It was my roommate’s birthday last month and we wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate with a few friends; there were six of us eating. He wanted to eat somewhere with some local flavor that is unlikely to be found in a franchised restaurant like Applebee’s or Chili’s, but at the same time not too pricey because there are a few restaurants in Lawrence where the food can empty your wallet faster than it will fill your stomach.
After weighing the options he decided on Free State Brewing Company, one of the two breweries in town. The food is fresh and the drink is top-notch.
Since it was around 7 p.m. when we left the house we phoned ahead and were put on the wait list before arriving. This is a good idea if planning to eat around noon or between 5-8 p.m. There will be a wait but it is worth it, and since they have an outstanding bar staff and a nice outside patio waiting can actually be a pleasant experience.
There are two staples of Free State’s menu, the Cheddar Ale Soup and the beer the soup’s name is derived from: the Ad Astra Ale. The other appetizers are also tasty; they have a unique chicken tender option as well as several savory dips.
Every day There will be a different dinner special as well as a soup of the day. The special on the aforementioned day was pork kassler en croute. I opted for their turkey bacon focaccia, my roommate ordered the chicken and crawfish gumbo, a few other orders were the fish and chips with the chips substituted for mash potatoes and gravy, which is delightful, and the avocado chimichurri with a salad. We were all too full for desert but Free State has some great after meal options for the strong willed.