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Review of Ladybird Diner

June 15, 2017

Tucked in between a bougie seafood restaurant and a jewelry store is the Ladybird Diner. When I first walked into Ladybird, I was welcomed by the smell of pies, burgers, and everything else that reminded me of a classic American home. The dining area is decorated with colorful objects- ranging from small statues on tables to a large buffalo head adorned by flowers. Ladybird is the definition of “vibrant.”

The first person I saw was Meg Heriford, the owner of Ladybird Diner. Her arms were covered with a few tattoos, she had extravagant, pink, cat-eye glasses, and wore a black dress with a colorful, frilled apron. Everything about her yelled vintage. It was clear that a lot of her inspirations were taken from the early 1960’s, including the name itself.

“I borrowed it from Ladybird Johnson,” Heriford said, “I really appreciate her approach to small details. She was just this badass lady in curls and quaffed hair.”

There’s no such thing as ‘lazy’ at Ladybird”

— Kianti Vann

One of the most important things I noticed at Ladybird was that everyone was almost constantly moving. Heriford quickly served up drinks as soon as a customer sat down at the bar, employees were tending to the donut display case, and various workers were moving quickly around the kitchen.

“Everybody does everything,” said Kianti Vann, a recently hired employee, “There’s no such thing as lazy at Ladybird.”

Ladybird has been open since the Fall of 2013 (excluding their short hiatus due to a fire), and came because of Heriford’s locally famous pies.

“There’s definitely a reaction in this town as soon as I was making pies at 715- I was doing weekend desserts there. It was sort of built around the pie and there was a diner missing in this town. There was no lunch counter, comfort food so that’s the niche I was looking to fill. That’s kind of my style of cooking so I gave it a shot and turned out to be successful.”

The Ladybird Diner was unlike any restaurant I’ve experienced in Kansas. The hanging lights made of Pyrex bowls, the quirky salt & pepper shakers, and the beautiful display of pies brought the entire restaurant to the comforting feeling of home. I commend Meg Heriford for her ability to accurately recreate this feeling in the middle of downtown Lawrence, Kansas.

Photo by Jackson Barton

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