Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Restaurant

 

   

25th Anniversary Short Story Contest:
It's the Little Things that Count
"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 our guests to share what they might say about one of their 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 It's the Little Things that Count category: First-Prize Winner: Dawn Earwood Runners-up: Nanette George, Robert C. Siller, Dani Luft, Kay Mersereau, Susan Smoot, and Betsy Blake


It's the Little Things that Count Category: First-Prize Winner
Dawn Earwood

The Bunny Guy

Lucky 32 in Cary is a staple of ours. My husband, 8-year-old daughter and I, love to dine outside in the warmer months, and enjoy the cozy indoor atmosphere in the winter. On one of our many trips to Lucky 32, my daughter brought her purse shaped like a bunny. As you might guess, bunny was left behind, and we didn't know it until we were already gone from the restaurant.  We took a trip back through the parking lot....no bunny.  We called to check....no bunny.

Next time we went in to the restaurant, we checked one last time to see if someone had returned the bunny......it would seem bunny was gone forever. That wasn't going to stop us from enjoying our Lucky 32 meal, however! As we dined on all the yummy-ness, one of the managers (I wish I remembered his name, but I don't) came over to our table.....and guess who he had located??  Yep, Bunny Purse!!!!  He went above and beyond (I'm sure as well as some of the staff)....there was hunting and under-booth crawling.....until bunny was located safe and sound!  We were all thrilled.....my husband and I at the awesome service, and my daughter that someone had found bunny and magically appeared with it during our meal!

To this day when we go into Lucky 32 and see that same manager, we recognize him as the "bunny guy." He was so friendly and sweet about the whole thing and he really didn't need to go to extra lengths to find a child's purse....but he did, and we are so grateful!


It's the Little Things that Count Category: Runner-up
Nanette George

Best birthday ever: How my Brother and Lucky 32 Made my Night

"Which one should I choose?" I texted my brother a photo of the wine list as I sat with my husband on the patio at Lucky 32 in Cary. It was my birthday. We'd just returned from a visit with him and his family in Oxford, Miss., and he shared a few of his favorite bottles with us. He'd know just what to order. A few minutes later, I got his reply, "You can't go wrong with any of those choices. Great selection! Where are you?" I wrote back, "My favorite restaurant: Lucky 32 in Cary. Let's plan to eat here next time you visit." He replied: "Sounds great. Have a fun night!"

I told our server what my brother had said, and she suggested I get a flight of wine. Perfect choice to go with the ribeye and fried grit cake I ordered. The meal was delicious, as always. And of course, we ordered the chocolate peanut butter cream pie for dessert. It was such a treat; our two toddlers were home safe with the babysitter, and we rarely have nights to ourselves.

When it was time for the server to hand us the check, she smiled wide. "I have a surprise for you," she said. Your brother called us from Mississippi and said he'd be picking up the check tonight. So you're all set." I was so touched, I started to cry. I called my brother and thanked him. As we walked back into the restaurant and toward the front door, several Lucky 32 employees greeted me to wish me a happy birthday. I asked if they knew about what my brother had done, and they all smiled. One had taken his call, another had routed his message, and the whole team was inspired by his spontaneous kindness.

Heartfelt thanks to my brother and to the thoughtful team at Lucky 32 for creating a birthday memory that will last a lifetime! 

It's the Little Things that Count Category: Runner-up
Robert C. Siller

When Mr. Lucky Met Lucky 32

Throughout my long life (88 years and counting), my happy marriage (63 years and counting), and my career as a news writer and editor for some 45 years in network radio and television in New York City, I’ve almost always thought of myself as “Mr. Lucky.” Indeed, a decade or so ago I wrote a memoir that I entitled “Mr. Lucky: A Charmed Life In The Media And Outside.” There, for one instance, my luck ran out. The book was almost published but, alas, fell through in the end, becoming just a memory! Earlier on, one night in September of 1990, Mr. Lucky and his wife met Lucky 32. It was when we moved from New York to Greensboro.

The moving van carrying our possessions was due at ouir new home about 10 A.M. It actually reached us about 6 P.M., even as we had just about given up on it for that night. It took until after 9 P.M. for the unloading. By that time, we were exhausted, thirsty and famished.

We were staying that night in what was then the old Comfort Inn on Westover Terrace. We made our way back to the hotel. A kindly desk clerk suggested that just about the only place to get a meal in Greensboro at that time was around the corner, an eatery known as Lucky 32. It was a lucky suggestion for us. We sort of flopped into the almost empty restaurant to be greeted by a friendly staff providing needed liquid refreshment and a fine, late dinner.

