In November 2010, I wrote about how Luckie’s Lounge & Grill near the airport was one of Lincoln’s best-kept secrets, serving tasty BBQ ribs, pulled pork and sliced beef in a sports bar atmosphere.
Well, the secret is out.
So much so that Luckie’s now has opened a second location.
Luckie’s owners Jeremy Marteney and Jesse Osborne, along with Chris Beecham, opened Luckie’s Lounge East on Jan. 4 at 5250 Cornhusker Highway, where T&R’s Garden used to be.
The restaurant and bar is part of the Oasis Inn, which used to be a GuestHouse Inn and still has some of the GuestHouse signage.
Marteney said the motel approached them about reopening the restaurant. He and his partners liked the location and size. The banquet space at the new site will allow them to host events up to 400 people -- 300 more than the original Luckie’s can do.
Luckie’s agreed to take it over if it could gut the place, which it did, beginning in November. Today, it’s night-and-day different from when it was T&R's. The new Luckie’s resembles the original, using a sports bar theme.
The best news is the menu’s virtually the same, with many of the delicious BBQ entrees created by Luckie’s West kitchen manager Kelley Beasley available at the new site. The BBQ is smoked at Luckie’s West and then sent over to the East location.
Beasley learned his craft at Sigsbee’s, a BBQ joint that operated in the Highlands for a number of years. His ribs are comparable to the other BBQ restaurants in town.
My co-worker Jordan Pascale ordered the rib sampler ($13.95), featuring baby backs, spare ribs and tips. He raved about them the entire meal.
I went with a lunch special. For $7.95, patrons can enjoy one of many sandwich choices -- I went with pulled pork smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce -- with a choice of three sides. The sides are small, so it’s not as much food as you might think.
Our only disappointment was in co-worker Cory Matteson’s pulled pork nachos ($8.95), which came recommended by our server. We liked the concept -- pulled pork combined with other nacho goodies, such as cheese, black olives, jalapenos, guacamole and more. But the chips were stale.
I found out later from co-owner Beecham that the kitchen refries the chips, which, unfortunately takes away the crunch. The kitchen is working on fixing the problem, he said. Grade: B+
Luckie’s looks good, with a new bar, furniture and fresh paint. Management yanked out the carpet, replacing it with a painted concrete floor, which will be easier to maintain. It’s a sports bar, so it’s filled with neon signs and high-definition televisions. Grade: B
On our lunch visit, only one waitress, Tina, worked the floor. We were one of four tables to arrive at the same time. But she did an admirable job keeping up with drink and food orders.
Because she was by herself, she couldn’t pay attention to details. So my side of potato salad came out as pasta salad.
The turnaround on lunch specials is fast, with food arriving shortly after ordering. Two of my party ordered from the menu, so it was about 15 minutes before we received our dishes.
Marteney said service is a work in progress as they figure out the busy times. Grade: B-
Since Luckie’s specializes in BBQ, there’s not a lot of veggie fare. The sandwich menu includes a veggie melt ($7.25) with Swiss and American cheeses, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives and tomatoes on marble bread and a grilled cheese sandwich on sour dough ($5.25).
There is a variety of appetizers (mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, corn nuggets, etc.) and a few sides, such as coleslaw, potato salad and pasta salad. Grade: D+