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Good eats in Lawrence, KS?

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I'm a New Orleanian who just moved to Lawrence KS. I love the city but know I won't be able to find a decent Oyster Po-Boy here. What about BBQ and Mexican food, though? Any recommendations from those of you who have spent time here? Thanks in advance.


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  1. Try Ixtapa at the corner of 23rd and Iowa.

    1. Sorry I can't help with those specific requests, but go to Wheatfields every time you are sorry you had to leave NO. If you get a cinnamon roll, you'll be glad you did.

      1. For the oyster Po' Boy, about the best I've found around here (and the only one I've found) is at Jefferson's at (8th?) & Mass. I agree with the earlier poster who said Ixtapa has the best Mexican food around. Cheap, really friendly, and head and shoulders above El Mezcal or any of the other places.

        1. My favorite mexican place is El matador in north lawrence. It's just homey and nice and the food is tasty and reasonably priced. La familia is good too. Burrito King is really good in that ultra-cheap, massive quantities of food way. Their tacos are really good, but the shells are consistently stale, so that sucks.

          If you like onion rings (or fries), check out Conroy's pub on west 6th street. Theirs are huge and sweet.

          I don't recommend Vermont street BBQ. Free state has some good stuff - I'm partial to the portabello mushroom sandwich. Aladdin's cafe downtown is pretty good. India palace is still one of my favorites.

          1. i would disagree on vermont street. pulled pork, ribs, tips, chicken are all usually very good. bigg's is in a strip mall at 24th and iowa, but has good food, too.

            they are only open til 7pm or so, but grandaddy's in north lawrence has very good barbeque,. great ribs and a good sandwich called 'da bomb.' don's steak house serves good ribs, but is generally a steak joint, as name would suggest.

            most of the mom and pop mexican joints have some merit, la familia, la tropicana and el matador(both in no. lawrence), ixtapa especially. el mezcal is overrated. for gringo-mex the salty iguana, way out west on sixth and wakarusa, has some good dishes and is a good place for kids.

            jefferson's is fine for bar food generally, but you won't find anything like a nawlins oyster po'boy in lawrence. sorry.

            1. If you eat at La Familia be sure to try their sweet salsa, which I make a 45-minute drive for at least once a month. Also, the mushroom empanadas are excellent.

              1. My favorite places to go in Lawrence are:

                La Parrilla (8th & Mass): They have true Latin American cuisine, with daily specials that change all the time. If you need to grab something quick and filling, try their rice bowls They have Mexican dishes on the menu, so it might be right up your alley.

                Local Burger (7th & Vermont?): I tried this place a couple of months ago and was pleased. They use all organic food, and there's quite a lot here for vegetarians to eat as well. I'd recommend the Elk Burger.

                Jade Garden (15th & Kasold): I know it's not Mexican or BBQ, but this is the most addictive Chinese place in Lawrence. I'm not sure if they still have a fried rice lunch special, but it's well worth going to for lunch.

                As for BBQ, I think you're better off just waiting until you can go to KC. The best of the lot in Lawrence, in my opinion, is Vermont Street BBQ. That being said, it still doesn't stack up with any of the BBQ you can get in the Metro.

                Happy chowing!

                1. The only thing missing on this list is a good beer. Check out Free State brewery. All awesome, all the time. And they always have a cask conditoned, nitrogen-pressured beer of the week.

                  1. I'm from New Orleans too. I moved to the Lawrence/Topeka area 10 years ago though. Be sure to check out Mad Greek on Mass. St. In Topeka, I like Fritz Co. Grille, and in Kansas City, my favorite is Brio Tuscan Grill on the Plaza.

                    1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      good oyster po-boy?????? go to terre bonne. its only open for lunch,(between like 11 and 2) i think its on vermont- the street just west of mass- and north of 9th street. on the west side, right by a bakery and a hair salon.

                      this is actually my favorite place to go for lunch in the whole town. they do catering or something like that- are more like a family restaurant. they have catfish, alligator, shrimp, oyster, and some other type of po-boy(cray-fish?). they also have a few other items and some interesting deserts.

                      this place is GOOD. definitely suggest. although, not being from new orleans myself, you'll have to see how it compares with your old town. i think this is the best direction you'll get to finding any po-boys. the other po-boys in town are a bit generic.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: founders4

                        Terrebonne is AMAZING! It recently changed owners, so it's open later now. Definitely try this place--homemade hushpuppies, fried okra, red beans and rice, and really good po-boys.

                        1. I'm not sure there's good barbecue to be had in Lawrence. Definitely stay clear of Buffalo Bob's.

                          Check out Zen Zero
                          Sylas and Maddie's for ice cream
                          Free State Brewery can't be beat

                          For Mexican Drive into KCK and check out El Taco Nazo @ 5th and Kansas Ave. Aint' much to look at, but really good Mexican.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chileheadmike

                            Biemer's BBQ (in the building that used to be Bucky's Drive-in) at 9th & Iowa has amazing BBQ. It's definitely worth a try.

                          2. I'm a southerner in Lawrence, too. :) Been here a few years. Here are my recs:

                            Po-Boys: I second Terre Bonne (between 8th & 9th on Vermont)
                            My husband gets the oyster. I love their shrimp--the *only* place in town that has good fried shrimp. It's lunch-only, take-out. (I grab & go eat in the train park--8th & Kentucky).

                            BBQ: Second Biemer's, too. (9th & Iowa)
                            Hands down best BBQ around. And it's southern style, rather than KC. Vermont Street is okay, but only okay at best. Go there more for the downtown location. They do have a nice mural, though.

                            Mexican: Tortas Jalisco (Frontier Rd. off Kasold)
                            Good & authentic. My husband loves the Torta Ahogada & I get the Tinga or Tres Quesos torta. They have good burritos, tacos, & horchata, too.

                            I had a horrible experience with La Parrilla (Latin American fusion) & hate El Mezcal & Ixtapa, both on 23rd. The Mexican restaurants downtown are bland. La Tropicana (in north Lawrence) has a great patio, but is overpriced & also very weak on seasoning. I don't know anyone who eats at Burrito King before midnight & sober. I admit to thinking it's perfectly okay--if you eat there during lunch or dinner time--otherwise my beans are always old & cold.

                            Misc: Free State, of course. It's May--go have a Maibock & get a cup of Cheddar Ale Soup. I like the Smoked Turkey sandwich or Fish & Chips, but recommend everything except the flautas.

                            And I also really like Thai Siam.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Undercover

                              Manda2831, what kind of horrible experience did you have at La Parrilla? I really like the place -- I probably go there every month or so and the food is always good. I'm a Californian and so I miss shrimp tacos, which La Parilla does well. The habanero salsa is also excellent (ask for it along with the chips and regular salsa when you order).

                              i agree, Tortas Jalisco is excellent and El Mezcal is mediocre. Haven't tried Ixtapa.

                              2016 W 23rd St, Lawrence, KS 66046

                              Tortas Jalisco
                              534 Frontier Rd, Lawrence, KS 66049

                              La Parrilla
                              814 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044

                            2. Another great meal at Pachamama's last night. I had a blood orange margarita and it was delicious. Three plates and three drinks was more than enough and the bill wasn't even $52. The bar menu is also excellent and even more reasonable. Love that place.

                              1. Try Sandwich Bowl off 23rd and kasold by juice stop they have some awesome BBQ pork loin sandwiches try the dirty flying pig or piggy bac bbq. :) Dont forget the salsa ranch!