For 36 hours last week we found ourselves in Lawrence, Kansas. Now, I know what you're thinking...Kansas? What could possible be there? Well, let me be the first to tell you this surprising news: Lawrence, Kansas is awesome. The town is fantastic. The restaurants and food are out of this world (think local, sustainable, farm-to-table). The people are so, so friendly.
I'll talk more about why we were visiting later, but in the meantime I just needed to fill you in on this fun, hipster-friendly town that I'm a little embarrassed wasn't even close to on my radar until very recently. First, lets talk about where we ate...
Merchants Pub and Plate
Located at 746 Mass Street, Merchants Pub and Plate place has amazing pub fare. To call it pub food seem a bit unfair -- it's much more creative, adventurous and downright tasty than what you'll find in a normal pub. Most, if not all, of the menu is sourced from nearby vendors and farms. The beer list is insane with something around 30+ on tap (Rob was in heaven). We split the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich and the Sloppy Joe. Both outrageously good. Plus, we showed up at 3pm after a long trip into town and had the place to ourselves. Lord, I love being back in America where I can get a meal any time of the day. FYI: I really meant to take pictures of the food, but we ate it embarrassingly fast.
For anyone out there that thinks you can't get delicious, "fancy" food in small town America, please think again and visit 715 on Mass Street. I simply couldn't ignore everything that I was reading about this place online and insisted that we do a date night. We were not disappointed. From the cheese plate to the drinks to the main dishes, everything was exceptional. All of the dishes were so thoughtful and the flavors so simple, yet tasty. The decor was also wonderful.
Where I got my coffee: Z's Divine
Lawrence reminded me so much of Louisville with it's plethora of locally-owned coffee shops. There were so many to choose from (and I really wanted to try about 10 of the ones that I skipped), but I found myself go back to Z's Divine three times during our stay. It was just so good and I like my coffee reliably tasty. They have a ton of outdoor seating and I imagine how it must be fun in the summer to sip an iced coffee and people watch!
Can you tell that I loved Lawrence? I guess that I expected Kansas to feel somehow foreign or crazy different -- and maybe other parts of Kansas would -- but Lawrence was so neat and fun and reminded me so much of the vibe of the Highlands neighborhood in Louisville. So, in a sense it felt a bit like home.
FYI: Lawrence is only a 40 minute drive from Kansas City, so if you find yourself on a layover or randomly in the city, I recommend making the drive to check out this fun town.