Port Fonda officially coming to Lawrence

After months of speculation, it's finally official: Port Fonda is coming to Lawrence.

The popular Mexican eatery has generated quite the buzz since turning a food truck into a restaurant two and a half years ago in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood. Now, Port Fonda will expand into Kansas with a location at 900 New Hampshire St., slated to open in late summer 2015.

Jamie Davila says he and fellow co-owner Patrick Ryan signed the lease Thursday morning. They "peeked around in some places in KC," but ultimately found Lawrence to be the best fit.

"We're really excited about the growth in Lawrence and what's happening there," Davila says, pointing out the Ninth Street Corridor project. "It's a cool city that we're both familiar with."

Kansas City-based architect and KU alum Matthew Hufft of Hufft Projects has signed on to design the space, which will sit inside the newly constructed Marriott Towneplace Suites building at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

At just over 5,000 square feet, the Lawrence location is just about the same size as its predecessor, but will have a "completely different" look, Davila says.

Enchiladas de Pollo at Port Fonda

Enchiladas de Pollo at Port Fonda by Landon Vonderschmidt Photography/Contributed Photo

Of course, there will be a large bar" serving up margaritas, Mexican beers and hopefully, Davila says, some products from Lawrence's Free State Brewing Co.

As for the food, expect some small tweaks to Port Fonda's KC menu. Davila says they'll probably offer more casual fare like sandwiches and tacos.

"The menu will be a little different, but at the core will be the same," he says. "I think it translates really well to a college town."

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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