June 16, 2011

Lucca Grill

By Eric Shangraw

June 16, 2011 Updated Jun 16, 2011 at 10:23 PM CDT

A Bloomington tavern is celebrating 75 years in business.

The Lucca Grill is one of Eric Shangraw's all time favorite places for drink and grub.

Eric's having lunch at the Lucca in this week's You Gotta Eat.

The Lucca Grill has been a downtown Bloomington landmark since it opened on December 9, 1936. A favorite of twin city natives. For years it was a hot spot for local Democrats during election season. Much of the partisanship has fizzled, but the bar and its furnishings are all original. The Lucca is a throwback to yesteryear.

"I guess I just feel like with the tin ceiling and curtains, and some of the décor and the pictures on the wall. It just makes you feel like something that maybe your parents went to when they were young," said customer Paula Wager.

The dumb-waiter hauls food and dishes back and fourth from the second floor kitchen. It is operated manually. Cook Lois Durbin is another fixture. She's worked here since 1971. Lois says she never tried to find another gig.

"I like it hear. I guess that's it," she said.

"It is just always been a meeting place for people of all walks of life. From lawyers to brick layers," said Co-Manager Tony Smith. "They come in and rub elbows and get along," he said.

Photographer Doug Smith and I started with a salad. I suggest you get the homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Doug had the Dago Steak Sandwich. It is advertised as a tender chopped steak on french bread. Difficult Doug was under-whelmed by his order. His mistake. He should have followed my lead and went with a fresh made 10-inch pizza. I had sausage and pineapple toppings. The crust is thin as three sheets of paper. Outstanding with some Parmesan cheese and a shot of Tabasco sauce.

I shared a couple slices with Doug so he could see what he's missing.

Our bill with drinks; $17.67 plus tip.

The Lucca is a trip back in twin city history worth taking any day of the week.

The Lucca Grill is open seven days a week. Reservations are recommended if you're coming for dinner.

Lucca Grill
116 E. Market

Monday-Saturday 11am-midnight
Sunday 3pm-10pm

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