November 14, 2006
After selling their acclaimed Topeka restaurant, The New City Cafe, Molly and Robert Krause bought a house in East Lawrence and had Dan Rockhill make it over-including a 30-seat glassed-in dining room on their patio. The Krauses built a commercial kitchen, obtained a catering license, and got cooking. Word of their mastery spread rapidly. After six visits, Kansas City Star food editor Lauren Chapin wrote a glowing review, which caught the attention of the Lawrence Zoning Commission. The Krauses' home was zoned for private catering only, not as a commercial restaurant.
The foie gras hit the fan. A cease and desist order from the Zoning Commission forced the Krauses to move to a commercial venue, the then recently vacated Meat Market at 811 New Hampshire. When their lease expired last summer, the Krauses chose not to renew. Home is where the heart is, and the Krauses appealed to the city for a zoning variance, to allow them to resume serving world-class dinners to the public in their home.
Street Level strolls east to visit the Krauses in their home kitchen to talk about red tape, culinary mishaps and triumphs, and being thankful through hard times.