In the former home of the Payless Laundromat at Ninth and Mississippi streets in Lawrence, Kansas, diners soon will be enjoying Detroit-style pizza and craft cocktails. This month, Big Mill plans to open its doors in the newly designated historic building, which also has been home over the decades to a grocery and a butcher shop. 

Owner Brad Ziegler undertook an extensive renovation of the property, which has stood on the West Oread property since 1915. Taking care to modernize the interior to be suitable for dining, Ziegler also preserved nods to the building’s history as a grocer, and then for decades, a laundromat. The interior will feature elements of the laundromat as playful décor. It also will feature photographs of the towering Dutch mill that once stood at Ninth Street and Emery Road, just a few blocks from where Big Mill is located today. 

Big Mill will specialize in Detroit-style pizza, memorable for its square shape that comes from being cooked in a square, steel pan. Detroit-style pizzas also have Wisconsin brick cheese spread all the way to the edges of the pan before being cooked, so even the crusts are cheesy and satisfying. At Big Mill, customers will be able to try plain cheese and pepperoni pizzas, as well as pizzas featuring wild mushrooms and caramelized onions, pork and fennel sausage with pickled peppers, and housemade chorizo with squash and pickled onions, among other varieties. 

Big Mill will also serve a variety of shareable plates, including cauliflower and beets with salsa verde and Feta, crispy fish and chips, beer-battered onion rings, caramelized onion dip and pork meatballs. The restaurant also plans to offer a tidy selection of burgers, including a classic American double; a mushroom-quinoa burger with chipotle-onion jam, avocado and white Cheddar; a salmon burger with lemon-caper aïoli; and a pork burger with jalapeño-apple relish. An avocado Caesar salad, as well as a kale and roasted squash salad with pepitas and honey-poblano dressing, will also be on offer. 

The restaurant will also feature a full-service bar with 12 TVs – ideal considering the restaurant’s proximity to the KU campus, and with March Madness just around the corner. A wide selection of beer and wine will be available, and Big Mill will also offer its own specialty cocktails, which are subtle plays on classics. A Memorable Fancy, for example, features bourbon, Demerara syrup, Angostura bitters and black walnut, and is touted as “a maple-forward variant of an Old Fashioned.” The herby St. Thomas is a tribute to a Tom Collins and features botanical gin, Saint Germaine, lemon and simple syrup. 

Big Mill is currently hiring, and plans to open its doors within a few weeks. 

Big Mill, 900 Mississippi Street, Lawrence, Kansas, bigmilllawrence.com

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