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Apr 18, 2010 12:46 PM

Lunch in Lawrence, KS?

I am going to take my mom to Lawrence on her next trip to KC. Any great lunch places?

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  1. Lawrence has some great lunch options.

    If you want light, funky and flavorful, there's Wheatfields, an excellent bakery at 9th and Vermont that offers great baked goods, sandwiches, salads. The Baker's Plate, which includes bread, olives, roasted red pepper, onions, and scoops of tapenade, pesto and goat cheese, is especially tasty.

    Esquina offers "street style" tacos and similar options in a bright, new space on the corner of 8th and Mass. I enjoyed the pork, shrimp and chicken tacos, and thought the steak tacos were well-prepared, just not to my taste. Owned and operated by the Krauses, it offers top-notch fare at really reasonable prices.

    And a tried-and-true, can't miss, Lawrence original is Free State Brewery on Massachusetts around 6th Street. I've never had a meal there I didn't enjoy, and highly recommend the fish and chips and the black bean quesadillas. And of course, they have great brewed-on-location beer options. They can be really busy, so prepare for a wait, plan an early or late lunch, or call ahead a few minutes to put your name on the waiting list.

    And if you want something a bit fancier, there is Tellers, on Massachusetts between 7th and 8th. Set up in an old bank, the ambience is beautiful and bistro, and the menu offers soups, sandwiches, pizzas and pastas.

    Lots of great choices. Enjoy and report back!

    1224 S 103rd St, Omaha, NE 68124

    1. I second Wheatfield's if you all want a casual soup,sandwiches, salads done well (and there are other offerings, but sss is their focus at lunch.)

      I want to mention a couple I've heard good reviews on, but haven't tried myself yet:
      715 serves Italian food with ingredients locally sourced. Apparently has some pretty delicious charcuterie and rabbit and duck confit, from what I've heard. I really need to get in there...

      Although I haven't been to the new (and it's been relocated oh, for years now, which tells how little I dine in Lawrence) location of Pachamama's, I've heard good things. We used to adore the old location, and I've heard the food is still good.

      I had a bad experience at Teller's on Mother's Day several years ago. Unforgiveable when people are treating their moms, IMO. I have had them rec'd by more than one person. I just don't care to ever repeat the cold eggs and burned asparagus fiasco. I certainly wouldn't wish that on you or your mom.

      6 Replies
      1. re: amyzan

        For just one meal in Lawrence, I think that Free State is the way to go. I have taken several visitors there and the experience has always been good.

        For multiple meals, there are many good choices, but my second one would probably be Aladdin Cafe with good Mediterranean & Middle Eastern food,

        My experience at 715 was marginal.

        1. re: KansasTravel

          Please tell me more about your meal at 715. Anything to steer clear of completely?

          I think a lot depends on whether Lisa wants a casual place, of which there are many good recs in Lawrence, as it's a college town, or someplace a little more special. I used to take my mom to lunch at the Bleu Jacket when we had some time to relax in the afternoon, and we really enjoyed ourselves. But, of course, it closed several years ago, as did Prairie Fire.

          1. re: amyzan

            It was a very cold day and we didn't want to sit close to the front door, so we sat near the back of the restaurant. That only worked until some of the employees began using the emergency exit at the back to step outside to smoke.

            I had the rabbit confi salad for $9. I enjoyed the rabbit, but didn't care much for the small salad. My friends were a little happier with the pizza, which had good flavor, but the toppings were sparse.

            The cheese plate was good.

            1. re: KansasTravel

              Yeah, hmmm, I was looking forward to that rabbit confit salad. Now I'm not so sure! There's nothing worse than being served an entree salad that's really a side salad. That happened once at Cafe Augusta. I hate paying $8 or more for about eight bites of salad. Gee, that's not lunch, that's a rip off.

              Cafe Augusta
              12122 W 87th Street Pkwy, Overland Park, KS 66215

              1. re: amyzan

                BTW, about a week after I dined there, it was reviewed in the Star. The rabbit confit salad prepared for the photo in the paper didn't look much like my photo of the one I received as a customer.

          2. re: KansasTravel

            I ate at 715 when I was there in March. I had the arancini and a lamb ravioli special at dinner. I was very satisfied with my meal, and they have some very creative cocktails if you're into that sort of thing. I was struck by the freshness of everything I had and their committment to using locally sourced meats and produce. I went back the next day for a late afternoon snack - the salami platter. Everything was housemade. The various sausages were okay, but there seemed to be an over-abundance of nutmeg as a flavoring. It was served with some house-made pickles - including pickled cauliflower and pickled turnips. I was actually more impressed with the pickles.

