Looking to open a new restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas? Lawrence realtor Kelvin Heck -- with Grubb & Ellis -- is looking for you. Heck is listing the location at 2176 East 23rd Street that was formerly occupied by Don's Steakhouse.
The building is now being rented out to antique dealers, but when the restaurant was in its heyday, in the 1970s, it was considered one of the best steakhouses in Lawrence, favored by sportswriters who traveled the "Big Eight" beat.
Heck says that plenty of people have looked at the location, "but no one is building new restaurants these days."
"The building dates back to the 1930s," Heck says. "It was originally a house that had been added onto four or five times. It's a big space, 8,000 square feet on different levels."
The building wasn't the first location for original restaurateur Don Scott. He started his restaurant on Iowa Street. It moved to 23rd Street, Heck thinks, in the 1970s.
"Don sold it in the 1990s to Gary Barts who ran it for 15 years before he closed it down," Heck says. "He leased it to a barbecue restaurant for a while, but that didn't work out."
By most accounts, Don's had lost a lot of luster by the end of its long run (these comments on lawrence.com are sad, scathing and frequently hilarious, like this one:"...it was the worst and the most expensive meal I've ever had...unless you enjoy throwing your money away which in case let me know, I will be happy to give you my address so you can send it to me for convenience sake...").
"The country clubs in town had taken away a lot of the steakhouse business," explains Heck. "And then Hereford House came in. Of course, it's closed now, too."