That introduction to the locale we’d chosen for our retirement was a harbinger of our new life.

We are reminded of that fortuitous event every time we dine at Lucky 32, which is quite often!


It's the Little Things that Count Category: Runner-up
Dani Luft

In February of 2008, I was nine months’ pregnant and ready to welcome our first child.  During a weekly checkup with my doctor, I was told that the baby was going to be big, and that the next day I should be induced or have a C-section.  (Eek!)  After weighing our options, we decided on a C-section at 7am the next day.  After crying tears of happiness and nervousness, we called our families to let them know, packed our bags and decided we needed a nice last dinner before our lives were changed forever.  No strange cravings here – I knew what I wanted: Lucky 32’s black bean cakes. 

We sat at the first section where you first walk in, the second or third table from the door.  I didn’t even need to look at a menu.  I remember looking at the food, closing my eyes for a minute and thinking to myself, “my life is about to change forever.”  My husband and I, for the millionth time, talked about what she would look like and how we were going to announce to our friends and family her name and stats.  We slowly ate our meal, relishing every bite, and headed home.

She is now a healthy, happy, and amazing 6-year-old with two younger siblings (ages 4 and 1).  Lucky 32 will always be our special place where we remember our last calm, relaxing meal!  Whenever I go back and eat at Lucky 32, I always take a moment to remember that night and the emotions that I was feeling at the time. 


It's the Little Things that Count Category: Runner-up
Kay Mersereau

I'm writing to you from Southern California, from a house by the beautiful blue Pacific. We've been here for a month and it is really gorgeous. (We hope to be back home in Greensboro by the middle of August.)

I thought you might remember this story from a few months ago when my husband, Robert E. Mersereau, supposedly made a reservation for 17 people at your lovely Lucky 32 restaurant.  You confirmed this reservation by calling and leaving a message on our answering machine to this effect.  And oh dear, my husband, Robert E. Mersereau, had not in fact made such a reservation!  AND besides this, the very next day another message was left on our answering machine that another dinner reservation had been made by a Robert E. Mersereau for 17 people at the O.Henry Hotel!

Now my husband was worried.  This meant that 34 people were about to have appetizers followed perhaps by main courses of filet mignons with the appropriate imported wines, followed by lavish desserts, followed by coffee and aperitifs and maybe a few finishing delicacies like handmade and hand-decorated chocolates. My husband said we might have to float a loan to cover these enormous banquets.  I suggested we find out what was going on.  Who was actually making all of these reservations for 17 people here and there?  Who was challenging the limits of our budget and hospitality?   So we decided to check out the party in our name at Lucky 32 and crash in to see who this reservation-making "Robert E. Mersereau" happened to be!  Thereupon we did crash and we did see this person calling himself "Robert E. Mersereau."  He was about to sit down with his 16 guests when we approached.  My husband introduced himself as who he is: Robert E. Mersereau and the reservation-maker who was also named Robert E. Mersereau introduced himself.  And I said to him, "Please tell me that your middle name isn't Edward" and immediately he replied "Yes, I'm afraid it IS!"  And of course my husband is Robert Edward as well.  Absolutely identical names all the way...  So there who have it. 

The reservation-making Robert E. Mersereau was visiting from Texas with his fellow business men.  He had made the reservations legitimately and all was well.  In fact all was so well that the Texas R. E. Mersereau invited the Greensboro R. E. Mersereau and his family to dinner the next night at the O. Henry Hotel.  And at that dinner we all became friends and we shall always remain friends.  So, thank you Lucky 32 for bringing us together.  We have lots in common, even more than an identical names and we feel very fortunate to have had this odd but wonderful experience.  Blessings on you!


It's the Little Things that Count Category: Runner-up
Susan Smoot

“Wow, they sure do talk about horses a lot!”
“They keep saying how few hours seem to be in a day.”
“It sure seems difficult for them to decide what to order.”

Just a few statements from the walls at Lucky 32 when I was first introduced to the “new” restaurant in town. As a first time mom longing for “grown-up“ company I was very excited to try the newest place the “horsey lunch bunch,” as we called ourselves, decided to dine. As a connoisseur of the fast food circuit, Lucky 32 was the most elegant place I had eaten lunch in many years. I can still remember thinking how wonderful the décor was, how pleasant and prompt the staff was, but most of all, how delicious the food was- I didn’t know grits could taste so good! Lucky 32 became a regular lunch spot. It amazes me I can so vividly recall those occasions, but yet I can’t remember why I recently went into my kitchen!

