Have you ever wanted to go to six local dessert places in a row, only eating dessert at each restaurant? Well, now you won’t have to because I did it for you! Unless you want to, of course. I went on a dessert crawl that including six local Lawrence establishments, tried their desserts, and am now officially a dessert expert who can tell you where to go and what to eat.
Sylas and Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream
1014 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
Tucked inside Lawrence’s popular and historic Massachusetts Street, Sylas and Maddy’s has served incredible homemade ice cream since 1997. According to their website, they make their own ice cream and waffle cones fresh every day. The family-friendly shop has several original and interesting flavors such as Graduation Day and Ladybug Crunch, as well as the more traditional flavors such as cookie dough and mint chocolate chip. The shop offers both waffle and sugar bowls and cones, and a variety of shakes, malts, smoothies, and other drinks in addition to ice cream. While there, I got a five flavor sampler with scoops of Princess Raspberry, French Silk Mint, Cake Batter, Graduation Day, and Rock Chocolate Jayhawk. Out of these flavors, my favorite was French Silk Mint. BONUS: What’s better than free ice cream? There is a KU Student Deal on Tuesdays, where you can get a buy-one-get-one-free deal if you present a student ID.
My Recommendation – Cake Batter Ice Cream
The Mad Greek
907 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
Also on Mass St, The Mad Greek is a family owned and operated restaurant that serves both delicious Greek and Italian food since 1988. The decoration and atmosphere inside the restaurant are very within the Mediterranean theme and the staff is very friendly. Despite the many tables and booths and flow of lunch and dinner rush traffic, wherever you sit still feels private and you can actually hear whoever you’re talking with at your table. Open seven days a week, lunch is served from 11 to 3 and then dinner after 3 on Monday through Saturday, with a buffet on Sunday until 2, and a Happy Hour from 4 to 6 on Monday through Thursday. During my visit, I got a slice of the Poutinga, which is a traditional Greek cake with honey, spices and custard, and a slice of the Chocolate Overload Cake.
The Poutinga Cake
My Recommendation – The Chocolate Overload Cake
The Burger Stand at The Casbah
803 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
Again on Mass St, The Burger Stand is a frequent stop for many KU students and other local Lawrencians. According to their website, The Burger Stand originally started in 2009 as an Irish pub kitchen before relocating to their current location on Mass St. Their menu has since been expanded to now include gourmet hot dogs, a variety of incredible french fries (of which my favorite is the truffle fries), and a larger vegetarian menu. Their bar menu lists specialty cocktails and over 100 bottles and over 35 craft beers on tap, as well as several alcoholic shakes and malts. When I went, there was even a limited Game of Thrones inspired menu. But sticking with my dessert crawl, I got the chocolate shake and the s’mores shake, both of which are nonalcoholic. The Burger Stand also includes a popular beer hall, which is their basement bar. BONUS: The Burger Stand offers $5 Burger and Fries every night after 10 PM.
My Recommendation – The S’Mores Shake
Free State Brewing Company
636 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
This restaurant definitely stands out amongst the others. It’s no surprise that a place with the slogan of “Because without beer, things do not seem to go as well” printed on all of their glasses serves such top-notch beer and food. The atmosphere inside the restaurant is comfortable, with notable design elements such as exposed brick walls and a back area with a skylight and lots of natural light, which is quieter and gives off a more private and peaceful feel. Doubling as a brewery and a restaurant, Free State offers a variety of food choices, including (you guessed it) dessert. For my visit, I ordered the raspberry cheesecake and the carrot cake, both of which were delicious. However, word of mouth (my mouth, from previous visits) is that the tiramisu here is absolutely incredible and cannot be beat.
My Recommendation – The Tiramisu
7 E 8th St, Lawrence, KS 66044
Not exactly dessert, but you should choose to ignore that stipulation because this place is definitely cool and definitely deserves a spot on this list. HiTea is a small shop that serves a variety of bubble tea within the confines of pink walls and the company of several stuffed animals lining the shelves. A cute and quiet sitting room offers a nice respite from the many noisy spots in Lawrence. The bubble tea is both delicious and beautiful, with the flavor combinations often resulting in a cool and colorful gradient. The drinks are typically given in plastic to-go cups, which is very convenient. For my visit, I ordered the Lemon Flower Bubble Tea, and it lived up to expectations. All of my friends love this place, so I would suggest going if you haven’t already. Not sure what to order? Pick a flavor that sounds cool, odds are it’ll taste great and look even better.
My Recommendation – Lemon Flower Bubble Tea
925 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66044
This place is awesome. Located only a short distance from campus, this bakery is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s right, its always open and it always has pastries! At very affordable prices, you can walk in at any time and pick out whatever delicious confection catches your eye. With plenty of seating, feel free to go in with friends and study or procrastinate over whatever dessert your heart desires. Their website explains that this bakery is family owned and operated and that the pastries are baked from scratch daily, which is something that makes this place even better. When I went, I ordered an eclair and some cinnamon rolls, and while both were delicious, I have to say that the cinnamon rolls knocked it out of the park. Small and bite-sized, it was like eating the love child of a donut and a cinnabon. Highly recommend.
My Recommendation – Cinnamon Rolls
My Recommendation – Cinnamon Rolls
Lawrence clearly has plenty to offer in the way of desserts and local cuisine. These are just a few of the countless options. Most of these restaurants are central to the popular Massachusetts Street and are close to the KU campus, so they are conveniently located for KU students. Whatever comfort food you’re craving, whether it be a Greek delicacy or a bakery staple — this list has you covered.