Between the striking red-and-white paint job and matching rings of neon lighting, Lucky’s Drive-In looks every part the old-time roadside burger stand. So will the simple burger menu when the Tacoma burger restaurant opens Friday (May 1). Lucky’s is just off 136th Street South and Pacific Avenue South in Parkland.
Like Pick-Quick or Frisko Freeze, Lucky’s won’t offer indoor seating. Diners can park and order at a take-out window. Car culture is what co-owner Robert Stocker is after. He thinks the site will be perfect for car shows, which is fitting considering the property is owned by the LeMay family.
Said Stocker via email, “Harold LeMay had a race car called Lucky 13 and he ran Lucky's Towing, which still adorns the window with a sticker of Lucky's Towing. So there is definitely a love of cars and car culture in the backdrop. We wanted to honor Harold's legacy and so decided to keep the name Lucky's. We rent the property from his son Doug LeMay, who helped us immensely getting this business started. He stuck by us over a year while we went through the process of converting the building into a restaurant.” Architect Dan Kinkella, who also worked on downtown Tacoma’s Indochine, designed the building, said Stocker.
This is Stocker’s second restaurant. He also co-owns Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma’s Stadium neighborhood with business partner Steve Naccarato. For this project, Stocker is opening Lucky’s with business partner Mike Feagins.
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Parkland isn’t exactly the hot spot for restaurant openings, but Stocker said that was what attracted him to the spot, citing “38,000 cars a day and no competition in the immediate area.”
Expect a small menu with a specialty in “grandma” style burgers, seasoned flash-baked tots and classic shakes. He also will offer a hot dog. There also will be house-made beef chili for chili tots, a chili dog and burger. Here’s something locals will love. Stocker has added a Smitty burger to the menu. That’s a burger served on a hoagie bun that was popular at South Sound restaurants, going back more than 50 years ( read more here).
The secret sauce, Stocker said, is one detail that sets his old-fashioned burger apart. He described a smoky housemade sauce, tweaked by a friend and Tacoma chef Aaron Grissom, who formerly was chef of Dirty Oscar’s Annex, and also a contestant on the television show “Top Chef.” Stay tuned for more details on what Grissom has coming next in the South Sound.