A Little History of J. Wilson's

By J Wilsons
July 11, 2017
Category: Wilson's News

A little History


     Back in 2001, we opened a restaurant at this site called Mariscos.  Our name Mariscos meant “seafood” in Spanish. The name fit us because we focused on Southwestern style cuisine and seafood.  The concept lasted a few years but we slowly morphed into Modern American food.  Our guests were more comfortable with local cuisine. And, we found it to be the right thing to do in so many ways.

     In August 2016, we remodeled and rebranded into J. Wilson’s, a name that reflected our roots and our Modern American food.  In 1978, Rick Renfro, our owner bought a little bar called Johnny’s Tavern from a gentleman named John Wilson.  We like to think that we are the grown up version of Johnny’s, serving an upscale cuisine in our chic but casual atmosphere.


     We now focus our efforts on serving Modern American cuisine and locally sourced products as often as we are able.  Seafood, still a menu staple at J. Wilson’s.  We take great pains to source seafood that is fished responsibly and sustainably.  Our wine list consists of smaller boutique wineries that are environmentally conscious. Sustainable wine growing practices protect our soil, air and water – elements that breathe life, and ultimately flavor, into the grapes and wines. Our bar manager chooses locally distilled, locally brewed, organic and family run operations whenever possible. 


     You're Welcome to J. Wilson’s family.  We are proud to be a local business and we work hard to be good stewards of our earth.  We look forward to sharing our philosophy and culinary experience with you.  We hope you will find it all Inappropriately Good.

Tags: #therestaurantthatsavedtheworld

You've Found Your New Favorites

By J Wilsons
February 01, 2017
Category: Culinary Creations

Thanks to all of you who have visited and enjoyed J. Wilson's since we've opened in August 2016.  Sometimes, our guests wonder what the house favorites are.  Well,here are some of the top favorites you, our guests have latched on to as your favorite things so far. 


-Benny's, lots of Benny's

-Weekend Mimosa Flights & Johnny's Blue Collar Lager eye openers.


-Grazing Board & Cheese Board Appetizer.

-Crab Cakes, our old stand by.

-Shrimp Dip, you'll find one on every table.

-Bar Plates of Leeks Poutine and Shrimp Dip Tortillas


-Grilled Cheese Sandwich & Tomato Bisque.


-Catch of the Day- always sell out!

-Peel & Eat Shrimp & Crab Sundays


-Flat Iron Steak & Flat Iron Salad

-Tender Filets - we serve more of these than anything!

-Shrimp & Grits

-Champagne poached Salmon

-Golden trout


-Chocolate Chip Cookie Dome with, of course, Haagan Daas Ice Cream.


Stay tuned...we will have more, new favorites just around the corner.  

Tags: Crab Benny Brunch Grazing Board Shrimp Dip Shrimp & Grits

Waste Not, Want Not, A J. Wilson's Philosophy

By J Wilsons
February 01, 2017
Category: Wilson's News

     As we have been open for over six months now, we continue to evolve into the local restaurant you can be proud to call your favorite.  When we set out to create our new brand we set out some principles that are important to us.  Waste not, want not is one of those principles that we focus on each and every day.  Just like generations of cooks before us, we make use of every scrap and turn them into culinary delights.


     Here is a look into the inner workings of our kitchen and how we are putting that philosophy to work for you and for generations to come.


     When Chef Ty creates a dish, he thinks about each ingredient.  When he sources those ingredients, he looks at the; who, what, where, when and why of each one.  He looks at the integrity of the producer, where it comes from (local is the goal), its seasonality, sustainability and most importantly, the way in which you, our guest, will enjoy it in a dish.  It must pass the umami test; or utter deliciousness of the dish. 


     Now that we have these fine ingredients in house, Chef Ty makes sure the devil is in the details.  For example, he sourced whole parmesan wheels not only for the flavor but because it uses less packaging than pre-shredded or smaller blocks of cheese.  (Thank you Ty for making an inappropriately good Caesar salad without any shredded cheese additives.)  Ok, so what happens to the very large rind of the Parmesan that does not go into your salad? 


     “Why not,” says Chef Ty, “throw it into boiling water and make a stock?” Ever wonder why our risotto is so rich and flavorful?  Yes, that rind that could have been destined for the garbage is now the umami of one of our side dishes! 


     What happens to the bones when we debone our Campo Lindo Chickens?  What do we do with all the shrimp shells, onion skins, carrot tops, celery leaves, fresh herb trimmings and other by-products left when we prep your favorite dish?  You guessed it.  Chef Ty makes amazing soups, infuses oils or cooks vitamin rich vegetable, chicken or fish stocks.   He smokes trout and salmon for appetizer plates, omelets and eggs benedicts. He marinates beef filet scraps for carne asada tortillas.  He repurposes what could have easily been thrown away. 


