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Lucky Day aims to become lunch stop, whiskey destination

Lucky Day restaurant will aim to become a lunchtime favorite for time-harried office workers and a Theatre District destination for whiskey lovers.

Located at 320 Pearl St., the space formerly occupied by Century Grill has been taken over by owners Timothy and Morgan Stevens, who own cocktail-and-sausages spot Ballyhoo near the Cobblestone District. The planned opening is June 7.

The building, constructed as a Masonic temple, now holds a dining room redecorated in an 18th-century English style, with new wallpaper and redone floors, Timothy Stevens said.

The back bar has been expanded to hold up to 600 bottles of whiskey, with a rolling library ladder to reach them.

"The entire back bar is ceiling to floor, front-lit so the labels will pop," said Stevens. "I want to take it to the 'Oh my god you've gotta see this,' level, more of a destination, if you're into brown spirits."

The whiskey library will "go deep into brands and varieties, now that whiskies are obtainable from all around the world," Stevens said. It'll be around 400 bottles to start, filling out the shelves this fall. They'll be augmented with classes and presentations from distillers and other brand ambassadors.

The restaurant will seat about 85 diners at first, Stevens said.

At lunch, among other options, Lucky Day will serve hand pies, a quick-serve mobile meal that Stevens came to appreciate during a New Zealand trip. There, pies are sold in bus stations and consumed en route.

That seems right for all the downtown workers limited to 30 or 60 minutes, he said. He envisions a 9-inch pastry folded in around fillings like rabbit stew, or a vegetarian option, ready to go at lunchtime. "Not just minced meat and cheese, more thoughtful fillings," he said.

Dinner, served 4:30 to 10 p.m., will include a more expanded menu of standards and weekly specials. Distinctive editions of fried chicken and steak, among other things.

Bar snacks will include throwbacks to old-school European flavors like limburger cheese sandwiches, liverwurst, pickled herring, as well as lighter offerings like salads and pickled vegetables.

There is a raw onion and limburger audience, Stevens said, "and I think they're underserved."

Ballyhoo owners plan restaurant in ex-Century Grill space

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