7 DAY SPOTLIGHT: Lucky's Last Chance

Jul 23, 2014 0 comments
7 DAY SPOTLIGHT: Lucky's Last Chance

Blog article written by Manayunk Development Corporation Intern Madeline O'Donnell

Years ago, Chris Barnes fell in love with the space on Main Street he now calls his own. Naturally, he jumped when the opportunity to purchase it presented itself. Chris had a distinct vision of what he wanted his restaurant to be and has stayed true to that vision since day one.

Manayunk at the time was full of “Three-dollar Blue Moons and Katy Perry at every single bar,” says Chris. Many people had the impression that it was simply a town for college students.  “We wanted to try something a little bit different,” Chris said. Specializing in artistic burgers, craft beers and serious hot dogs, he predicted it would be a challenge to attract an audience for Lucky’s, but he was determined to prove that Manayunk had more to offer than what people assumed.

While getting the restaurant on its feet, Chris and his two partners, Mike Gartner and Sandra Barnes played around with the name “The Lucky Project.”  “We took every dollar we had to make this happen. So if it didn’t work out, it would have been our last chance,” Chris said.  

Chris soon found that his risk was well worth taking. With great determination and faith in their product, Chris and his team at Lucky’s created a market for themselves in about a year. Today, Lucky’s Last Chance continues to flourish and prosper as a beloved spot on Main Street. It is the ultimate stop for classic comfort food and great craft beer. When asked to describe the menu Chris responded, “Unapologetically gluttonous.”

As a self-proclaimed “hot dog nerd,” Chris loves everything off the hot dog menu. However, their best-seller is the Mak Attak, a cheeseburger topped with their secret Mak and Cheese recipe. Lucky’s became famous when it won the Philadelphia Burger Brawl in 2013 for the PB and Bacon Burger which is topped with creamy peanut butter, American cheese, bacon and a side of grape jelly. As far as drinks, Lucky’s specializes in craft beers, has a traditional yet current cocktail list and provides a small list of premium wines. Chris’s menu remains classic but is constantly enhanced with new twists and customer feedback.

“The customers sculpt the way we do things and which direction we are going in,” Chris says. He prides his restaurant on its diverse patrons and is eager to get feedback from them all. He also raves about his staff and takes their opinions in highest regards stating, “They are the single greatest reason for success.” Every beer and every new dish on the menu must be approved by both staff and customers. Never settling for anything less than perfect, Chris goes to great measures to create the best possible menu. “Our hot dog rolls took over 6 months because we weren’t happy with anything,” he described for us the grueling process of choosing the perfect roll. It is these nuances and impeccable attention to detail that make everything at Lucky’s undeniably mouth-watering.

When asked why he chose to have his business in Manayunk, Chris’s face lit up, “There are a million reasons. I love Manayunk” When he speaks of the community, his passion is apparent and it is easy to see why he stays so involved. He treasures the “collaborative opportunities” here in Manayunk. Neighboring business, Sweet Elizabeth’s, provides the bacon-painted biscuits for his Saturday and Sunday Brunch. He raves, “They are brushed with bacon fat before they go in and brushed again during the process. They have got be about 2000 calories but, my God, they are amazing.” The relationships between businesses are what make the town unique and charming. “I can walk into any store on the street and talk to an owner.”

“Do something you absolutely love and stick to it,” Chris advises anyone who wants to open a restaurant. This piece of advice has surely worked for him, and you will whole-heartily agree after just one visit to Lucky’s Last Chance!






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