As most people who know me will attest, I like to eat – and I like it more when someone else does the cooking for me. It’s not that I don’t know how to cook, but sometimes after a long week of focusing on law, I prefer to pay someone else to do it. Luckily, Lawrence boasts a wealth of local flavor, and after two years of law school, I’ve eaten at my fair share of hometown restaurants. While each of these is a small luxury and not as cheap as a McRib, they do represent a sampling of my favorite Lawrence foods. I know that these have little to do with law school, but they sure have made my time here a little more delicious. Not to mention, I have studied at each one of these places at one time or another.
So here are five of my favorites, in no particular order.
Beef Wellington Burger
The Burger Stand @ the Casbah
A friend brought me to the Burger Stand when it was still located in the back of another restaurant in Lawrence. They’ve since moved to their own location, and the burgers were, and still are, some of the very best in Lawrence. While any of the other selections make for excellent eating, the Beef Wellington Burger with a side of truffle fries takes a high spot on my pre-execution short list. It includes specially blended beef patty, sitting upon a freshly cooked bun, covered with liver pate, fresh locally grown greens, and topped with a little puff pastry. Served infrequently, you’ll see more KU football victories than days this burger is on the menu. But for the lucky and patient, it’s well worth the experience. If you miss it, the other burgers are also very good and most are available year-round.
They also have a 62-inch TV. Seriously.
The Craig’s Italiano
23rd Street Brewery
Far easier to obtain, and sized to stretch into leftover territory, are the calzones at 23rd Street. Introduced to these monsters in my first year of law school by a former roommate, I thought he was joking when he said he used this as a way of making his parents treat him to several meals. The Craig’s Italiano is the king of these and filled with every meaty topping available. Half of one of these bad boys is enough to satisfy most, and the taste is phenomenal. Golden brown with a soft bread crust, each comes with a little dipping sauce on the side. Combined with one of their homebrewed beers, it is a filling and delicious experience – today and tomorrow.
A Lawrence staple recently listed as one of the 100 most iconic college bars, The Wheel also serves pizza, though I failed in my first attempts to grab a slice. I found out later that they only make pizza at night, and on game days they only sell pizza after games. While there isn’t any real seating inside The Wheel, the pizza is quite good for late-night fare, and I don’t mind standing to get it. Not to mention they serve honey for dipping the crust in, so it’s like a mini dessert. Maybe I’m biased because I had to walk there four times to finally get pizza, but the effort matched the taste in my book. Get there late, or don’t get any at all.
While there are several places to eat barbecue in Lawrence, I find myself coming back to Biggs for the burnt ends. You can get them as part of a platter, by the pound or – my personal favorite – as a half-appetizer between 9 and 11 p.m. Biggs’ own version of the Kansas mainstay, these smoky, chewy bits concentrate the best smoky taste into the smallest space. Served with sweet, regular or hot barbecue sauce on white bread, they make the perfect meal. Or snack. The only problem is they run out. People really seem to like these things.
The Lieutenant Dan
Either named after a real soldier names Dan, or inspired by “Forrest Gump,” this coffee concoction is the best-selling drink at this small Lawrence study spot. While not necessarily unique in ingredients, this drink is just a solid example of a good drink done well. Caramel, vanilla and double chocolate. The chocolate is homemade, and the espresso is brewed fresh daily. Covered with whipped cream and a little extra chocolate sauce, it’s a treat you can get 24-7. But it’s half off between 7 and 9 a.m.
— Nate Behncke, 3L and Student Ambassador