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Showing Support for Local Restaurants During the Pandemic

Everyone knows that when COVID-19 first hit last year, a lot of local businesses and restaurants had to close due to city lockdowns and safety regulations. I was very upset when some of my favorite places had to temporaily close because I wouldn’t be able to grab my favorite food. But after a few weeks, both Johnson and Douglas County changed their COVID restrictions which resulted to more restaurants opening back up with mandatory regulations. And ever since more places opened up after last March, I realized I continuously supported more small, local businesses more than huge food chains due to their authentic food. I have a lot of favorite local restaurants from both Lawrence and Overland Park, Kansas and wanted to share my recommendations from these places for you to try out! 



  • McLain’s Market 

McLain’s Market is my favorite local restaurant in both Lawrence and Overland Park. The restaurant has the best coffee (in my opinion) and they have delicious and savory pastries and dishes. I recommend people getting their iced frosted sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls, muffins, sandwiches, wraps, side of fries, and of course, their classic iced vanilla latte! I have gotten most of the dishes on their menu and have loved them all! My favorite dishes would be The Farm (only at breakfast), The CBS, The Chicken Salad Sandwich, and their Grilled Cheese! 


Click here to see the menu 


1420 Crescent Rd, Lawrence, KS 66044 (on Campus!) 

2412 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66044

10695 Roe Ave, Overland Park, KS 66207 (Overland Park) 


  • Encore Cafe 

My next favorite restaurant is Encore Cafe. Encore Cafe has the best pad thai, (shrimp) fried rice and sesame chicken! I love all their dishes, enjoy trying out all the different meat (they have so many options), and have always tried their other recipes out. I have gotten their orange chicken and appetizers to share with friends before and we have loved them! If you love sharing and eating Asian food with friends, definitely give their place a shot! 


Click here to see their menu 

Address: 1007 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044 


  • Ramen Bowls 

Ramen Bowls is an fan favorite of mine! If you love Ramen, definitely grab some from here! I love coming here with my best friends and trying out unique and authentic ramen bowls. I have grown up eating this dish and really enjoyed their own recipes on theirs! I always get the Hakata Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen and my friends love getting the Goddess Ramen too! We usually also share a side of rice and it’s a great combo to try out! 


Click here to see their menu

Address: 918 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044

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  • The Burger Stand at the Casbah

When I say I love their burgers, I love their burgers. Burgers are my favorite food and when I first came to Lawrence, I knew I had to check this place out! From burgers, fries, to milkshakes, the Burger Stand has it all! I have tried numerous burgers and milkshakes from here and would definitely recommend people trying out the Smoke Burger or the Kobe Burger. With those, I usually grab a side of truffle or sweet potato fries (my favorite!) with an Oreo milkshake! I always try different combos out and this is one I definitely recommend! 


Click here to see their menu

Address: 803 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044


  • Hawaiian Bros 

If you love chicken, I definitely think you should come here! I tried this restaurant out last year and have been obsessed! From their Huli Huli Chicken to their Honolulu Chicken, you can’t go wrong! Along with the chicken, their plates consist of rice and mac&cheese which makes it even better! Not only have my friends and I enjoyed their plates, a lot of people have told me to try their soft serve (which I haven’t been able to try yet). They say it’s delicious and that they grab it constantly when they’re grabbing takeout. 


Click here to see their menu 

Address: 1501 W 23rd St, Lawrence, KS 66046


Overland Park 

  • Cactus Grill 

In Overland Park, my favorite Mexican restaurant has got to be Cactus Grill. Their dishes never fail to amaze me. This is my friends and I’s favorite spot to go to for lunch to grab their Espinaca Con Queso (a must), tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, and burritos (my ultimate favorite!) I usually grab their Monetary Chicken Burrito and my friends get their Chicken Avocado Enchiladas or Chicken Fajitas! 


Click here to see their menu 

Address: 11849 Roe Ave, Leawood, KS 66211

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  • Unforked 


Another fan favorite I usually grab once a month is Unforked. This restaurant is also owned by the same family who owns Sheridan's Frozen Custard which is very also very popular in the KC area. Unforked have delicious tacos, burgers, fries, quesadillas, smoothies, and custards! When I say I always get a strawberry and blueberry smoothie, I always get a smoothie. I believe it tastes so good with their Chicken Quesadillas, Citrus Chicken Tacos, and their Truffle Fries. These are my favorite dishes to buy and my friends also love their other tacos and custards too! 


Click here to see their menu 

Address: 7337 W 119th St, Overland Park, KS 66213


  • Maru Sushi 

If you love sushi and rolls, I definitely recommend this restaurant. My family grabs takeout here all the time and I love the environment of this restaurant. They have so many options for sushi and I try new rolls all the time. My parents enjoy their Sushi and Sashimi Entree with the Spicy Tuna Roll and I get a variety of rolls. The rolls I enjoy buying are their California Rolls (a classic), Boss Roll, Shrimp Killer Roll, the Jayhawk Roll, and the Rock N Roll. If you love rolls, you have to go here! 


Click here to see their menu 

Address: 5621 W 135th St #2620, Overland Park, KS 66224

  • Nick and Jake’s 

Another restaurant my family enjoys grabbing food from is Nick and Jake’s. This is one of the places where we get the same thing each time because we enjoy it eating it that much. I have tried a lot of their dishes and I would say my favorite dishes have to be their Mama’s Meatloaf, Chicken Pot Pie, Smokey Chicken Pasta, Chicken Fingers, and 1/2 Pounder burger. I would also recommend their ribs or any of their small plates! 


Click here to see their menu

Address: 6830 W 135th St, Overland Park, KS 66223


  • Shack Breakfast and Lunch 

I have a lot of breakfast places and Shack is definitely at the top of my list! The thing I love about their menu is the unique names they have for all their dishes. Most restaurants have simple and straightforward titles but for Shack, you have to read the description of each dish specifically to see what you’re getting. I love all their plates, skillets, and dishes from their Griddle Love section. The dishes I enjoy eating here have to be their Make a Grown Man Cry, Love Me Now, Hate Me Later, Why the French Hate Us, and Make Yourself a Dang Quesadilla. My friends have also enjoyed their french toast and pancakes too! If you haven’t tried this place, you have to try it! 


Click here to see their menu (pdf)  


Address: 7940 W 135th St, Overland Park, KS 66223


If you love supporting local businesses, please consider these restaurants when finding places to dine in or grab takeout from! These restaurants are located in Lawrence and Overland Park, Kansas and have great dishes! I have been going to these ten places a lot for the past several years and believe you will enjoy them as well! If you give any of these dishes or restaurants a try, let me know what you think!

Hi, I'm Wonbin Park. I'm currently a senior studying Journalism and Photography major at the University of Kansas. I have a passion for photography and writing and hope to become a photojournalist in the future! My hobbies include photography, drinking coffee, watching K-Dramas with my friends and family!
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