Lawrence Kansas – From Ashes to Immortality

On my way to Portland a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a friend in Lawrence, Kansas. Now, upon hearing Kansas, I may have wrinkled my nose a bit (even though I shouldn’t have… I mean, I’m from the Canadian Prairies, and the first impression people seem to have is the same erroneous assumption that everyone is conservative and lives on farms) but Lawrence is genuinely an amazing little place (and has been repeatedly rated as one of the top college towns in the USA.)

It’s the sixth largest city in the state of Kansas (i.e., it’s not very big!), but it’s full of heart. And I don’t say that to sound hokey, I mean it with complete sincerity. It has  a thriving arts community, and a fascinating history (that you can learn more about here if you want to.) If it wasn’t for the oppressive sun and heat (at least while I was visiting,) Lawrence would almost feel coastal. That languid easygoing atmosphere, where people don’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere in particular. But maybe it was just me (because I know I was feeling languid and not in a hurry to go anywhere in particular that day.)

Local Burger

We weren’t sure where to go for lunch that day, but after seeing a listing for Local Burger (714 Vermont Street, Lawrence, KS) we decided to go there. I was happy to see such a huge, bright space. The floor to ceiling windows on one wall let in natural light, and a colourful mural depicting the owner and staff was on the other wall.


They are not exclusively vegan by any means, but they do have a veggie burger (that is vegan.) They make it in house and it’s constantly being refined and improved. It’s got a unique texture, so if you’re expecting a typical “veggie burger” you wont get it, but you will get a delicious patty, more akin to the texture of a chicken patty, flavourful and lightly spiced. Some toppings are extra (but they have specials for half off toppings on certain days, check out their website for more info), but it comes with a leaf of lettuce, a slice of tomato and some white onion.


After enjoying my meal at Local Burger, I went over to the Community Mercantile (locals just call it The Merc) which is a local coop with a very generous collection of vegan options. I went over to find snacks for the road, and didn’t leave empty handed.

But as with most visits (especially ones lasting less than 24hrs) this one was too short. I would have loved to explore all the little things about this town, and maybe I’ll have the chance to visit again some day for a little longer.

Have you been there? Do you live there? Any other suggestions you can pass on? My vegetarian/wannabe vegan friend just moved there, and she’s still searching for options (for food and fun.)

4 Responses

  1. Lawrence is my college town! I only live 40 min away now and I try to go back at least a few times a year. Great food, shopping, atmosphere, everything. There's really no other place like it. Glad you made it there, and to Local Burger and the Merc! Let me know if you're ever there again. 🙂 Next time, try 10th Street Vegetarian Bistro, Zen Zero, Aladdin Cafe, King Buffet, Wheatfields…oh, there are so many more great places to eat! And no shortage of fun things to do, bars to hit, places to hang out. Lawrence rocks.

  2. The more I traveled the more I came to appreciate a college town in the Midwest. UK visitors allowed to stay in UK up to 6 months in most cases. Lawrence is a town rich in arts and entertainment. This town is full of both private artisans, but also has tremendous arts and literature resource in the University of Kansas.