Well, my experience with the lunch bunch was so wonderful, Lucky 32 was the first place I thought of to hold my parents 50th wedding anniversary in 1991. Once again the staff excelled at accommodating everyone. They let us bring our own cake, which they sliced and served, and centerpieces for the table. My daughter was only three months old at the time and a spot was made on the table so she could see the activity.  I am not too sure many places would clear a spot on their tables for an infant seat!

Fast forward many years. My son wanted to take his prom date to a special place to eat dinner. Guess where he picked? Lucky 32 of course! He and his date had a wonderful time.

Our family photo album contains several pictures of Lucky 32. It will always hold a special place in my heart for the family milestones celebrated among its walls. My son goes off to college soon and my mother passed away in 2013 after 71 years of marriage.

Yes, if those walls could talk…


It's the Little Things that Count Category: Runner-Up
Betsy Blake

I ran a cut throat campaign in high school to win student council elections, and figured college would be just as competitive.  So when I ran for dorm president my first year, I covered the hallways with fliers and stumped for all the great things I hoped we would achieve.  My "opponent," a laid back stoner guy with dyed red hair and bright green contact lenses confronted me one day in the hallway, "It's not a big deal, you can just have it."

Turns out, the only--only--real task of our dorm council was to organize a spring dance called "the inford formal."
It wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  But I decided, along with my council members, volunteers (and others who happened to get stuck in the main lounge with a bag of microwave popcorn on our meeting nights) this would be the event of the year.

The formal would happen off-campus--a big deal--and a large group of us decided to have a fancy meal out beforehand, at Lucky 32.  (It was a place a roommate had suggested, and I prepared myself for it being hit-or-miss.)
Alas, the ambience was nice.  The low lighting set the mood for a special night.  Rich red tones made the room feel warm and exciting.  Okay, I was open.

There were a lot of us.  The table was thoughtfully prepared for us per our reservation.  We filled in, smoothing the suits, ties, and shiny dresses we never knew one another owned.  We made our orders with the courteous staff and waited; talking and joking while our late teen hunger increased with the delicious aromas rising out of the kitchen.  

Now, whenever you go out with a large group of people, you expect it to take a long time for the food to arrive.  This was not an exception, but it wasn't outrageous.  I did glance at the time and knew the dance would be starting soon, and I had responsibilities--serious ones that involved light-up dance floors, streamers, flowers and live goldfish.  I felt my heart rate quicken a bit.  Just as I leaned over to say something to a friend, our server came over and said, "We would like to apologize for the delay in getting your food out this evening.  Everything is on the house."  Everything?  Everything!  As she shared the message around the table, a host of servers swooped around us, presenting us with beautiful plates of fragrant, hot food.  I was shocked.

My stress evaporated and I even contemplated staying for dessert.

While details of the dance are fuzzy, I have never forgotten this experience with Lucky 32.  I remember it because it was the first time I was out and treated like an adult.  It also communicated that I could trust this place with quality food and service, period.  (And likely, their standards were higher than mine, which is always nice in a dining establishment.)

Greensboro has been my hub for 19 years now and I have entrusted Lucky 32 and the other Quaintance-Weaver restaurants with nearly every special event, from birthdays to dates and a graduation celebration.  The food has always been flavorful and the service has been the best in the city (and beyond) by far.  I have always felt as if I am treated with dignity and respect no matter who I am with or what I am wearing.

Note:  I tested this a few times, coming in on really bad days, and by myself, and days I just looked rough and really wanted a comforting, nourishing meal.  Same thing--absolute kindness (but not smothering attention), spot-on intuition from the staff, and of course the food--the food!

From creative and ethically-sourced menus to thoughtful presentation, I know I will always be in for a tastefully nourishing meal.

The restaurant took a risk years ago, gifting a bunch of college students with a free meal on a special night out.  But it's kept me going back for almost two decades.  I know I can trust these guys with nearly any meaningful or casual occasion. Thank you for contributing to making my heart and belly full all these years, as well as contributing to the quality of the community around here.  I am grateful.

     

 

   
 

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen
Greensboro, NC Restaurant

1421 Westover Terrace
Just off Wendover Ave.
Near UNCG, Green Valley Office Park, Women's Hospital, Greensboro Country Club and Friendly Center
336-370-0707

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen
Cary, NC Restaurant
7307 Tryon Road
Between US 1/64 and Kildaire Farm
Near Raleigh, Holly Springs, Apex
and Research Triangle Park
919-233-1632

American Cuisine | Southern | Farm to Fork | Local Foods