BurgerFi now open in downtown Lawrence

A meal from BurgerFi, featuring the restaurant's hand-dipped, freshly prepared onion rings. 
Photo courtesy Charlie Guzzetta/BurgerFi

A meal from BurgerFi, featuring the restaurant's hand-dipped, freshly prepared onion rings. Photo courtesy Charlie Guzzetta/BurgerFi by Joanna Hlavacek

A bright-green sign has adorned the windows at 918 Massachusetts St. for at least six months now, promising us a new hamburger joint called BurgerFi in the space formerly occupied by Chutney’s Indian Diner and Bar. Today, it appears, is the day BurgerFi makes good on that promise.

Franchise owner Josh Kurzban confirmed the news this morning. The restaurant opened at 11 a.m. today, he says, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce is planned for tomorrow afternoon at 4:30.

The Florida-based chain has about 40 locations nationwide, clustered mostly on the East Coast and in Texas. The Massachusetts Street store will be only its second foray into Kansas after a Leawood location opened in May.

Journal-World reporter Chad Lawhorn first reported the arrival of BurgerFi in his Town Talk blog back in March. At the time, Kurzban and his wife, Michelle, also a co-owner, said they expected to open the Lawrence location by mid-spring of this year. Now, several months later, Josh cites construction issues as the cause of the delay.

“The building, or parts of it, are 100 years old,” he says. “We definitely wanted to preserve some of its architectural elements.”

The restaurant boasts an original tin ceiling and an exposed brick facade along a passageway to its back end. Much of the furniture is made from upcycled materials, Josh says.

As for the food, BurgerFi makes its patties from free-range, hormone-free, never-frozen Angus beef. Customers can also choose from five different types of hotdogs, hand-cut fries (ordered regular, well-done or limp), and frozen custard made with pure cane sugar. There’s also a quinoa-and-lentil-based veggie burger that’s made fresh daily.

Josh says the restaurant plans to source as much produce as possible from local providers in season. Free State Brewing Company, 23rd Street Brewery, Boulevard Brewing Company beers will be on tap; selections from Paola-based Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery are also on the menu.

“Basically the message is, we’re a gourmet kitchen hiding in a fast-casual environment,” Josh says. “We’re very excited to be in a college town like Lawrence.”

BurgerFi’s hours are 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.


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