            I also really enjoyed my meal at Esquina, a place that opened the week I was there. I'm not sure if they're open for lunch, but they're a latin fusion type place that does a variety of tacos, empanadas, ceviche, and lots of fresh-fruit based cocktails: mojitos, caparinhas, batida del dia (alcoholic smoothie with fruit of the day).

            I will be very honest - I wasn't very impressed with local burger when I ate there for lunch. I support their mission, but the burger I had was bland and a little over-cooked. Maybe I was just there on an off day. I have friends who swear by it.

        2. We'll be in Lawrence in a couple of weeks for my nieces graduation and we LOVE Free State Brewing and beer are very good.
          Quinton's for one of the best sandwiches and they use cream cheese as a spread vs. mayo and its so good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Anyone have a good breakfast/brunch spot?

            1. re: Beach Chick

              Miltons (on Mass St.) is a the first brunch place many recommend, but I often find it overcrowded and noisy. We recently went to Global Cafe (also on Mass.) and had a fantastic time; friendly service, good food--including some unusual offerings like arepas--, and a comfortable atmosphere. I plan on going back next time I do brunch.

          2. Am I the only person who doesn't care for Freestate?
            The only really tasty thing I've had there was the salsa....Everything else has been far too greasy for me! ( and I am not anti-grease!)
            Some of my favorites:
            sandwich-Yellow Sub (really miss Oread...)
            Mexican- La Familia
            Asian/fusion - Zen Zero
            Italian or buffet - Bambino's
            Burger/fries - Local Burger (and the garlicky quinoa is tasty!)

            Zen Zero
            811 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044

            Local Burger
            714 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS 66044

            7 Replies
            1. re: SusanD

              Thanks Susan and egging!
              Haven't been to FreeState in a couple of years so maybe things have changed.
              Local burger with the garlicky quinoa sounds delicious!

              1. re: Beach Chick

                I appreciate all of the posts and have narrowed it down between two places: 715 Mass and Local Burger. Both my mom and I are into the whole locally sourced concept. Any thoughts on Local Burger?

                Local Burger
                714 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS 66044

                1. re: SFLisa

                  I liked Local Burger the first couple of times I went there, but on more recent visits, I have have been less impressed. The concept still appeals, but the food just hasn't lived up to it.

                  Local Burger
                  714 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS 66044

                  1. re: SFLisa

                    I had a similar experience to KT's with Local Burger. I wanted to like them, really did, and went several times in their first year or so. No menu item ever lived up to the hype. Burgers tended to be overcooked and dry, buns were often stale, condiments stingy, and the sides were just plain bland. I've certainly not been there recently, and will grant that I didn't try everything on the menu. So, take my experience with a grain of salt, because perhaps they've gotten it together in light of greater competition? Dunno.

                    Please report back your experience with either place, because I'm curious what you find.

                    Local Burger
                    714 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS 66044

                    1. re: amyzan

                      We went to 715 Mass and we both had the same lunch: chick pea and tomato soup and the spinach salad with lardons and poached egg. The atmosphere was funky but nice, and the food was very good - not great. I thought the portion size was appropriate for lunch. My only quibble is having to buy the bread to eat with your salad. Mom was definitely happy and thank you for all who weighed in with your posts. I want to try Free State and Aladdin when I am with different companions.

                      1. re: SFLisa

                        I'd have an issue with having to buy bread, too. It seems to me restaurants should just consider adding a dollar to the entree's price and providing bread for the table, if they feel that bread's expense is so dear. Thanks for the report!

                        1. re: SFLisa

                          If you live in KC there is an Aladdin's on 39th and Wyoming (about 3 blocks east of State Line near KU Med). It's owned by the same people as the Lawrence Aladdin's. I've never been to the Lawrence location, but we go to the 39th St. location quite a bit. I like it better than the Jerusalem Cafe across the street.

                2. I was in Lawrence just yesterday for a 'ladies lunch' for 12 of us. We had opted for Pachamama's as I've never been disappointed there. We all thought our food was delicious and the server knew EVERYTHING about all our questions. Very impressed!!

                  It's rather busy, as we walked in with reservations for 12 at noon, and it was empty. Within 5 minutes, the place was jammed!? I guess it's commencement weekend in Lawrence so we should have expected a huge crowd.

                  This is a GREAT restaurant. But I have to tell you, you can't leave without eating their Apple Almond Tort with caramel sauce. We ordered several yummy desserts, but this one was the clear winner by FAR from all of us. It would be worth it just to go there for dessert (but be warned, it needs to be split with at least one other person. It's huge, but so nicely plated! ) Go for it!

                  800 New hampshire, Lawrence, KS 66047