Best of Lawrence 2012: Food


The Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass., was readers' choice for Best Restaurant in the 2012 Best of Lawrence contest.

Best Restaurant

Free State Brewing Company

Free State Brewing Company hasn’t changed a lot in its 20-plus years, serving in-house brew and upscale pub fare at the north end of Lawrence’s downtown drag. See why Free State's won two years in a row.

Best New Restaurant

Queen Lizzy's Fish & Chips

Queen Lizzy’s mission is “Bringing a taste of Great Britain to the Great Plains.” It may have imported a new taste to Lawrence, but the local enthusiasm is homegrown. Here's why.

Best Bar


Every tropical drink comes with a toy. The building is lime green. There are hurricanes — if you miss the nightly 10 p.m. storm, you can buy one on command for $20. You can dance on the bar (in a mermaid costume!). We'll join you for a fruity cocktail in our write up.

Best Bartender

Dave Johanning, Sandbar

Dave Johanning, a managing partner at Sandbar, has been bartending there going on 17 years. He helped with a few things we’ve always wondered about Sandbar but were afraid to ask.

Best Pizza

Rudy’s Pizzeria

704 Mass.,

Runners up

Papa Keno’s, 1035 Mass.

Johnny’s, 721 Wakarusa Drive; 401 N. Second St.

Best Coffee

La Prima Tazza


Barista Adam Lottt, 28 sips one his his brews at LA Prima Tazza, 638 Mass. was chosen as the best place to get a cup of coffee in Lawrence.

638 Mass.,

Runners up

Z’s Divine Espresso, 10 E. Ninth St.; 1800 E. 23rd St.

J&S; Coffee Co Inc, 4821 W. Sixth St.

Best Happy Hour


1009 Mass. and 1307 W. Seventh St.,

Runners up

The Jayhawker Bar at the Eldridge, 701 Mass.

Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass.

Best Liquor Store

Cork & Barrel Wine & Spirits

2000 W. 23rd St. and 901 Miss.

Runners up

On the Rocks, 1818 Mass.

Jensen Retail Liquor, 620 W. Ninth St.

Best Hamburger


The Burger Stand at the Casbah, 803 Mass., won Best Burger in the 2012 Best of Lawrence contest.

The Burger Stand at The Casbah

803 Mass.,

Runners up

Dempsey’s, 623 Vt.

Five Guys Burgers & Fries, 2014 W. 31st St.

Best Mexican Food

El Mezcal

1819 W. 23rd St.,

Runners up

La Familia Café & Cantina, 733 N.H.

Cielito Lindo, 815 N.H.

Best Latin Food

La Parilla

814 Mass.,

Runners up

Esquina, 801 Mass.

Mexiquisto, 712 Mass.

Best Asian Food

Encore Café

1007 Mass.,

Runners up

Zen Zero, 811 Mass.

Thai Siam, 601 Kasold Drive

Best Italian Food

Paisano’s Ristorante

2112 W. 25th St.,

Runners up

Genovese, 941 Mass.

715, 715 Mass.

Best Middle Eastern Food

Aladdin Café

1021 Mass.,

Runners up

India Palace, 129 E. 10th St.

Mediterranean Market & Café, 3300 Bob Billings Pkwy.

Best Vegan or Vegetarian Food

Zen Zero


Zen Zero, 811 Mass., was voted Best Vegan or Vegetarian Food in the 2012 Best of Lawrence contest.

811 Mass.,

Runners up

Local Burger*

The Merc, 901 Iowa

India Palace, 129 E. 10th St.

*Local Burger closed in early September with the hopes of reopening soon in a new location

Best Breakfast or Brunch


920 Mass.,

Runners up

First Watch, 2540 Iowa

The Mirth Café, 745 N.H.

Best Ice Cream


Sylas and Maddy's, 1014 Mass., was voted Best Ice Cream and Best Dessert in the 2012 Best of Lawrence contest.

Sylas & Maddy’s Home Made Ice Cream

1014 Mass.,

Runners up

Cold Stone Creamery, 647 Mass.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, 4801 Bauer Farm Drive

Best Dessert

Sylas & Maddy’s Home Made Ice Cream

1014 Mass.

Runners up

Munchers Bakery, 925 Iowa

Cupcake Construction Company, 727 Mass.

Best Bakery

WheatFields Bakery Café

904 Vt.,

Runners up

Muncher’s Bakery, 925 Iowa

Great Harvest Bread Co., 807 Vt.

Best Barbecue

Bigg’s BBQ

2429 Iowa,

Runners up

Biemer’s, 2120 W. Ninth St.

Gran-Daddy’s Barbeque, 1447 W. 23rd St.

Best delivery

Jimmy John’s

922 Mass.

601 Kasold Drive

1720 W. 23rd St.

1200 Oread,

Runners up

Pizza Shuttle, 1601 W. 23rd St.

(Tie) Try Taki, 701 W. 23rd St., 821 Iowa;

(Tie) Yello Sub, 1814 W. 23rd St.

Best meal in a hurry


4000 W. Sixth St.

911 Mass.,

Runners up

Curry in a Hurry, 1111 Mass.

Jimmy John’s, multiple locations


Eddie Muñoz 10 years, 8 months ago

It's just Munchers Bakery, there's no apostrophe. :)

Alex Keiffer 10 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, definitely Paisano's for best Italian restaurant. They're great.

Perhaps if Old Chicago was still here, it probably would've made the runners-up for best pizza...

Theprof 10 years, 8 months ago

Why does El Mezcal keep winning? Their food is bland and horrible. El Potro, a new Mexican place on 31st where Backyard Burgers use to be is awesome. Zen Zero also over rated. Try Oriental Bistro on 23rd.

spacecat6000 10 years, 8 months ago

Papa Kenos and On The Rocks should have won.

Angie Evers 10 years, 8 months ago

Someone needs to learn how to spell Mexquisito!

nicngrif 10 years, 8 months ago

I think The Basil Leaf makes the best Italian food. I'm surprised not to see them in runners up!

Will Soo 10 years, 7 months ago

Winning some of these categories seem easy enough. I'll open a Mexican restaurant and smother over cooked meat with white cheese sauce and pour 4 shots of tequila in a margarita that calls for 1. Then I'll open a Chinese joint and double the MSG and sugar. As for Italian? No problem. Boil dried pasta till it's way past al dente then pop open a #10 can of tomato sauce and sprinkle Kraft parmesan (no parmigiano reggiano here) and parsley leaves on the rims of each plate. Surprised McDonalds didnt make the list for best burger.

rockypiper 10 years, 7 months ago

Yes , I think Paisano's is best Italian restaurant . Best of all is Cork & Barrel Wine & Spirits, this bar has great collection of wine and all other kinds of liqour.

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lindahrndz 10 years, 7 months ago

BellaRoca cakes shoulda got best bakery or best delivery. they r so delicious. but muncher's is good too..

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