Tim and Morgan Stevens are now letting more details out of the bag concerning their next establishment venture, Lucky Day. Back in March we learned that the couple (who are also the operators of Ballyhoo) had signed onto the former Century Grill location. Before that the building was home to The Macaroni Company. At the time of the article, Tim and Morgan did not disclose much about the bar and the restaurant offerings. Over the weekend, I got a chance to catch up with the two, who were ready to discuss the game plan.
Aside from featuring a full menu, Lucky Day will focus on hand pies, much the same way Ballyhoo focuses on sausage creations. The couple explained that the half moon hand pies would be the signature menu item of the bar and restaurant, and would help to draw customers in due to the originality of the staple menu item. Similar to the local pierogi craze, the hand pies will be filled with a wide assortment of ingredients, such as rabbit stew or veggies. By the time the doors open, there will be five signature 9″ hand pies on the menu, including a chef special. The hand pies would be able to be heated up quickly and served to business customers on the fly. For others who have some time to sit for while, chat and eat, Lucky Day will be one of the most inviting establishments in all of Buffalo. Between the balcony seating overlooking the bar, first floor booths that will have old world tapestry draw curtains that can be pulled for privacy, and the voluminous back bar that will accommodate 600 different whiskey varieties, there’s a lot to take in and appreciate.
I asked Tim and Morgan if their legendary silky smooth mac & cheese from Ballyhoo would be available, and they said that due to popular demand, it would be included on the menu. Tim was also excited about the select steak cuts that would change up frequently. The steaks will be served with proprietary sauces. Lucky Day will also have a paired-down late night menu that will feature old world style bar food, such as liverwurst on toast, Limburger sandwiches, and pickled deviled eggs. Oh, and hand pies of course. Serving times will be lunch, dinner and late night.
All of this food is being deigned around a couple of themes. First, Tim describes Lucky Day as sort of an old pole barn type of feel – something that is rustic, comfortable and spacious. Morgan added that there will be plenty of Victorian-era charm, but not overly charming… like a covered wagon Victorian perhaps? All of this – the menu and the rustic feel – aims to complement the direction of the bar’s focal drink of choice – whiskey. Upon opening, Lucky Day will feature 400 different types of whiskeys. By fall, that number will climb to 600. According to Tim, every great city has a “whiskey library”, and it’s time that Buffalo gets in on the action. Remember, the whiskey family encompasses bourbon, rye, scotch, etc. There are old world whiskeys and modern whiskeys. Lucky Day will concentrate on old world whiskeys – the bar program will consist of six classic whiskey cocktails at any given time, and ten house cocktails (using non-whisky spirits). There will not be a focus on the craft cocktail movement that we are seeing elsewhere around the city. It’s interesting to note that this bar already has an old saloon appearance – one that would serve up whiskeys as the drink of choice. The only thing missing is the swinging saloon doors.
Much of what Tim and Morgan are drawing their inspiration from are a few of the places where they worked when they lived out west (such as the Seven Grand Whiskey Bar in San Diego). Tim mentioned that he felt that Lucky Day would be the ideal setting for a couple of people to come in and order a large format Belgian bottle of beer to share, while munching on a liverwurst sandwich. Or someone might want to try the bar’s custom brew that it is in the works with Community Beer Works. Tim describes the custom beer as Palate Cleanser – to be ordered in-between whiskey drinks. Morgan noted that they will have a 20-bottle wine list (each served by glass or bottle), as well as 20 tap handles. She also mentioned that the original coolers behind the bar have been fully restored, which in of itself is atmospherically appropriate.
More than anything else, Tim and Morgan want to make Lucky Day accessible. They have taken the bones of the former Century Grill space and updated the look and appeal, while paying respects to the space. They have added some awesome design elements (photos coming soon), which include splashes of handsome wallpaper, custom artwork by AJ Fries, a sliding ladder behind the bar, copper plating patches on the rustic floor, and a small pulpit stage where, on occasion, jazz performers will play throughout the dinner hour, before switching over to blues acts later in the evening.
Lucky Day will open sometime around early June. In the meantime, Tim and Morgan will continue to fine tune space. Tim says that they will be flying in ambassadors (distillers and trainers) from all over the country to prepare the staff for opening day. I’m sure that by that time, Buffalo will be just as prepared as they are.
Lucky Day Whiskey Bar | 320 Pearl Street | Buffalo, New York, NY 14202 | (716) 240-9901 | Facebook