For more than 20 years, Lucky’s Steakhouse has provided a luxurious dining experience to the people of Montecito.
Later this month, the classic American steakhouse will be opening its second location and delivering the same experience, this time in Malibu at the Malibu Country Mart.
“This is very exciting to us,” Gene Montesano, co-founder of Lucky’s Steakhouse, told the News-Press.
“Especially to be doing it in Malibu. It’s like Montecito, so we expect to do well and be a good dining room (for the) locals like we are here, so this is very exciting.”
Like Montecito, Malibu is nestled in the heart of Los Angeles County in between both beautiful mountain terrain and the ocean.
The Malibu Country Mart is also praised for being California’s premier location for shopping, dining, and relaxing. Lucky’s is hoping to fit right in.
“It’s very similar and very laid back like Montecito and that is the type of steakhouse we are and it keeps with what we think of the brand,” Mr. Montesano said when asked why he wanted to expand to a new location.
Lucky’s second location will open in the next few weeks. The exact date is not set in stone because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Montesano said they still aren’t sure if they will even be able to operate indoors at a limited capacity.
“It really will be more of a soft opening,” Mr. Montesano said, adding that they likely have a few small dinners before then to make sure everything runs smoothly.
The plans to unveil the new location were put in place before the novel coronavirus led to widespread closures. Mr. Montesano remains confident the Malibu location can still deliver a great experience, even in these tough times.
“It’s got a nice outside patio, so we should still be able to create a nice area there. I think it’s going to work out great,” Mr. Montesano said.
He added that there’s already whispers about Malibu residents being excited about the new spot.
“I think there’s a really nice buzz about it in Malibu. Every time I go down there, all of the surrounding neighbors and other retailers around, they’re excited about us coming and have even offered us to put tables out in front of their stores saying it’s their pleasure. Everybody’s been very, very cool and very receptive and we’re excited about starting out with that kind of vibe from the neighbors,” Mr. Montesano said.
The new spot will be helmed by Executive Chef Michael Rosen and will feature a classic steakhouse menu.
The space was designed by The Warner Group Architects’ Architecture and Interiors team to create both a comfortable and glamorous location perfect for a casual lunch, brunch or special-occasion dinner.
“I think everyone, including the staff, is pretty excited to start,” Mr. Montesano said.
“Especially now with so many restaurants closing. We really took our time, this is 20 years (in the making). We haven’t really been out actively looking for a location, but this sort of popped up.
“It’s perfect for the brand, and everybody that we have hired is excited to be a part of the project.”
Mr. Montesano said that while Lucky’s Steakhouse has no plans of becoming a chain restaurant, he would be interested in opening up a couple more locations if the fit is right.
“We would want to be more of a bracelet and just find some right spots that enhance what we are doing. We are not just looking to get big, we just want to do it right and keep the concept and put it in places that will support us,” he said.
Mr. Montesano helped found Lucky’s brand in 1990. First serving as a clothing store providing high-quality jeans, he said it was an exciting time, but says this is “different.”
“This is really cool. When you’re doing a clothing store there’s a lot of locations that can support that but there weren’t a lot of locations that can support fine dining,” Mr. Montesano said.
“And, when I did that I had a big company behind me, so it was pretty easy. This, we’re just doing us so it’s close to the vest and it’s just a lot different when it’s not corporate. I mean, this is not corporate at all.”
Asked what it means to own Lucky’s Steakhouse, Mr. Montesano said he takes joy in receiving compliments about his establishment.
“When I go places and when people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I love your restaurant and I love what you do,’ I mean, it’s so nice to hear nice things about the things that you do. The money is one thing, but life’s not just about money. It’s about making people happy and taking care of people, treating your guests right and coming back. “it’s nice to hear good things about the things that you do,” Mr. Montesano said.
“I’ve just been very lucky.”