National food delivery company targets Lawrence; North Lawrence bar and unique downtown gift shop announce closures
photo by: Shutterstock photo
News and notes from around town:
• It used to be if a waiter showed up at my door, it was a sign that I took way too many of the complimentary breath mints. Now, it’s just evidence that another tech company looking to combine the internet and dining has chosen Lawrence as a potential hot market.
A company called Waitr has chosen Lawrence and Topeka to make its Kansas debut. The Louisiana-based company is in a crowded industry, with companies like GrubHub, EatStreet, UberEats and other tech darlings that are changing the world by showing us all new ways for companies to not make money. (Those of you who bought Uber stock on its first day available know what I’m talking about.)
Waitr also is a publicly traded company, but it says its focus is a bit different. It wants to bring delivery services to small-to-medium sized cities. Fair enough, though I would note that all those companies I just mentioned, plus of a couple of local ones, are offering delivery services in Lawrence.
The company says it has partnerships with more than 25 area restaurants, including many that go beyond the big fast-food chains that have been the focus of some other delivery companies. Among the Lawrence restaurants that have signed on to Waitr are: 23rd Street Brewery, Jefferson’s, India Place, West Coast Saloon, Border Bandido, BurgerIM. Lark a Fare, Wayne & Larry’s Sports Bar & Grill, and Quinton’s Bar & Deli.
The company does provide a benefit for those who don’t like to do math as part of their dining. Several delivery services charge a fee based on a percentage of the food order. Waitr simply charges a flat $5 fee for any delivery. People make orders through the Waitr smart phone app or the company’s website.
Kansas is the 16th state the company has expanded into. It will launch in Lawrence and Topeka on Thursday. The company said it expects to hire about 100 drivers to staff the service in Kansas. The company is having a launch party, open to the public, at 5 p.m. Thursday at 23rd Street Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway.
photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo
• There are several Lawrence residents who would fail at being delivery drivers. Every time they tried to navigate via the North Star, they ended up at a North Lawrence bar. Well, no more. Frank’s North Star Tavern closed earlier this month.
According to a post on the bar’s Facebook feed, owner Frank Dorsey had been in discussions to sell the bar at 508 Locust St. — just down the street from the La Tropicana Mexican restaurant — but a potential deal fell through.
Frank Dorsey, a former manager at the Bourgeois Pig, opened the bar in 2012. Dorsey was involved in a serious bicycle accident in 2016. As we reported, Dorsey was the victim of a hit-and-run accident on Wellman Road in Jefferson County. Dorsey, via the Facebook post, said the accident did play a role in his decision to close the bar.
“Since my bicycle accident, I have been unable to give the business the attention necessary to maintain its viability,” he said via Facebook. “Owning the bar has been an amazing ride and I will miss you all, but my family and I are ready for a new chapter in our lives.”
• Pirate fans may shed a tear (at least with their one good eye). The unique downtown Lawrence boutique Treasure Chest is closing soon. The shop at 1109 Massachusetts St. announced via Facebook that it is closing on an unspecified date. A sign in the window also lists the space for rent. It looks like the shop is still open for the time being, though. Another sign in the window was advertising items at a 50 percent discount.
If you aren’t familiar with the shop, we reported on its opening back in 2013 when owner Denise Bosch decided to give the store a try after having been in the gift store business in Houston. She chose Lawrence for the store after one of her children decided to attend KU.
While the closing creates a new vacancy, the 1100 block of Massachusetts Street is seeing some of its more significant activity in years. Mass Street Soda has reopened in its completely renovated space at 1103 Massachusetts St. That renovation was part of a major project to rehabilitate the former Englewood Flower shop building at the corner of 11th and Massachusetts. Work appears to be nearing its final stages on that renovation. The building features ground floor retail space and upper floor office space. Thus far, there’s no word on tenants that may be moving into the space.
photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo