The thing that makes a restaurant special is the passion of the people who own and run it. Take, for example, Lucky Chuck's in Eustis.
Chuck Laier is a man who knows his meat and his smoke and how the two combine to create a taste that transcends them both. Capitalizing on their knowledge of beef, pork and smoke as well as their obvious enjoyment of people, Chuck and his wife Diane bought a mobile barbecue smoker in 2003 and in a few years developed a thriving catering business and a reputation for quality cuisine and service.
Lucky Chuck's is located in the former Eustis Pool Hall building that was built on the main street in 1918. The historic building was restored in the 1970s by Connie Koch, a Eustis entrepreneur, and recently updated by the Laiers. Exposed brick walls, stamped tin ceilings, the original plank wood floor, 95-year-old barn siding, a hand carved wooden bar and handmade wooden booths are among the architectural features that infuse the atmosphere with western lore and hint at the stories that must have been told there over the last 90 years.
Lucky Chuck's is first and foremost a barbeque restaurant. In a tour of the establishment, it was obvious that Chuck Laier's particular pride and joy is his huge smoker out back, so the menu runs largely to barbeque and smoked meats including a smoked prime rib but also offers a complete selection of steaks and a tempting sandwich menu. There are brats and brisket, chicken and ribs, all served with a selection of barbeque sauces: sweet, spicy and hot. There was even wood-grilled shrimp and a garden burger for the vegetarians among us. On Sundays, Chuck fires up his pizza oven and offers pizzas that are gaining a reputation in the Eustis area.
Lucky Chuck's is a culinary experience and well worth the drive to Eustis!