Mexican restaurant chain closes its location on 23rd Street

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

The chain Mexican restaurant Qdoba has closed its lone Lawrence store after only about three years in town.

Story updated 10:24 a.m. Monday

One stretch of Lawrence street is losing another Mexican restaurant. The city’s lone Qdoba Mexican Eats announced Friday that it has closed.

Qdoba was located at 1714 W. 23rd St., which is a stretch of street that at one point probably had more Mexican restaurants per square foot than any place in town. It maybe still does, but the Qdoba closing comes a few months after Taco John’s left that stretch of 23rd Street to make way for a Sprint phone store.

If you aren’t familiar with Qdoba, it is one of the top national restaurant chains that start with the letter Q. It basically is a Chipotle with a bit broader menu. It has several styles of burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, salads and more.

I don’t have any word on why Qdoba closed. But a sign on the door says the location is no longer open and lists a couple of Kansas City area locations that guests can visit.

Qdoba opened up the 23rd Street location in early 2016 after spending a fair amount to completely renovate the site. So its stay in Lawrence wasn’t that long. In fact, this is the second time Qdoba has tried Lawrence. The restaurant also had a downtown location that closed in the early to mid-2000s, I believe.

1714 W 23rd St, Lawrence, KS 66046

The closing continues a trend on 23rd Street, and that stretch just west of Naismith Drive particularly has a lot of vacancies at the moment. Potbelly’s sandwich shop closed a few months ago, and that site is still vacant. Nearby, a building that years ago used to be a Pizza Hut has been empty for what seems like almost a decade now. A building that housed a used motorcycle dealership is right next to it, and it also is vacant. More recently, the portion of the relatively new building that housed The Mattress Hub also is empty after that retailer relocated to 25th and Iowa streets.

One prominent retailer, though, is bucking the trend. Construction is underway in the parking lot of the shopping center that houses the Harbor Freight tool store — the shopping center where Hobby Lobby used to be. We’ve already reported this, but in case you have forgotten, that new building will house a Starbucks. You can trade out your salsa for coffee.

Actually, there is no need to give up your Mexican food craving. That stretch of 23rd Street still is lined with Mexican restaurants. Between 23rd Street and Naismith, there’s El Mezcal, Border Bandido, Chipotle and Taco Bell, and I wouldn’t swear that I haven’t forgotten one.

But, as I’ve said before, it will be interesting to watch future development on 23rd Street. As 23rd Street carries less traffic now that the South Lawrence Trafficway is completed, the business mix on the street is bound to change.


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