Odessa's Cafe

  • 409 E. 12th St. Lawrence, KS 66044
  • 785-749-9790
  • NOTE: This establishment is now closed. This entry remains for historical records.


CLOSED late 2005.

Folks who like Odessa's love it - because it's different in just about every way from the standard dine-in chain. The food is real "home-style," with fried chicken and catfish among the best in town, as is the BBQ brisket when it's available. If you've left your expectations at the door, you'll no doubt appreciate Odessa's vibe - a palatable generosity of spirit amid slowed-down, screen-door-style comfort. Breakfast served on Saturdays.


joeyblackchip 17 years, 1 month ago on Odessa's Cafe

I am a huge supporter of Odessa's. The only reason I cannot give all 10s is the instant potato aspect that has already been mentioned. I have dined there numerous times and am always satisfied. For those who find the service less than effusive may I recommend TGI Fridays or Applebee's where the robotic teeniebopper servers will be more than happy to kiss your butt.

rooga 17 years, 2 months ago on Odessa's Cafe

Please everyone come check out this place rather than take someone elses review. Odessa is a very friendly, hard working woman. Keep in mind she runs that place by herself. She might have some weekly server help but thats it. Plus remember its a neighborhood cafe, so it is a little hard to find help. This is a great place. Great Homestyle food. Give Odessa a break.

Donna Potts 17 years, 2 months ago on Odessa's Cafe

Oh, good grief! All the complaints about portion size when 61% of Americans are overweight or obese? Even our restaurants with MODERATE portion sizes offer bigger portions than in Europe, and still we complain ...

kugrad 17 years, 3 months ago on Odessa's Cafe

Service is only fair, but many of the staff are young. The portions are a bit chintzy, especially for the price you pay. The hours are strange and make it hard to get there for a decent evening meal. However, the food is really hard to beat. The only home-cooked type food in Lawrence. I recommend the chicken fried steak with brown gravy and macaroni and cheese! You'll love it!

MayorMcCheese 18 years, 5 months ago on Odessa's Cafe

I hear it is good when the food is fresh. When I went, though, they had clearly microwaved our meals. And the waitress kept begging for a big tip. Not to classy, Odessa!

cakebaker 18 years, 9 months ago on Odessa's Cafe

We ate there for breakfast the morning of the Old Fashioned Christmas Parade. The place was freezing, and wasn't helped by the teens who kept going in and out to watch. Come to find out, Odessa was standing there at the door, and maybe they were her children(?) I kept my jacket on and waited for my breakfast. I had pancakes, eggs, and sausage. The pancakes arrived with no butter or syrup (I had to ASK for it) but with four pieces of toast? My partner said it was the worst breakfast ever, and he's eaten my cooking, haha. I also had to ask for refills on my coffee. Twice. For $1.40 a cup (or whatever it was) I expect a few refills. If you want a good breakfast, eat at Sharon's Billtown. It's on Highway 24, in Williamstown, about fifteen minutes northwest from Lawrence. Best breakfast ever, and cheap.

bigreed 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

To get a city boy like me to enjoy this restaraunt, everything had to be perfect. The service, while very casual, was friendly and punctual. The food was definitely for anyone who likes food. The price was the best value in town. I had the meat loaf, my girlfriend had the fried chicken. We both left very full and very satisfied. This is the best thing to happen to Larrytown in a long time.

kamirplease 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

Never have I stepped into a "homestyle" restaurant and been served INSTANT mashed potatoes! The service was great, portions fair (but not heaping like one would expect) and the building is beautiful. The potato thing was enough to make me not go back. What are you supposed to dip your meatloaf or chicken friend steak in?

sippers 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

I ate here the other day and my breakfast looked like something I made at home when I was almost out of sausage and eggs. I hear good things about the catfish and chicken, but I have my doubts.

J Good Good 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

This is my daughter's favorite restaurant in town. We always get plenty to eat and the atmosphere feels like the small town cafe where I grew up. The service is variable, but I could say that about most places in town. And to be fair, she has had a "help wanted" sign in the window for weeks now!

mastap88 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

After a late Saturday, a morning breakfast at Odessa's, a walk away from where I used to live, was well worth it. The food is reasonably priced and you get a decent portion. As for breakfast around Mass, i'd rather eat anywhere else than the horribly overpriced Milton's.

Rob Curley 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

I actually really like Odessa's. The fried chicken is the way to go. As for the service, I've had it both ways -- personable/attentive and disturbingly passive. Still, I love the place. My biggest problem is that I'm so used to heading out on Mass to get lunch that I often forget about it. I hope this place can make it work.

rpence63 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

We went to Odessa's with high hopes and left with big disappointment. Home-style cooking should be from scratch; the chili I ordered was canned and cold, had to send it back to get microwaved. My friends fish and potatoes were cold, too, and according to her, the quality was about what you'd get from one of the supermarket cafeterias in Lawrence. A very nice atmosphere and good people but they've got their work cut out for them. We haven't been back since, and the rave reviews I've read are downright puzzling. If we went there on a bad night, Odessa's needs to work on consistency, and that's an understatement. The best thing was the garlic bread, but how much effort does that take?

jpierce 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

I have to agree with the second reviewer, this place was absolutely terrible. We got there between breakfast and lunch. Thus, we had to wait about 15 minutes until the food was ready. Unfortunately, when we got it, the chicken was burnt and the mashed potatoes were cold!! The rest of the items were similar. I can honestly say that I will never dine there again after this experience!! Sorry!!

Tim vonHolten 19 years ago on Odessa's Cafe

i think you've been to a different restaurant than me. i want to go where you went. the restaurant i visited had small portions and, hands down, the worst service in a town known for its terrible service (although it seems to be getting a little better). this is heartbreaking for me since i live in the neighborhood, and have a passing acquaintance with odessa's family. when she opened her doors, i was there, and was disappointed when i left. there had been about 4 items on the menu, all average. but hey, they were brand new. it happens. after all, zen zero is as bad today as it was the day it opened. so, i went back to find a newly expanded menu, and the food was on the upper end of average. i spoke with odessa after my meal and she mentioned that fried chicken and catfish were available on certain other nights, but i have enough trouble with my own schedule, so i forgot those nights as soon as i turned from the cash register, and i haven't been back. i have the feeling that these items are where her strength lies, and you paint a pretty picture, so i'll try odessa's again. you have no idea how badly i want her to succeed. in a town that is rapidly becoming overland park where its tastes are concerned, there's definitely a place for some soul.

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