Mike Lucas opened Luke's -- A Steak Place more than twenty years ago, and it has been an established steakhouse ever since. But this year Lucas decided to retire, leaving the restaurant in the hands of new owner Robert Meyer. Over six weeks this fall Meyer completely renovated the interior of the restaurant, but the menu -- and the steaks -- will remain largely the same.
Meyer himself has been in the food industry for forty years. "I started as dishwasher and worked my way up," he says. For the last 25 years he had been running country clubs in the area, including Green Gables Country Club from 1993 to 2005.
Meyer was working in California when he got the call that Lucas was retiring from the business. "This was not my first try at buying a restaurant, it was my fifth and it finally happened," Meyer says. "I contacted [Lucas], sat down with him, looked over the books and everything else, and decided it was the right opportunity to finally buy my own place."
Before the remodeling, restaurant had a mountain lodge sort of look. "It wasn't the image that I thought a steakhouse should have," Meyer says. So he decided to make some changes. He took out the elevated area in the middle of the dining room, installed booths, painted the wood interior, changed the chairs and lighting, and added two stone walls and a wine cabinet -- all in six weeks. "We're not a fast turnaround place; people sit here for ninety minutes," he notes. "You've got to have a comfortable chair."
But he doesn't plan nearly as many changes for the menu. "We've got such a huge following that's been built up over the last twenty years," Meyer explains. "And I wanted to keep those and be true to them. They've been coming here for those steaks for all that time." So he kept all the old items on the menu, and is continuing to use the same meat purveyor. The entire staff also remains the same.
Next Wednesday he'll launch a new menu that adds a few items, including rib-eye steak and rack of lamb. Other changes include a new happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., a bar menu -- with items like sliders, steak tacos and crab cakes -- and a weekly special. "When I read the reviews, there were some people who were cost-conscious," Meyer says. "So we added the weekly special that will come in at $22.95 for a complete meal: salad, entree and two sides."
For more information or to make reservations, visit the Luke's website.
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