July 9, 2010

Dempsey’s Irish Pub – Lawrence, KS

Food, for me, has always defined a city. When I write about Chicago, I write about where I eat. When I write about Texas, I writer about where I eat. And so it goes without saying that one of my first posts since rejuvenating The Yellow Brick Road Trip must be about my favorite place to eat in Lawrence: Dempsey’s Irish Pub.

Well not exactly Dempsey’s Irish Pub – it is really The Burger Stand inside Dempsey’s Irish Pub. A few years ago, Dempsey’s had a small kitchen they weren’t using. So in February 2009, the Burger Stand opened the kitchen for business to serve gourmet burgers. The menu is heart stopping and includes such mouth-watering temptations as the Fromage Burger – a perfectly cooked beef patty topped with cheddar, maytag blue, mozzarella, goat, and gouda cheeses with rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage and oregano.

For vegetarians, I have heard great things about the Romesco Lentil Burger – a lentil patty with Feta cheese, Marcona Almonds, green beans and a roasted red pepper sauce. There are regular specials that delight and challenge the palates of customers. But you might have to hurry because some particularly amazing specials – such as the veal burger – have a tendency to sell out early. And for those who believe a good burger deserves a good beer will also be in luck because Dempsey’s is a full service pub with a wide variety of alcoholic beverages to help wash down your meal.

My personal favorite burger is the Kobe Burger, American Kobe beef with pickled red onion and truffle butter, best when ordered medium rare to medium with a side of truffle fries. The truffle fries alone are legendary. While McDonalds may be content to reheat some frozen potatoes, throw on some salt and call them french fries, Dempsey’s has made french fries an art form. I personally love the truffle fries and don’t think any meal at Dempsey’s is complete without them. My mother is particularly fond of the sweet potato fries. For those who love rich and decadent treats, there are the duck fat fries. They are amazing but are incredibly rich so I would suggest sharing an order.

Dempsey’s is not just a burger joint in Lawrence. For some foodies, it is a house of worship. I have a friend who always orders the Kobe Burger every time he goes to Dempsey’s, which is usually about once a week. I once asked him why he always ordered the same thing and didn’t he think he was missing out on trying some of the other great menu items? He told me, “If I didn’t order the Kobe today and I died tomorrow, my one dying regret would be that I hadn’t eaten the Kobe one last time.”

He was not exaggerating. That is the kind of devotion that a Dempsey’s burger will inspire.

Travel Time: 20 minutes
Travel Distance: 6 miles
Soundtrack: "Volume One" She & Him


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