When asked what he thinks is the draw of Lucky’s, chef and co-owner Drew Brown notes the friendly atmosphere and, of course, the tasty offerings: “I’m happy with how our [food is] familiar,” he says. “We have a very straight-forward approach to making classic sandwiches – with a few creative flourishes here and there – but we really focus on just making sure that it’s done right.” That translates to fresh, local ingredients from providers like Firsthand Foods, Lil’ Farm and Four Leaf Farm prepared with the right seasoning and cooking techniques (beef fat for the Reuben is a must, Drew shares).
Amidst a food scene bursting with all things new and funky and different, “I think people appreciate being able to come in and just get a tuna sandwich,” Drew says of the restaurant he co-conceptualized with Matt Kelly of Mateo, Vin Rouge and Mothers & Sons.
But an approachable, regular menu does not mean the sandwich masters at Lucky’s never get a chance to show off their chops: Specials tempt patrons daily with the likes of pastrami and onion hash-topped hot dogs, fried bologna every Friday, and Saturday bagel specials. Plus, the salads are ever-changing. “I’d say the biggest seasonal reflection is in the salad case,” Drew says. And he’s extra pumped for what the spring season will provide. “We opened in June , so we got to do a lot of fun things with summer veggies like squash and tomatoes, but haven’t really had a chance with spring [offerings].”
Beyond Italian fare like meatball subs and matzo ball soup, visitors can also find Southern favorites. “We say it’s a Durham deli,” Drew says. “It’s where you can get chopped liver and pimiento cheese in the same place.”
Classic and kid-friendly – think PB&J, grilled cheese, hot dogs – comfort food done right with ingredients you can feel good about.
The line for lunch can get long. Opt for a quieter time, like dinner (they’re open until 8 p.m.), or take advantage of Lucky’s delivery service (an extra $2.50 fee, but worth it).
$3 – $12
Here’s a Tip!
When conceptualizing Lucky’s, Drew says he just wanted a place he could grab “a good Italian sub – the cold cuts, the provolone, the iceberg lettuce – just the classic.” Now, when asked what to order, that’s usually his suggestion: the No. 1, Italian Sub. “There’s a reason it’s No. 1,” Drew adds.
Photography by Briana Brough