Bike the Prairie Spirit Trail

Calling all bikers!

Nope, not that kind—the ones of the cycling variety. Peach has a fun new opportunity this Saturday for our bicyclist friends. Looking at you, Bike Beer Wednesday folks.

Load your bike onto the historic Midland Railway at the Baldwin City Depot and take a train ride to Ottawa, where you’ll have the chance to ride to the Prairie Spirit Trail. Meet the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks trail managers and enjoy hot dogs and beer (again, looking at you, BBW’ers) at the Old Depot in Ottawa.

Then, ride your bike to the oldest operating cinema in America—established in 1905—and enjoy a complimentary tour of the Plaza’s Movie Memorabilia Museum.

Finally, you’ll return on the train and arrive in Baldwin City by 2:30 p.m.

This great opportunity is compliments of the Baldwin City EDC Inc.  Bring the whole family for a day of adventure! Email Peach at to reserve your spot.

Saturday, April 25
9 a.m.
Baldwin City Depot

Dracula Unveiling

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of the year—we love any excuse to wear costumes!

This year, Peach has put together a fun event at the Plaza Cinema in Ottawa, the oldest operating movie theater in the world and one of her many business adventures.

Get out your best Halloween costume and head south for a costume contest: the best vamp and vampire costumes will win free year-long movie passes!

The fun starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, with spirits and bites, along with the unveiling of the Dracula Museum. There will also be a special movie screening of 1931’s “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi and Young Frankenstein.

The cover charge is $15, and you can buy tickets in advance by calling the Plaza at 785.242.5555. The costume awards and party will resume at the stroke of midnight at the South Beach Cove in Ottawa (formerly our Sandbar South location!).

Dracula Unveiling at the Plaza Cinema |


Movie Memorabilia in Ottawa

It’s history in the making!

We’ve talked before about Peach’s movie theater venture in Ottawa, and how it’s presumed to be the oldest operating theater in America and possibly the world. She’s been working hard on the latest incarnation of the business– the Plaza Movie Memorabilia Museum.

The grand opening of the new museum is Thursday, May 15, at 7 p.m. The exhibit includes a collection of props from movies like King Kong, Hunger Games, Three Musketeers and more.

Lawrence’s resident movie star Keith Loneker has also loaned some items to the museum, and he’ll be at the opening event.

There’s a limited number of tickets available, so get yours now! Call the Plaza at 785.242.5555 to reserve your spot.

We’re excited to check out the new museum! The Plaza is really a cool old movie theater, the kind you don’t see around much anymore. Sandbar friends have had many great times there, including our Rocky Horror Picture Show bus trips at Halloween and a “staff retreat” when we all carpooled down there one afternoon to watch a movie (and someone got a speeding ticket).

Preserve the Plaza, oldest operating theater in America

I have been seriously bad about keeping this blog up. Once upon a time, there were four or five new posts each week. When I logged in to write this, I realized there were three posts for the entire month of September. Believe me, there’s more going on at the Sandbar than that; I’m just not there to see it these days.

But, here’s something awesome for you.

If you’ve followed the Sandbar for any length of time– or if you really know the owners like you insist to the doorguy– then you know Peach, our founder, also owns the Plaza Grill & Cinema, a movie theater slash bar and grill down the road in Ottawa.

But did you know this: she recently uncovered evidence of the theater showing movies all the way back in 1905, making it a candidate for the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest operating theater in America.

And now, there’s a plan to convert the theater into an interactive historical experience so that people can enjoy the magic of the cinema in the middle of America.

How can you help? Well, there’s a Kickstarter project taking place right now. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a crowdsourced funding platform that brings project creators together with backers to make things happen.

You can donate as little as a buck or as much as you want to this project– but unless the project is fully funded, you won’t spend a dime.

The goal of this project is to raise $45,000. The project has three stages that are described here, and it will add jobs as well as economic growth to the community of Ottawa.

What are you waiting for?! Go check it out here, and make a donation if you can.

Preserve the Plaza: Oldest Operating Theater in America

Why a beach bar took a dive into sandwiches

The Sandbar, a downtown beach bar, has been a staple on the Lawrence bar scene since 1989. A little over a decade ago, Sandbar founder Peach started dabbling with the idea of expansion.

“The subs story started when I found out that most downtowns would not allow a bar to go in without food sales,” she said.  Overland Park and other similar towns—including Lawrence–  have zoning regulations to prevent the same type business.

Longtime bartender and manager David Johanning agreed to take over the responsibility of the Lawrence bar while Peach explored expansion options.  This was during the time the Legends shopping center in nearby Kansas City was under construction.  “We were asked to participate in the original Legends plan,” Peach said, “but realized we were not experienced enough at that time to handle such volume.”

The small town of Ottawa, close to home, was a great place to test ideas and concepts.  Peach opened a second Sandbar location that was a restaurant and bar (click here to read more stories about the Ottawa adventures) and enjoyed it, but she knew it wasn’t quite the right match.

During this time, the Madls became friends with the Zaremba family of Zarco66. The Zarembas had just bought a store in Ottawa, and Scott and his family often came into the restaurant on wing night.

A downtown Ottawa sub shop without table service was the next effort, and boy it worked. It was great fun, Scott came down and enjoyed the food and a partnership was born. We now have three Sandbar Sub Shops inside Zarco66 convenience stores in Lawrence and Ottawa.

The Sandbar Subs World Headquarters is slated to open in August, right across the street from the original Sandbar, along with a new location of Peoples Bank.

Now how did the relationship with Peoples Bank happen?

Peach explains, “Well, back in the old days, banks would sometimes be ‘not nice.’ My husband and I had the opportunity to buy the building the original Sandbar bar was in. However, I was rejected by a bank my accountant referred me to– because ‘you receive the majority of your income from the sale of alcohol and we are a family owned bank.’”

Their regular bank wouldn’t loan money for properties outside of Baldwin City. So one day Ted said,  “Hey, I have a cousin who’s a banker, let me call her!”

“That’s when I met Maley Wilkins of Peoples Bank, and she took great care of us.”

Another connection to Peoples Bank comes by way of the Winter family, who are well-known around the Lawrence area.

“When we first got the Crystal Plaza Theater in 2005, it was struggling, “ Peach said. Peoples Bank kept sponsoring events and coming by and supporting us in many ways in Ottawa. The late Wint Winter, Sr., who was chairman of Peoples Inc., was a wonderful man and he is honored at the Plaza Grill and Cinema with a picture on the Wall of LOCAL Stars in the lobby.

As for the new Sandbar Subs World Headquarters/Peoples Bank adventure in downtown Lawrence?

Peach says it came about when Scott and Maley spent time talking instead of listening to speakers at a Chamber event and came up with this wonderful plan.

“And Ted and I said ‘we’re in!’” said Peach.

Usually, this is where they say the rest is history, but in this case, the next chapter is just beginning.

Be sure to join us on August 10 for the big block party bash! Click here for more info.