Sushi restaurant with all-you-can-eat concept opens in downtown; small food market in the works near Ninth and Mass

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Breanna Wuerzberger and Ket Kiun Lo, center, stand behind the large sushi bar of their new downtown restaurant, Gaia Sushi.

News and notes from around town:

The Kansas City Chiefs are on a roll — and now they are in one too.

A new downtown Lawrence sushi restaurant has opened, and one of its more popular menu items is a sushi roll named after the Chiefs. As a bonus, even folks with Andy Reid-like appetites are likely to go away full.

Gaia Sushi opened this week at 918 Massachusetts — the former home of Ramen Bowls, before it moved to New Hampshire Street. Gaia is doing sushi with a twist, though: It is offering an all-you-can-eat menu, in addition to a more traditional sushi menu.

For just under $27 per person, you can order off the all-you-can eat menu as many times as you want. Servers bring dishes out to your table, so the concept is a bit different than an all-you-can-eat buffet. The restaurant offers a separate menu with different prices for diners who simply want to order a single meal or entree.

“So far, the all you-can-eat option has been our most popular,” said Breanna Wuerzberger, who co-owns the business with her husband, Ket Kiun Lo.

Gaia Sushi, 918 Massachusetts, is pictured on June 14, 2024.

Lo has been working in restaurants across the U.S. for the last seven years, and both he and his brother — who works as a chef at Gaia — have been trained in sushi preparation. Lo chose Lawrence as the place to open his own restaurant, in large part because of Wuerzberger. She’s working toward an advanced degree in microbiology at KU.

The restaurant expects to have a liquor license in August, and it also plans to soon begin offering a hot food menu, to appeal to diners who may not want sushi. That menu will have a variety of chicken, shrimp, steak and rice offerings.

The sushi, of course, is the main attraction on the menu. The all-you-can-eat menu includes more than 25 maki rolls — fish-based rolls in a seaweed wrap — and nearly 20 specialty rolls. That’s where you will find the Chiefs roll, which includes shrimp tempura, crab, cucumber, avocado-topped tuna, eel sauce, spicy mayo and masago, which is an ingredient made from fish eggs. Soups, salads and several vegetable rolls also are on the menu.

Sticking with the Chiefs theme, I feel like you might need a creative game plan to tackle this all-you-can eat venture. At a traditional buffet, I live by a single mantra: Don’t fill up on the rolls. But, with sushi, you may have to throw that phrase out the window.


photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

The future site of Jody’s Market, just east of Ninth and Massachusetts, is pictured on June 14, 2024.

As a longtime downtown employee, my game plan often included a bag of Doritos at about two o’clock. That play often worked so well, I would run it multiple times in an afternoon. However, finding a bag of Doritos in anything other than a vending machine downtown could be a little tricky.

A new shop is in the process of opening downtown that indeed will sell bags of chips, but more importantly (say some) will also sell a lot of grocery staples.

Jody’s Market hopes to open in July in the commercial building on the north side of Ninth Street between New Hampshire and Massachusetts streets.

Plans call for the market to have essentials like eggs, milk, flour, pasta and other such items. Look for some meats and cheeses as well.

Reanna Slagle and her husband, Chad Slagle, previously lived in the downtown area for about three years, and decided to open the shop after moving back to Lawrence recently. They said they had lived in communities — San Francisco was one example — where such markets were common. As more people live in downtown, the need for convenient grocery items, even if it is in a spot far smaller than a traditional grocery store, seems to be growing, the couple said.

I interviewed the couple briefly at the store while they were doing remodeling work on Friday. I’ll put together a more complete report in the coming days.


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