overcastOvercast, 72.0°

Longtime Massachusetts Street restaurant closes; local baker semifinalist for James Beard award

The rumors are true. The once-popular downtown restaurant Ingredient has closed.

The restaurant at 10th and Massachusetts streets had been dark for a couple of days, so I went there this morning to investigate. Owner Nick Wysong was there and confirmed he had decided to shut down the restaurant after 12 years in business. He said Lawrence diners should keep their eyes open for him in the future, but he provided no other specifics about his plans.

Ingredient gained a following as a “chef-owned restaurant,” and it featured a heavy dose of wood-fired pizza, gourmet salads and several varieties of sandwiches. Wysong had branched out in the restaurant business recently. Last year he was part of the group that opened Harold’s Chicken Whiskey & Donuts. That restaurant, though, closed not long after it opened. It is not to be confused with Wake the Dead Breakfast Bar, which also involves whiskey, doughnuts and some chicken. It is still operating at 7 E. Seventh St. Leaders of those two businesses at one point in time were connected, but that fell apart.

In this file photo from Nov. 9, 2010, customers eat lunch at Ingredient, 947 Massachusetts St.

In this file photo from Nov. 9, 2010, customers eat lunch at Ingredient, 947 Massachusetts St.

Wysong also took over Jackpot Saloon & Music Hall in downtown Lawrence early last year. It is still open and hosting some concerts.

Wysong didn’t provide any details about what caused him to close the restaurant. However, there are signs of some business struggles in downtown. The list of vacancies is significant. I won’t promise this is a comprehensive list, but here are several prominent vacancies along Massachusetts Street:

— The national chain clothing retailer White House Black Market closed a few weeks ago, leaving its storefront at 714 Massachusetts St. vacant.

— Dan Blomgrem’s Crema Dolce Gelaterio has closed. It was located above Rudy’s Pizzeria at 704 Massachusetts St.

— As we have reported, clothing retailer The Buckle closed its downtown store at 805 Massachusetts. The Buckle closed in March, meaning that large storefront on a very busy block has been empty for almost a year. It looks like the owners are willing to divide that space to accommodate smaller users.

— Another large storefront that has been empty for almost a year is the Pro-Print building at 838 Massachusetts St. This is a little different scenario. Pro-Print did not close. It simply moved its printing business to Sixth and Wakarusa in west Lawrence. It moved out of downtown after owners of the building sold the property. Based on property records on file at the courthouse, it looks like an individual associated with Yantra Financial Technologies has bought the building. Yantra is a financial services firm that is developing technology that helps banks make large transactions at very high speeds. Yantra’s offices currently are next door to the former Pro-Print space. So, I’ll check in soon with Yantra officials to see if there is an update.

— The former Buffalo Wild Wings and Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen space at 1012 Massachusetts St. also is still vacant. That spot may say something about the challenges with downtown restaurants. Buffalo Wild Wings closed in November 2014, and then Jazz closed in fall 2016 after being open for only a year. The large restaurant space has been vacant ever since. As a reminder, Buffalo Wild Wings opened a new location at 27th and Iowa streets. There was some mild surprise that Buffalo Wild Wings would leave an entertainment district like downtown, but officials in 2014 told me they wanted to get to a location with more parking. Thus far, it appears the move has worked well for them. The small shopping center at 27th and Iowa street is undergoing a bit of an expansion currently. (Hope to get you info on some new tenants there soon.)

— The former bank location at 800 Massachusetts St. continues to be vacant. It most recently was home to Great American Bank, but it always planned to be there just temporarily. It occupied the space while its new headquarters was being built at Eighth and New Hampshire streets. The location has struggled to find anything more than a temporary tenant since early 2012 when Central National Bank closed its downtown branch.

Downtown goes through stretches like this. Leases in downtown Lawrence often are done on five-year terms, and there are periods where many of those leases expire all at once, and many changes in business occur at once. There may be some of that going on, but I think there are also just some business struggles, despite some fairly positive economic news otherwise (i.e. sales tax returns.)


In other news and notes from around town:

There is happier food news at the 1900 Barker Bakery & Cafe. Taylor Petrehn has been named as a semifinalist for the Outstanding Baker designation by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. This is the second consecutive year Petrehn has been a semifinalist for the award. Petrehn, who is a co-owner of the business, has gained quite a following for simply made bread that eschews a lot of additives, sweeteners and oils. The menu includes lots of sourdoughs, plus a selection of croissants and other baked goods.

