Luke's, A Steak Place refuses to call it quits in the quiet strip mall at 4990 Kipling Street in Wheat Ridge where Mike Lucas opened it way back in 1992. Lucas just wanted to run a neighborhood joint where guests could get a quality cut of beef for a reasonable price. And over the years, under three different owners, that's exactly what the neighborhood got.
Lucas retired in 2012 and sold his restaurant to Robert Meyer, who ran Luke's for four year before selling it to regular customers Coe and Megan Kunz in 2016.
This year, Luke's changed hands again: It's now being operated by Pat McGrew and her son, Jonathan Malone-McGrew. The two aren't new to the restaurant business; they also own Sideways Sports Lounge at 9134 West 88th Avenue in Westminster and Miles Sports Pub & Grub at 328 McCaslin Boulevard in Louisville.
They purchased Luke's in April after they were approached by a group of neighbors who wanted to make sure that their favorite restaurant landed in good hands. "It's a piece of history, and we didn't want to see it disappear," Malone-McGrew explains.
For the past four months, mother and son have attempted to bring back a little of the original Luke's flair while maintaining the best of what other owners have added. First and foremost, their focus is on the beef. "What we're trying to do is serve Prime steaks but without raising prices much," says Malone-McGrew, who notes that owning three restaurants allows them to get price breaks on steaks, and they can pass that savings on to customers.
While Luke's physical space has gotten upgrades with each new owner, Malone-McGrew discovered a piece of the past that's been returned to the steakhouse's dining room. While cleaning up the restaurant's attic, he discovered a framed copy of a 1996 Westword restaurant review written by Kyle Wagner. "It took about two weeks to clean the grease and dust off," he explains.
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The exact recipe for family-style salad mentioned in the original article has been lost in time, but Malone-McGrew thinks it would be fun to bring it back. "We're trying to take the best of Luke's over the years and then make it a little bit better," he adds.
With three restaurants in the portfolio, Malone-McGrew isn't regularly on site at Luke's. "We have a great general manager here in Keri Fox, though," he notes. "It's a real labor of love, but we're hoping to hold all three of our places as a family entity for quite some time."
Luke's, A Steak Place is located at 4990 Kipling Street in Wheat Ridge and is open from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Call 303-422-3300 or visit lukessteakplace.com for more details.