St. Fish House when I want to be a little fancy. And the tacos at Crimson & Brews will forever be my favorite bar food.
Q: How do you go about trying to balance the ideas of healthy eating and creating a really flavorful dish?
A: OK, I’ll just be honest: I really don’t try. Our desserts are sweet, our servings are large and our signature item is typically deep-fried and served on a white roll. One thing I’m considering for 2020 is serving an actual salad for the first time, but until then your healthiest option is to save half of your sandwich for later and maybe take a nice walk after lunch.
Q: What’s your best advice for someone who is trying to become a better cook?
A: Get a job in a kitchen! You’ll learn and practice knife skills, get comfortable with a lot of tools and equipment and get exposure to new ingredients and flavors. You’ll also enjoy the monotony of making the same thing hundreds of times, the thrill of hot oil splatters and fingertip cuts and the joy of saying “behind you” a few dozen times a day.