Monday, January 20, 2020

LUCK leaves a lasting legacy of local support

Last call at LUCK (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Six years after introducing its concept of a craft beer-inspired kitchen, LUCK at Trinity Groves held its final service last night in Dallas.

Founding partners Jeff Dietzman, Daniel Pittman and Ned Steel established LUCK (an acronym for Local Urban Craft Kitchen) in 2013, with a mission to provide the best in local food and local beer. And make no mistake, LUCK was a local leader, especially when it came to promoting the North Texas beer industry.

From the beginning, LUCK touted a tap wall of 40 beers, all sourced from a brewery within 75 miles of its location. But, the restaurant's commitment to supporting local brewers went far beyond just serving local beer to its customers. It was about bringing awareness to area breweries by way of unique and varied events, as well as the simple act of being present on a day-to-day basis throughout the local scene.

On the event side, LUCK's beer and food pairing flights may be what's remembered most. Donut pairings were the biggest deal, by far, followed by Girl Scout cookies - both of which have been the catalyst for copycat events ever since. However, let's not forget other items LUCK featured on its flight pairing menu: bacon, bierrocks, British pies, cake balls, cheesecakes, chocolates, cookies, cookie dough, cupcakes, empanadas, German food, Halloween candy, mini pies, sushi, tacos, tamales, tarts and tostadas.

Those flights, along with local pint nights and beer dinners increased awareness of active breweries, but it's also important to note how LUCK brought attention to breweries looking to open in the future. Tastings with breweries in development were a staple of events like LUCKtoberfest, LUCKapalooza and the restaurant's anniversary gatherings. In fact, over the course of LUCK's existence, roughly 80 new brewing operations debuted in Dallas-Fort Worth, and nearly 30% of those sampled beer at LUCK prior to opening.

Then, of course, there was the Craft Beer and Chili Challenge, an annual event bringing together the entire craft beer community to benefit North Texas Food Bank. At its peak, upwards of 40 local breweries competed in this fun and lively cook-off event that was a highlight of the late-winter calendar.

As for being present, LUCK extended its reach in a variety of ways. The restaurant was the official snack supplier of the Dallas Brew Bus, while also being a staging point for the 6-Pack Trail's Design District Bike Cruise & Craft Brewery Tour. Plus, you'd have been hard-pressed over the last six years to attend a local beer-centric festival, anniversary party or grand opening event and not see one or more of the founders in attendance.

Moreover, a couple of partners even went all out - literally - for charity, but let's not revisit the LUCK-related visuals arising from that whole North Texas Craft Beerds (and Bellies!) Calendar thing. Hey, at least it helped raise money for a good cause.

Indeed, the North Texas beer scene is better today because of LUCK, and the industry should thank its lucky stars the project came along when it did. Upon opening, there were less than 20 area breweries. Today, there are up around 80, and there's no denying LUCK had a hand in helping to spur that growth.

Now, though, it's on to the next venture. As previously reported, the company behind LUCK is collaborating with Cedar Creek Brewery of Seven Points on a new brewpub called Cedar Creek Brewhouse & Eatery at Mustang Station. So, let's look forward to that, and hope a little bit of LUCK makes its way to Farmers Branch.

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