25th Anniversary Short Story Contest:
Date Night Category
"Date Night" Winners | "Celebrations" Winners | "It's the Little Things that Count" Winners | Our 25th Anniversary
If walls could talk, the ones at Lucky’s would have some fantastic tales to tell. Since they can’t, we asked you to share what they might say about one of your experiences at Lucky’s. We're blown away (and humbled) by the amazing response from our friends and neighbors. We thank everyone for submitting their wonderful stories! Here are our winners in the Date Night category: First-Prize Winner: Dani and Dennis Mory Runners-up: Luci Milam, Barbara Morgan and Davis Thomas
Date Night Category: First-Prize Winner
Dani and Dennis Mory
We got lucky at Lucky 32
I met my husband, Dennis, at the bar in the Cary Lucky 32!
My future husband was sitting at the bar on a busy Friday night waiting out the State Fair traffic before heading to north Raleigh, where he lived. I was living in Apex at the time, and after a change in plans for the weekend, I decided I would treat myself to dinner at Lucky 32. There was one open seat at the bar and that’s where I headed. Dennis just happened to order the same beer I drank and, somehow, the bartender assumed we were a couple. We ended up sharing appetizers, life stories and discovered we had a lot more than food and beer in common! As it turned out, I got more than a great meal – I got a great guy!
We got married one year later after meeting at Lucky 32. October 15, 2014 will be the 10-year anniversary of when we met and our 9th wedding anniversary. Lucky 32, the O.Henry Hotel and Green Valley Grill are very special to us. We love the food, the friendliness of the staff and the philosophy.
Congratulations on your 25th!
Date Night Category: Runner-up
It was June 13th, 2005. Jason and I were celebrating our one-year dating anniversary. We were 19, completely in love and so ready to celebrate our milestone as a couple. It was a bittersweet night though. The next day, he would be leaving for Indiana for the first stage of his year-and-a-half deployment to Iraq. We were determined not to let that mar our last night together. To my extreme delight, we pulled up to Lucky 32 for dinner. My favorite place, he knew. On the way to our table the sweet hostess asked if we were celebrating anything special. We were probably overdressed and had huge smiles on our faces! I excitedly told her it was our first anniversary.
The hostess must have told our waitress because she came to our table and told us “Happy Anniversary!” We said “thank you” and proceeded to order. We held hands, laughed and talked throughout dinner and tried as hard as we could to stay in the moment. At the end of dinner, our waitress complimented our “sweet” demeanor with each other. Her compliment was accompanied with the best piece of chocolate cake I’ve ever had. We thought it was so sweet of her to notice. She asked us what the secret to our marriage was. It was then that I realized she thought we were there for our first wedding anniversary! I couldn’t bring myself to correct her because for a moment, it felt so beautiful to be permanently tied to this man I loved so much, especially in the midst of so much uncertainty and worry. Jason and I looked at each other and laughed. Jason squeezed my hand and told her “she’s already made this life worthwhile and I don’t forget it.” It was then that I knew, in the middle of Lucky 32’s dining room, that he wasn’t my husband yet, but he would be. After receipts were signed and to-go boxes were packed, he asked, “Ready to go Mrs. Milam?” I’d never heard a more perfect question!
We had a long road ahead and we took it. He came back 18 months later and all was right in our world. We were engaged in the fall of 2007. We married and spent our first married night at the terribly romantic O.Henry Hotel. Six years and two beautiful children later, we never doubt where we will eat for date night…Lucky 32 it is! While we’re there, we always reminisce about that night and how much would lie ahead of us. It could have easily been a night of tears and anxiety, but it became a night I’ll never forget. It was the first night I got to be my husband’s wife.
Date Night Category: Runner-up
Barbara Morgan and Davis Thomas
When a couple works, eats, and sleeps at the same place all day, every day, six to seven days a week, it can be quite a challenge to keep the romance alive. It’s amazing we wanted to spend any of our free time together at all. Such was our plight back in 2005, when we first moved to Winston-Salem to embark on a new career.
Fortunately for us, we were able to avoid the typical date night rut of always going to the same restaurant, or just staying home for movie and popcorn night (which might have been nice except that it defeated the plan to get away from work). Thanks to the many tips we received from locals we met around town, we spent our date nights exploring local culture and cuisine, which has become one of our favorite hobbies.
Some folks looked at us funny when they found out we are vegetarians. One elderly fellow quipped, “Who ever heard of a Southern vegetarian?” It didn’t help matters much for us when we continued to explain that we are not actually vegetarians; rather, we are “pescatarians,” which means we also eat seafood. “Well bless your hearts,” his wife smiled as she shook her head. Note: Even now as I type the word pescatarian, the spell-checker still refuses to believe it’s a real word.
Finally, someone told us about Lucky 32: a magical place where fish-eating vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike are welcome; where the service is friendly, the food is fresh and local, and date night feels special the way a date night should. Lucky 32 has provided us with a multitude of date night memories and inspirations. The excellent food, spirits, and ambience create a perfect setting for relaxed conversations and falling in love—with the food as well as with each other.
We have fallen in love with many of the chefs’ creations over the years. My personal favorites were the Fall Harvest Pumpkin Ravioli we had back in 2005, when there was still a Lucky 32 in Winston-Salem; and a little more recently, the Voodoo Shrimp Cakes at the Greensboro location. I once proclaimed that you could put Voodoo Sauce on anything and make it taste amazing. My sweetie-pie suggested we should buy a jar and test my theory on the food I serve at home. Upon realizing his remark might be taken as a slight against my cooking ability, he saved himself by adding that it would “spice things up” at the dinner table. We’re talking about Voodoo Sauce, so who am I to argue?
Sometimes, instead of date night, we have date brunch on the veranda at Lucky's in Greensboro. The cornbread motivated me to be more creative in my own kitchen. Eating became a whole new experience as I took time to savor the flavors while attempting to identify the ingredients, giving birth to my favorite game of, “I think I can make this at home.” I admit, I cheated on the cornbread since Lucky 32 shares the ingredients on their website. Over the years, I’ve added a few ingredients of my own. It’s on the frequent request list at home, and it always makes me smile when I hear compliments such as, “Mmm-mmm…that’s good eatin’.”
Seasons come and go, and we always look forward to the seasonal changes on Lucky’s menu. We appreciate the farm-to-fork concept, and the chefs' efforts to showcase local food in their dishes. It’s more than a locavore trend, as it preserves a way of life for many of us who grew up in the rural south. The veggie cart is a great way to connect us to our local farms and food makers, inspiring us to take date night to the farms and farmers markets. Our favorite farm tour “date” was at Homeland Creamery, where we went on a hayride along the cow pastures and learned about sustainable farming. The best part of the tour was when they treated us to a delicious bowl of their homemade ice cream. I firmly believe all dates should end with dessert!
We are pleased to help celebrate 25 years with Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen. As a couple, we have been together only 11 of those years, but we cherish the role Lucky 32 has played in our relationship, in our passion for food, and for inspiring many wonderful adventures in culinary tourism. Everyone knows that food and passion are intertwined, and that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It seems reasonable to believe that Lucky 32’s success may be attributed to the way they’ve won the hearts of diners over and over again, one delicious bite after another. Because when you fall in love with the food, something magical happens.