(The following was submitted by Christina M. Dyer as part of the updayton Entrepreneurship Team)
Drew Trick had a vision: A comfortable place where people can enjoy a wide variety of draught beer and eat fresh food with their friends and family, as well as see couple-hundred model cars. On October 23, 2010, Trick made this dream a reality, purchasing what is now known as Lucky’s Taproom and Eatery, located in the Oregon Arts District.
When he walked in the building for the first time, Drew Trick knew he had to remodel a restaurant that had been established by many other owners before. Trick considered how he wanted people to describe his restaurant/bar. He did not want to have the typical loud bar filled with neon signs and cluttered space. It was not his intention to open a bar and grill or sports bar. He wanted to create a place for people to come casually and feel comfortable. Using his initial vision, he decided the floors, bar ceiling, display units, and draught systems had to be updated, or added, before completion.
While hunting for the name, Trick first started with “Lucky’s,” because it was his late father’s nickname. Trick then searched dictionaries and thesauruses looking for descriptive words that were generational in nature. Trick chose “taproom” because of the large supply of draught beers that would be rotating all year long. He chose “eatery” simply because people could come and enjoy a good meal.
If you have been in Lucky’s Eatery and Taproom since it has opened, you may have noticed shadow boxes filled with over 226 model cars above the bar and on the walls. These cars belonged to Trick’s father who was a proud collector of hundreds of model cars. Trick explained, whether you were a family friend or the mailman, his father would take you to see his collection. “We’d always talked about me putting up the car collection in a bar,” Trick explained. Since the passing of Trick’s father a short time ago, the cars have been loaned to his nieces and nephews, as well as his five siblings. Some of the tools Trick’s father made as toolmaker for GM are also displayed.
A large mirror with the Lucky’s emblem is behind the bar. In front of that mirror is a multi-beer tap system with plastic lines full of draught beer running through the ceiling. These beers continuously change on a regular basis. Because there is a wide variety of beer to choose from, servers give patrons books describing what’s on tap. “Since we have to learn the beers, we put something together for the customers to learn with us,” said Trick. The bartenders also offer patrons small samples of beers before ordering the whole pint. The array of beers also allows customers to select the beer batter for their chicken tenders.
The thoughtfulness Trick has demonstrated transcends to the menu. He wanted to provide quality food for patrons while allowing for short check times, offering people the opportunity to stop in on their lunch break and enjoy a made-to-order meal with enough time to get back to the office. Lucky’s doesn’t serve your typical bar food. The restaurant receives a shipment of food and produce almost every day in order to serve fresh food to customers. “Our freezer is smaller than the one you have at your house,” Trick explained.
In the small kitchen, Trick and his employees cut the chicken tenders, create the fish patties, and make the vegan (gluten-free) and soy patties.
Trick emphasized the vegan and vegetarian items on the menu. On a trip to Kauai with his sister, who is a vegetarian, Trick adopted a meat-free lifestyle. He wanted to incorporate this idea in his bar, understanding that many other people have adopted this lifestyle too. Trick has several options for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets. He has purchased separate grills for meat and vegetarian cooking, and has several vegan/vegetarian items that are rarely offered in other eating establishments. “You can sit next to someone eating a chili dog, and you can eat one too but its vegetarian. You should see the people’s faces that haven’t had a chili dog since they were a kid!” Trick explains.
Lucky’s Taproom and Eatery, located at 520 Fifth Street, is now open for business seven days a week, serving vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free meal options, along with options for meat eaters. It appeals to a crowd of all ages and demographics. It also offers a laid-back place for young adults to patronize on Friday and Saturday nights. Lucky’s Taproom and Eatery is not just a bar. It’s also not just a job for Trick; it’s where you can find him living out his vision.