Downtown breakfast, lunch spot opening soon in west Lawrence; a bloody Mary with a beef jerky twist also set to arrive

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Morrie Sheets, managing partner of the Lawrence and Kansas locations for Jimmy's Egg, is betting big on Lawrence's appetite for breakfast. The downtown restaurant opened about three weeks ago, and he is set to open a west Lawrence location next week.

Morrie Sheets, owner of the new Jimmy’s Egg restaurants in Lawrence, has a better alarm clock than I have.

“When I smell bacon at 5 a.m., I know it is time to get up,” Sheets said.

Sheets, who owns Jimmy’s Egg restaurants across the state, lives in an apartment above the Lawrence restaurant at 10th and Massachusetts streets in downtown.

(For the record, when I smell bacon at 5 a.m., I hope the burglar didn’t break my favorite window and knows how to make a good pair of over-easy eggs.)

Sheets has lived in the Wichita area for years, and still has a home there. But he’s a 1981 graduate of KU, and when his oldest daughter became a freshman at the university last year, he decided he had found his excuse to get back to Lawrence. He even broke one of his personal rules in the process. He usually only opens one new Jimmy’s Egg restaurant a year, but now he’s opening two in Lawrence. The downtown location opened about three weeks ago, and a new location at Bob Billings and Wakarusa Drive is set to open on Wednesday.

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“It is not the smartest deal I’ve done by any means,” Sheets said of the challenge of opening two restaurants within a four-week period of each other. “But I really think Lawrence is a dynamic town.”

Once his youngest daughter finishes high school in the next year, Sheets and his family plan to move to Lawrence full-time, although they probably won’t be living over the downtown restaurant, he said.

By then, Sheets is expecting Lawrence will have figured out Jimmy’s Egg. The restaurant has a big breakfast menu but also serves lunch fare ranging from hamburgers to salads to a Cuban sandwich that Sheets said is best with a couple of pieces of bacon added to it and a side of cheese sauce.

At least that is the way Sheets eats it, but he admits he’s partial to bacon.

“I am in the bacon business,” Sheets said. “Our bacon is made special for us. It is thicker than a lot of places. Some places you can read a newspaper through the bacon. Here, you get bacon.”

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

The second Lawrence location for Jimmy’s Egg is slated for the shopping center at Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive.

The second Lawrence location for Jimmy’s Egg is in the shopping center at the southeast corner of Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa, which includes Jefferson’s restaurant, Keys of Joy and several other businesses. At 3,300 square feet, it will be smaller than the 5,000 square-foot restaurant Sheets has downtown.

Both restaurants, though, soon will undergo an expansion in offerings. Sheets said he’s applied for a liquor license for both locations. He doesn’t intend to create a bar atmosphere for either restaurant but wants to be able to serve a trio of classic brunch cocktails: mimosas, screwdrivers and bloody Marys.

He’s predicting the bloody Marys will be particularly popular. Among his business holdings is the small but popular Mort’s Martini and Cigar Bar in Wichita. It has a bloody Mary recipe that uses both bacon and beef jerky in place of the more traditional pickles and celery. He’ll bring the Mort’s recipe to the Jimmy’s Egg locations, he said. In fact, he said he’s keeping his eyes open for a location to open a Mort’s in Lawrence.

He also plans to add a late-night component to the downtown location. In the coming weeks he plans to open up the front part of the restaurant from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to serve grab-and-go breakfast burritos for the bar crowd and other late-night visitors in downtown.

In some ways, that might bring back some memories for Sheets. He said he paid his way through KU by serving as a manager of a local bar that some of you may remember — The Chute, which was where the Red Lyon Tavern is today. The fond memories that came from those days is one of the reasons he had a desire to get back to Lawrence, he said. While managing Lawrence bars may not be on his to-do-list, he said he is going to be looking for local opportunities both in and out of the Lawrence business world.

“I’m excited to be back,” he said. “I really want to get involved in the community.”

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