Earlier this month, Business Insider released its list of “The 25 Most Hungover Cities in America” — and Lawrence was No. 1.
According to stats that Business Insider pulled from CDC and Census Bureau reports, 8.6 percent of Lawrencians admit to heavy drinking, and 25.9 percent fess up to regular binge drinking. In its Lawrence listing, Business Insider also pointed out that the college town has a high density of bars and liquor stores.
As someone who graduated from the University of Kansas, has lived in Lawrence for 11 years and writes an annual Lawrence bar guide for Ink magazine, I have to say: I’m not at all surprised by my adopted hometown’s hangover-capital status.
Lawrence is home to the first post-Prohibition beer brewery in Kansas, Free State Brewing Co., which opened a few months before Boulevard Brewing Co. in 1989. Beer isn’t just a drink — it’s a point of pride. And residents are accustomed to undergrad keg parties, tailgating, Mass Street bar-hopping and dirt-cheap drink specials. In Lawrence, if someone you know is hungover on a Tuesday, it’s probably because they had one too many $1.75 pints at Free State on Monday.
The best cure for a hangover is to not get one in the first place. But if The Sandbar’s Shark Attack drink comes back to bite you, here are 10 edible (or drinkable) remedies for a Larryville bender, all of them found in Lawrence.
Grilled Glazer: This $6 sandwich squeezes a fried-to-order chicken breast between two halves of a toasted maple doughnut. Cheddar cheese shreds and a secret sauce — Buttermilk? Ranch? Blue cheese? — add an extra dose of decadence. Get it at Harold’s Fried Chicken & Donuts, which opened in December in a gas station at 3300 W. Sixth St. Tip: This place has big windows, so use the drive-through if you want to wear your shades.
Pho with sliced beef: This dehydration-destroying bowl of broth, noodles, beef, veggies and fresh herbs costs $6.95 and is good to the last drop. Get it at Little Saigon Cafe, 1524B W. 23rd St. Tip: A few drops of Sriracha combats stuffy sinuses.
Veggie ramen: There are plenty more comforting noodle soups served at Ramen Bowls, 125 E. 10th St. The Haole ramen ($8.50) is the closest thing to chicken noodle soup. I like the veggie version ($8), spiked with salty miso and loaded with Napa cabbage, fresh spinach, leeks and fried garlic. Tip: Ramen Bowls delivers, so you don’t have to leave the house to get your slurp on.
Quinton’s Reuben: Michael Glenn, a cook at Quinton’s Bar & Deli at 615 Massachusetts St., says the secret to a great Reuben sandwich is grilling the corned beef before stacking it on marble rye. Once the beef is hot, Glenn adds sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, then blankets the pile with sliced Swiss. “The cheese melts and creates a lava with the Thousand Island dressing,” Glenn says. Quinton’s Reuben costs $9 for a full sandwich with chips. Tip: For the same price, you can get a half sandwich with chips and a bread bowl full of soup. Get the spicy chips and potato soup.
Pastrami sandwich: I’m not sure why salted, cured meats make a good hangover cure. My guess is that all that sodium makes you thirsty, so you drink more water and feel less dehydrated. I am sure that Hank Charcuterie, a butcher shop at 1900 Massachusetts St., makes a mean hot pastrami sandwich. The $10 feast stacks house-cured meat high on a crusty Wheatfields Bakery baguette with grainy mustard, melted Swiss and fresh kraut. The sandwich isn’t always on the menu, which changes daily, but you can usually get sliced pastrami for $10 per pound. Tip: Use sliced pastrami in a savory breakfast hash with potatoes, onions and eggs.
Slinger: This old-school hangover cure was invented in St. Louis and perfected at Ladybird Diner, 721 Massachusetts St.. Picture a plate of hash browns topped with a hamburger patty, two eggs, chili, cheese and onions. The $9.99 breakfast special is served all day. Tip: Don’t leave without ordering a slice of pie ($4.19). My favorite is the peanut butter — or maybe the coconut cream.
NoLaw Bloody Mary: On weekends hungover Lawrencians flock to The Roost, a breakfast and lunch spot at 920 Massachusetts St. with six unique Bloody Marys on the bar menu. My favorite is the NoLaw Bloody Mary ($7), made with Spicy V8, vodka, lemon, minced garlic, horseradish, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning and North Lawrence pickles. Tip: If you need caffeine with your hair of the dog, order one of The Roost’s new spiked coffee drinks. The Buffalo Clover ($8) is a vanilla latte with honey and Jim Beam bourbon.
The Drunken Chicken: This specialty pie from Fat Freddy’s Pizza & Wings, 1445 W. 23rd St., is not for the faint of heart. The Drunken Chicken pizza ($14.99) is topped with chunks of chicken breast dressed with sticky Jameson Irish Whiskey-spiked sauce, plus smoked ham, red onions, green peppers, mozzarella and blue cheese. Tip: If you’re feeding a crowd, get a full order of wings ($7.99) with Fat Freddy’s “Triple F” sauce, a mix of hot, honey and garlic sauces.
Hot Hawaiian Kobe burger: Craving a big ol’ burger? Head to Dempsey’s Burger Pub, 623 Vermont St., for a Hot Hawaiian Kobe — that’s a Kobe beef patty on a pretzel bun topped with sweet pineapple-jalapeno chutney, smoky bacon and spicy Sriracha aioli. Tip: Turn up the heat with a side of Fire fries ($2) tossed in chili-garlic oil.
Extreme C: When a hangover has you feeling depleted of vitamins and minerals, head to T. Loft, 4801 Bauer Farm Drive, for a liquid boost. T. Loft’s Extreme C juice ($6 for a medium) mellows kale and spinach with apple, orange and lemon. Tip: If you prefer smoothies, order the antioxidant-rich Blue Maui ($4.50 for a small), which blends pineapple and blueberries with spinach, apple juice and coconut water.
Know of a Lawrence hangover cure I missed? Comment here or tweet @sarah_gish.
Sarah Gish writes dining and bar guides for Ink magazine. She also writes dining columns for The Star’s Chow Town and 913 sections. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @sarah_gish.