A local bakery is on the move, a downtown coffee shop is set to close, and an update on the Longhorn Steakhouse building

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Great Harvest Bread Co. plans to move into the former convenience store building near Ninth and Ohio streets, just west of downtown Lawrence.

News and notes from around town:

• If you love fresh bread as much as I do, you may have nearly dropped your stick of butter upon seeing a “for lease” sign in the window of downtown Lawrence’s Great Harvest Bread Co. But don’t worry; the longtime bakery is on the move, rather than going out of business.

The for lease sign showed up a few days ago at the shop at 807 Vermont St. But an employee at the bakery told me it was all part of a plan for the bakery to move to a larger space a few blocks west on Ninth Street.

Plans call for Great Harvest to move into the former convenience store building near Ninth and Ohio streets. The building more recently was an Asian foods grocer, but it has been empty for awhile.

The building will provide quite a bit more space and parking than what exists at the current location. The bakery’s local owner wasn’t immediately available to discuss the plans, but I’ll catch up with her soon and see what the expansion may involve for the business.

No word yet on what may go into the Great Harvest spot. That building also includes one of the smaller restaurants in town, Terrebonne Cafe. Fans of what that restaurant does with dough — hush puppies — will be keeping an eye on whether expansion may be in the works there. To be clear that’s not me hinting at what’s to come, because I haven’t heard that, but I will keep an eye open and a stick of butter handy.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Great Harvest Bread Co. will be leaving its longtime downtown location in the coming months for a new location on Ninth Street.

• The for lease sign in the Z’s Divine Espresso shop in downtown Lawrence has a different story. Owner Sherry Bowden told me she has decided to close the shop at 914 Massachusetts St. She’ll continue to own and operate the two other Z’s coffee shops in Lawrence, one at 1800 E. 23rd St. and the other at 2351 W. 31st St.

“The other two locations are performing a lot better, and it just made sense to focus our energy there,” Bowden said.

Bowden, though, said it was a tough decision to leave downtown. Z’s has been downtown for more than a decade. For most of its time in downtown, it was located on Ninth Street, just east of Massachusetts. The shop moved onto Massachusetts Street in late 2018. Bowden this week said the move was a bit of a test. She obtained a short-term lease for the site and wanted to test the theory that moving onto Massachusetts Street provides a significant boost to a business.

“I can’t say that it made a lot of difference for us,” Bowden said.

Business at the other two locations, however, is strong, she said.

“The shop on 23rd Street will have its 20-year anniversary in April, I believe,” Bowden said. “We fully plan to be in Lawrence for another long period of time.”

Both of Z’s other locations have drive-thru lanes, which Bowden has never been able to offer in downtown. Both are in spots that aren’t surrounded by other coffee shops, as well. She said the increase in coffee retailers in downtown has been significant.

“There are a lot of coffee shops and combination coffee shops/bars,” she said. “We made the decision that we didn’t want to do that.”

An exact date for Z’s last day of business in downtown hasn’t been set, but Bowden said the lease expires at the end of March.

• I reported earlier this month that sources had told me a Torchy’s Tacos was coming to Lawrence and had decided to located in a vacant building on south Iowa Street. Well, I’m a bit more comfortable reporting the location now. The former Longhorn Steakhouse building appears to be the landing spot for Torchy’s. That’s what my sources had told me, and now crews doing work at the construction site also are saying Torchy’s is the tenant.

As a reminder, the restaurant chain is based in Austin, Texas, and looks like it has a strategy of working its way north. The chain currently doesn’t have a restaurant in Kansas. Based on its online menu, the restaurant has more than a dozen lunch and dinner tacos, with fillings such as beef and pork, but also fried avocado, Baja shrimp and even salmon. The restaurant’s website also lists more than 10 breakfast tacos, plus several bowls and other offerings.

I haven’t got in touch with a Torchy’s representative yet, so I can’t ask the question that is on your minds: Why is a Mexican place going into the former steakhouse, when the On the Border Mexican restaurant also is vacant right next door? I trust they know what they are doing because I’m no taco expert. I struggle just to get them buttered.


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