K Meisel knows Leeway Franks well. She and her husband Lee established the restaurant in 2015. This fall, they have expanded to include a butcher shop. K’s husband Lee is owner-operator, chef and butcher of Leeway Franks and Leeway Butcher. K is the co-owner and business administrator for Leeway Enterprises.
Leeway Franks offers “high-quality comfort food.” The flavors are “approachable” and “memory driven,” according to K, inspired by family recipes that appeal to all ages.
Leeway Butcher serves as a retail outlet for handcrafted sausages, meat cuts including steaks and chops, deli meats, sandwiches, and more. The shop also offers custom processing and cut-to-order bundles. Meats are sourced from small Kansas farms and livestock producers with an emphasis on humane production methods and sustainable agriculture.
Lee Meisel was born into a cattle ranching family in North Dakota. A member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Lee was schooled in old-world style butchery, sausage making and meat processing. He brought his trade to Lawrence in 2005. Lee earned a business degree from Haskell Indian Nations University and spent more than two decades in the food service industry as a butcher, manager and chef before opening Leeway Franks.
Leeway Franks has won accolades as a Native American-owned certified Minority Business Enterprise. It was named “Minority-Owned Retail Business of the Year” by the Kansas Department of Commerce (2016 & 2018); “Top 50 Native American Entrepreneurs” by Native Business Magazine (2019); and “Emerging Small Business of the Year” by Kansas Small Business Development Center (2019).