     We make sure that our selected purveyors live by the same principles we embrace.  Chef Ty takes the time to cultivate relationships with those producers right here in our community to create a large community of people who feed you.  Our meats and vegetables are sourced locally from such farms as Two Sisters, Backyard Produce, Limestone Gardens and Stirring Soil Farm. When our local farmers put such care into everything they grow, it is our responsibility to follow through with our own detailed attention to their products as well. 


     It is our hope that you can taste the love and care that goes into each dish we prepare at J. Wilson’s.  We strive to nourish your soul, and will do our part to waste not, want not for many years to come.


 Are you the master of your own efficient kitchen with expert methods to reduce waste?  Know someone who is? 


Do you have methods to reduce waste in your kitchen?  Share your story with us.

If so, share your stories with us here or on facebook.

Tags: Inappropriately Good Lawrence Restaurants Sustainability #LFK

An Incredible Ride

By J Wilsons
January 17, 2017
Category: Wilson's News

     It’s been four months now since we opened the doors as J. Wilson’s.  August 2016 was the beginning of an incredible ride as we put into action all the plans we made while closed for construction.   Once we opened, we were happy that so many of our fans excitedly knocked down the doors to see what we had created.  We had a few missteps as most restaurant openings do, learned from our mistakes and finally hit our stride.  Thankfully most everyone who came through our doors that month already loved us as Mariscos and understood that our misadventures were only temporary.

     We’ve grown into our own since then and had an amazing holiday season.  We put our new banquet space to use as large groups took advantage of its flexibility and beauty.  Many new faces accompanied their friends and family for celebrations and holiday gatherings.  New people are still discovering us every day and we’re thrilled to get the chance to get to know them and welcome them into the J. Wilson’s family. 

     We’ve also made a few shifts in personnel.  Bruce Owens is worth mention here.  He is a 30 year veteran of the restaurant industry and a certified Sommelier.  Before our transformation to J. Wilson’s, Bruce worked for us as a server, sharing his talents with only a few guests at a time.  We’ve expanded and changed his role to become our exclusive, in-house sommelier.  Now, Bruce is able to visit with and give all of our guests a heightened dining experience with his spot on wine suggestions.  He is a master at teaching and telling stories about wine, creating flights and pairings and generally shooting the breeze with his wit and wisdom. We are proud to be the only restaurant in the area with this kind of staff member, and Bruce is definitely one of a kind.  Ask for him when you come in – you’ll be glad you did.

     Not too long after our opening, Chef Ty flexed his creative muscle with an inappropriately good dinner for some of our regular guests, the affectionately self-titled, “J. Wilson’s Club.”   He created a mind-blowing seven course meal of authentic, Spanish cuisine beautifully paired with a collection of Spanish wines carefully chosen by Bruce.  By the end of the evening, they were pleasantly stuffed, had a healthy buzz on, and were singing Chef’s praises.

     Going into the New Year, we’re very excited for the many upcoming events we have on the horizon.  We will have special things planned for the customary holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter & Mother’s Day Brunch and Graduation.  We’re also planning to host monthly, alternating beer, wine or liquor dinners. 

     For our first beer dinner, we’ve partnered with Odell Brewing Company out of Fort Collins, Colorado.  Chef Ty has created six courses of heightened Mexican cuisine, featuring authentic and local ingredients to pair with six of Odell’s finest craft beers.  He has been nurturing an incredible mole for nearly 60 days especially for this dinner.  You can check out the menu on our facebook page-“jwilsonsks”.

     Furthermore, you can expect a winter menu update very soon as we tweak refine and make our offerings seasonal and fresh.  Stay tuned for more on that quest in upcoming blogs.

     To one and all, Happy New Year!  Our staff has made J. Wilsons-related resolutions to better themselves for you.  We hope one of your resolutions includes joining us on our incredible culinary ride at J. Wilson’s.  Inappropriately good.

Tags: Inappropriately Good Lawrence Restaurant Beer Dinner LFK

Staff Training for Perfection!

By J Wilsons
July 27, 2016
Category: Transformation Update

Our staff is working hard during our downtime to make sure we always provide the best possible experience! 

Tags: Transformation Renovation Construction
1 Comment

It's coming into view.

By J Wilsons
July 24, 2016
Category: Transformation Update
Dear J. Wilson's family,

I have been thinking of making changes to Mariscos for five years.  Now that the demo is over, the vision is finally coming into focus.  J. Wilson's is rising from the saw dust!

Of course, before the new begins, it's out with the old.  We cleared every nook and cranny in the kitchen to lay a new floor.  The kitchen is finally back in working order and looks shiny new.  Our staff did an amazing job of cleaning, repairing and reorganizing for an efficient, bright work space.  Now, the magic begins with Chef Ty cooking and training our culinarians on our new, amazing menu. 

