The wait is over, foodies. Lawrence Restaurant Week, January 18-28, welcomes you to eat across Lawrence at over 40 locally-owned restaurants and cafés offering special menu features, tastings, and pairings.

In anticipation of the week devoted to die-hard diners, I couldn’t resist dining at several of the city’s thriving eateries.



At Merchants Pub & Plate, thoughtfully crafted cuisine includes locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to create mouthwatering menu items.

Merchants appetizers on a plate

My palette was eager to dive into selections from the lunch menu, starting with a shareable appetizer, Famous Brussel Sprouts. Roasted and tossed with dried apricots and cashews, they arrived at the table perfectly caramelized and coated in sweet chili mustard. A small bowl of Bee Stings, Manchego cheese cubes covered with truffle honey with cracked pepper, perfectly rounded out the first course.

Salmon plate at Merchants

The Seared Salmon entree easily ranks as some of the best seafood I’ve enjoyed in the state. Nestled on a bed of smoked tomato spaghetti squash and topped with olive chutney, I intentionally pulled each bite through garlic-sage cream before devouring it.

Chocolate dessert at Merchants

Tempted by the dessert menu, I chose Chocolate Budino, a dark chocolate pudding with miso caramel artfully decorated with puffs of raspberry coulis and crushed peanuts. My eyes closed with each satisfying bite.

Plan your visit by viewing the Merchants Pub & Plate Restaurant Week menu.


Friends told me I needed to dine at Culinaria Mediterranean Kitchen, and the reservation-only Mediterranean restaurant didn’t disappoint.

Cauliflower appetizer at Culinaria

Under a canopy of paper lanterns in a low-lit dining room, I sipped a glass of Clara Benegas Chardonnay between bites of Crispy Cauliflower & Tour tossed in spicy Gochujang, Kimchi, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Entree at Culinaria

For dinner, the Chicken Shawarma, prepared with healthy ingredients, delivered a flavor punch. Tangy peppers, pickled onions, crunchy fingerling potatoes, nestled on a bed of salad greens were drizzled with garlic sauce and delicate dill sprigs.


Located in a historic building, the dining experience delivered on all fronts. If you’re seeking a wow-worthy menu, Culinaria Mediterranean Kitchen is the ideal choice.

Plan your visit by viewing Culinaria’s Restaurant Week menu.


Day two of my culinary tour began at Uplift Coffee Shop North.

Breakfast Burrito and Uplift Coffee

Despite the snow falling outside, customers continued to crowd the café as I enjoyed the featured coffee, Dirty Rat, a drink made in partnership with nearby River Rat Skate Shop. The barista prepared the Cuvée drip coffee using house-made mocha sauce and frothed chai latte. I ordered a Breakfast Burrito with bacon, but not before I insisted on a White Chocolate Cranberry Blondie for the road.

Scone and coffee at uplift coffee

Regular visitors, some with mugs in hand, formed at the register as I exited the quaint coffee shop. Cleary, Uplift Coffee Shop as my morning pick-me-up destination was a wise choice.

Plan your visit by viewing Uplift Coffee Shop’s restaurant week menu.


Biggs BBQ is a mainstay in the dining scene and has been voted Best BBQ in town ten years in a row. I wasn’t about to end my dining tour without tasting their hickory smoked ribs and burnt ends. But first, I sampled crispy Barbequed Egg Rolls stuffed with smoked chicken, cream cheese, cabbage, and spices. Delectable indeed.

Appetizer platter at Biggs

The featured star of my dining experience? The BBQ Plate with my choice of two sides. Dipping each bite into one of three homemade barbecue sauces, I devoured lunch to the backdrop of classic rock music.

Meat and side platter at Biggs BBQ

Bigg’s BBQ is where you dine when you have an appetite for delicious barbecue and also want to watch the game on one of over a dozen TVs.

Plan your visit by viewing Biggs BBQ’s Restaurant Week menu.


You can feel good while eating good during the 10th Annual Lawrence Restaurant Week. Sponsored by numerous local businesses and hosted by the Lawrence Restaurant Association, the 10-day food lovers’ event benefits the Hospitality Workers Relief Fund.

The fund was created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s disruption on the restaurant industry. Monetary donations provide financial aid and necessary services to local hospitality workers in Douglas County.



Like me, perhaps you have a hankering for a tasty meal or two. Create your own foodie tour during Lawrence Restaurant Week. Click the link to view a listing of participating restaurants, and don’t forget to use #EatLawrence and tag @eatlawrence on Instagram and @lawrencerestaurantweek on Facebook.