Petrehn is one of two finalists from Kansas. Megan Garrelts of Rye in Leawood is a semifinalist in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category.

Finalists will be announced on March 14.

Taylor Petrehn operates 1900 Barker Bakery and Cafe, 1900 Barker Ave.

Taylor Petrehn operates 1900 Barker Bakery and Cafe, 1900 Barker Ave.

Comments

Brett Hansen

Chad, you usually do a fantastic job, and I'm sure you just glazed over it, but the former Buffalo Wild Wings location hasn't been empty since 2014. Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen was there for around a year.

4 months ago

Report

Nick Gerik

Thanks for the catch, Brett. We've corrected that paragraph.

— Nick Gerik, LJW digital editor

4 months ago

Report

Chad Lawhorn

Yes. You are correct. I forgot about Jazz.
Thanks.

4 months ago

Report

Angie Evers

So this includes Five Bar & Tables? Such a shame! Both were closed Valentine’s Day evening along with Jackpot which I thought was really odd.

4 months ago

Report

Steve Jacob

Nationwide, January was a bad retail month, so things could get worse.

4 months ago

Report

Mike Gant

The Wysong touch is apparently the exact opposite of the Midas touch.

Seriously, though - who opens a restaurant like Harold’s chicken without the capital to keep it running for at least a year? Especially someone with experience in restaurants already. The first year is the hardest for any restaurant, and you likely won’t make a profit for the first two years... yet they didn’t seem to have a plan beyond “paint something cool on the window and they will come.” Jackpot has become a joke compared to its former glory. In•grē•di•ent was never great, and after they started posting ads in their windows about coupons it was clear they were in the Wysong death spiral as well.

4 months ago

Report

Kymberly Kline

Ingredient was a local favorite for many, as is evident by many of the other comments and the 12 years of successful business. Plus the expansion of five bar. I'm not sure what Jackpot you went to in years past, but "former glory" is as much a delusion as your nonsense "Wysong touch." Furthermore, Harolds wasn't a new concept. It had much success in its prior location before moving to Mass. And if you would do a little further research you would have drawn the parallel that many restaurants are closing on Mass.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

Report

Richard Heckler

Lawrence,Kanasa is over retailed ........

OR the USA is about to experience another Supply Side Economic failure under the TRUMP umbrella:

ANTI STIMULUS Economics
http://business.time.com/2012/08/09/a...

Jeb Bush defaulted on a $4.56 million loan from Broward Federal Savings in Sunrise, Florida. After federal regulators closed the S&L, the office building that Jeb used the $4.56 million to finance was reappraised by the regulators at $500,000, which Bush and his partners paid. The taxpayers had to pay back the remaining 4 million plus dollars.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12...

--- The Bush/Cheney trillion tax dollar money hole aka their multi-trillion dollar violent occupation of Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan:

WHAT COULD THIS SPENDING DO FOR YOU, THE USA, OUR COMMUNITIES, OUR CHILDREN, OUR SCHOOLS, NEW JOBS
http://www.costofwar.com/

--- Entitlement program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archiv...

--- What Did Conservatives Do With $700 billion of bank bail out money?
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10...

--- Conservatives DELIIBERATELY CRASHING THE ECONOMY
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfr...

--- Conservatives Bush/Cheney Wall Street Home Loan Heist
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archiv...

--- Conservatives Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12...

4 months ago

Report

Monty Scott

Let's just say it, restaurant goers have spoken with their dollars. Ingredient simply fell out of favor for something better, cheaper or newer.

4 months ago

Report

Clark Coan

Darn, I went regularly to Ingredient and tried to go there the other night, but it was closed. I thought they provided really good food. I'm not surprised the gelato place closed. Not only was it not on ground level but the product wasn't that good, the portions were small and it was a little costly. Certainly not as good as gelato in Italy or even Talenti in supermarkets.

4 months ago

Report

Louis Kannen

While not on your Massachusetts listing of closings, do we know what happened to Little Caesar's ??

4 months ago

Report

Louis Kannen

Hello...anybody home...?? Little Ceasars update please...thanks.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

Report

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

Full LJWorld.com site