Week No. 20 Lucky's Roundup Bar
The great thing about this series is that over the past five months or so, I've been to places I've never been before.
I've tried new restaurants, dared to eat massive burgers and have become much more familiar with local restaurants.
So, when we left the Star Gazette offices Thursday and headed to Hampton, I didn't know what to expect. I had never eaten at Lucky's Roundup Bar.
It was supposed to be an adventure.
Little did I know how true that statement was.
Lucky's is part bar, part meat market, part convenience store, part liquor store and part pool hall. If you're looking for a burger, well, they have one of those, too.
Just don't go looking for a menu. There isn't one. After getting the evil eye for ordering water, I asked our waitress if they had a menu.
"It's on the wall," she told me.
I'm guessing most people who go to Lucky's know that. This being my first time, I didn't. Don't make the same mistake if you go.
The menu reads like this:
Grilled cheese 1.50
Corn dog 1
So I opted for the burger as did one other staff member. A third got the rib sandwich and the fourth ordered pretzels. Big mistake on the pretzels!
"You go get those yourself," the waitress told our co-worker, Nate Voss. So there Nate went, climbing up on the bar to snag his bag of pretzels.
The burgers were pulled from the refrigerator, popped in the microwave and served up piping hot.
The cheeseburger was just that. A bun. A piece of cheese. A patty.
The best part was the bill. For the two cheeseburgers, the rib sandwich, a bag of chips, the pretzels and two Cokes, the tab came to $12.
It seemed like everyone in the bar knew everyone else. The place was full of regulars. We were definitely the outsiders.
One man seated at the corner of the bar held up his empty beer glass. A bartender cracked open a can of Michelob Golden Light and gave it to the man.
"That's not what I'm drinking," the man told the bartender.
"Drink it anyway," the bartender said with a laugh.
And the man drank the beer.
Look: it was a fun trip. Lucky's is, no doubt, a watering hole. If you get the munchies, they'll take care of you. But don't travel out of your way for a burger.
Instead, you can travel out of your way for a cheap drink, a good price on 15 pounds of bacon or a good deal on sirloin steaks.
Lucky's got its name from its former owner, Lucky Woldengen.
Lucky passed away July 4, and the establishment is still operated by family.
What Christina says
Regina Medical Center dietician Christina Gapp looked over Lucky's menu and had this to say about healthful options there:
"Lucky's is the lucky one this week. When speaking with the owner, I found out why he even serves food. Hampton may be small, but people do come for food and time to get together, which is sometimes a lost pasttime considering our busy schedules.
One thing we don't want to worry about when we eat out is food safety.
At Lucky's Roundup Bar, food is pre-packaged. All foods, primarily sandwiches, are labeled and dated. Nutrition facts are at your fingertips. Food is kept in controlled refrigeration, heated in the microwave or in a pizza oven, and served with packaged chips or pop.
If calories are your concern, choose water or diet pop. Omit the chips.
You are probably wondering why this sounds appealing at all, but if you have allergies, you can see the label and read ingredient lists. If you are wondering about freshness, food safety regulations are Lucky's friend.
Food manufacturers and retailers typically use three types of dates:"Sell by" or pull date: The last day a food should be sold to remain fresh for home storage. Pack date: When the food was manufactured, processed or packaged. "Best if used by" date: For best quality, use food by this date. For example, the label may say, "Best if used by 12-10-08." Depending on the food and if it has been stored properly, it will likely be safe beyond this date.
As always, if you have ideas, comments or suggestions about this piece, please let me know. My phone number is 651-437-6153 and my e-mail address is crichardson@ hastingsstargazette.com.