I have been working with a remarkable group of dedicated, talented professionals over the past three weeks.  They too live by our motto of "Whatever it takes."  They have put in long hours in the heat and dust to rough it all in.  Not the prettiest but, no job gets done right without the proper foundation.   Bud Hunt of Hunt, Inc is leading the project and he does it all the right way, to perfection.

The bar top is on.  Can't wait to serve the first signature cocktail that Lisa has created just for you.

The wine cabinets are so cool.  And, so is the wine list that our Sommelier, Bruce has created.

The chairs have arrived.  Beautiful, comfortable and classy.

The painters blew us all out this weekend while spraying lacquer on all of our newly stained surfaces.  It's really coming together and looks great.

My goal date of July 25th, as many of you had stated, was a little too ambitious.  We may take a week longer and be open around the first of August.  Good things take time. 

And, J. Wilson's is definitely turning out to be inappropriately good.

See you at J. Wilson's.



Menu Tastings & Staff Training

By J Wilsons
July 20, 2016
Category: Culinary Creations

While the building construction is in progress, we are also constructing the new J. Wilson's menu! Our kitchen staff and Chef Ty have been busy cooking up some delicious options. We have also been focused on staff training to make sure that we are always focused on our clients having the best possible experience. Yesterday, staff took on the challenge to taste about half of the new menu options and trust us, it is inappropriately good. 

Signs Up!

By J Wilsons
July 14, 2016
Category: Transformation Update

This is really happening! The old Mariscos signs have come down and the new J. Wilson's signs are up. We have also updated our social media sites. Wow...this is happening fast.

Let us know what you think of the new signage!

Demo Days!

By J Wilsons
July 06, 2016
Category: Transformation Update

The construction crews have started and we have been experiencing Demo Days! We were shocked how quickly things moved forward and how much has changed in such a short amount of time. Check out these photos!

Tags: Construction Renovation Rebranding Update

Friday at Mariscos

By J Wilsons
July 01, 2016
Category: Transformation Update

Unlike any other Friday, this one is our last one as Mariscos!  I look forward to seeing our Friday night regulars and sharing a few laughs and memories tonight.  Chef Ty will continue to dazzle you with a feature that might possibly make it on the new J. Wilson's menu. Want to be one of the first to try it?

See you at Mariscos.

Four More Days as Mariscos

By J Wilsons
June 30, 2016
Category: Transformation Update

It's our last Thursday as Mariscos.  It has been quite a run so far and we are all looking toward our future as J. Wilson's. 

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of our success so far.  A restaurant run of 15 years is something!   From our staff to our wonderful guests, thanks for making it so much fun for me.  I love going to the restaurant everyday and enjoy working together to make special things happen for our guests. 

I am working hard on creating a beautiful space for you as J. Wilson's  In the mean time, ...

See you tonight at Mariscos,


P.S. Happy birthday to my OLDER brother, Mark Samuels who turns 60 today!

J. Wilson’s/Marisco’s Renovation Begins

By J Wilsons
June 29, 2016
Category: Transformation Update

Marisco’s Restaurant will begin the transformation into J. Wilson’s beginning July 5th. In order to ensure the best guest experience possible, the restaurant will temporarily close during the renovation. Patrons can follow along with the progress at or by following Marisco’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Under the current owners, Rick and Nancy Renfro, J. Wilson’s will build off the strong foundation created by the culinary team at Marisco’s. With a sophisticated yet casual feel, J. Wilson’s will provide guests with a distinctive culinary experience. The restaurant will also feature an updated bar featuring well-chosen and finely crafted offerings, Bar Plates, Happy Hour and Reverse Happy Hour. Additional banquet space for special gatherings, meetings and events for groups up to 50 people is also being added.

“I dream big and this project has definitely become more involved than we originally thought,” said Nancy. “I know our guests will be thrilled by the new space, menu and overall atmosphere.”

Drawing from the bounty of each season, J. Wilson’s will continue to offer New American Cuisine with a contemporary flair. While keeping Midwestern roots, there will be an ongoing focus on sustainable, locally sourced food, featuring high quality seafood and steaks. J. Wilson’s will also continue to take care of those guests who prefer or require vegetarian and gluten-free options.

As part of the renovation process, Marisco’s is hosting an auction of artwork, furniture, fixtures, dishware and more. Items available are appropriate for both business and home use. The auction is open until July 1st at 7:00pm. A viewing of available items will be held on July 30th from 2:00 to 4:00pm at the restaurant. Items can be viewed and bid on online at Equip-Bid Website

Tags: Renovation Transformation New American Cuisine Restaurant Auction Seafood Steaks Happy Hour Lawrence KS LFK

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