Fork in the Road: Wake the Dead

Published: Jan. 28, 2020 at 4:48 PM CST
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A brunch spot in Lawrence is combining its edgy atmosphere with unique food to create an unforgettable experience for the customer.

Brunch is not a new concept, but the way 'Wake the Dead' does brunch is unlike anything you may have seen before.

"Our original concept was based on kind of a New Orleans style mixed with a Day of the Dead atmosphere," said owner Rachael Ulbrick.

Ulbrick is also the designer of 'Wake the Dead's' unique interior, and creates much of the art work hung on the walls.

She said, "I have a degree in fine arts, so I did all the art work for Wake the Dead."

With this being her first business, Ulbrick said she wanted it to be special and the name had a lot to do with that.

"Wake the Dead serves as a memorial for loved ones that we've lost," she said, "We keep them alive through our hospitality and our want to be joyous about life. We want people who come to eat here to feel like family or like they're coming to a friend's house."

In the three years its been in business, 'Wake the Dead' has made a lasting impression on Lawrence.

KU student Brian Heath said he comes once a week.

"I would say the vibe I get from a lot of restaurants is that they're kind of franchises and sort of like people see them as investments or something," he said, "It strikes me that Wake the Dead is something someone's really put some heart and soul into and that's what I like."

Melanie Meyer has had a similar experience.

"I really like it," she said, "I think it's really unique and it's very fitting for Lawrence because we definitely have a lot of theme oriented places, so it's cool to have one themed like this with all the skeletons and stuff."

The menu is made up of homemade and made-from-scratch items, as well as coffee and meat purchased from local distributors.

"The donuts are all my recipes, all the baking items, biscuits, all that stuff," Ulbrick said, "We have some of the best bloody Mary's in town, we have lots of different drinks, and we have tons of coffee items."

She said her grandmother is who she has to thank for her skills in the kitchen.

"She's passed away, but she taught me to make pies, she taught me to make biscuits, she taught me to make everything pretty much," Ulbrick said.

While the menu has changed over the years, one item in particular is a customer favorite.

Meyer said, "The donuts because they have the specialty donuts."

Ione Garrison agreed saying, "They had a blood orange donut one time and I think about it often."

Heath also said the donuts are his favorite.

He added, "They change every single time I've been in and they've got this kind of homemade quality to them that you don't get many other places."

'Wake the Dead' is located at 7 E. 7th Street in Lawrence.

They are closed on Monday, but stay open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.