OWNERS: Sara Scheidler and Greg Zanitsch are partners along with Greg's parents. Zanitsch, also the Executive Chef, attended the University of Cincinnati and the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. This is their first ownership; the two have been residents of Charlotte since July of 2004.
AMBIENCE: The Lucas House sets the mood before the guest even walks into the restaurant. In the newly renovated house, the 3288 sq. ft. space offers a warm, inviting experience. Warm chocolate brown, olive and gray colors accentuate the period in which the house was built. "We wanted to use historic colors and chose colors that would have been found in the house when it was originally decorated," said Scheidler. Combining contemporary with the arts and crafts era, many local artists have contributed to the décor. Original light fixtures, woodwork and wood floors coupled with stained glass by local artist Pan Conway and fig tree paintings by Jim Chapman help define the authenticity of the space. Notably, the lounge and bar area, accented by a sprawling fireplace, are the centerpiece of the restaurant. "We want our guests to feel comfortable and this area is an excellent place to meet friends for a glass of wine and an appetizer. It's upscale but not snooty," said Scheidler.
SEATING: The downstairs allows up to 13 people in the lounge area and seven around the bar, not including one high top that seats four. Four main dining areas include one downstairs and three upstairs; each dining area can seat up to twelve people. Dining areas upstairs offer a more private setting with doors that can close the room off. Weather permitting, the patio can seat up to 20. Smoking allowed only in the patio area.
WINE LIST: Wine features change week to week — 18 offered by the glass and 120 to 150 by the bottle. Scheidler and Zanitsch view their "wine philosophy" as one of the most important aspects of the restaurant, which notes that "wine is not only for special occasions, but also an integral part of the meal...we have selected each wine with a variety of palates and budgets in mind... we strive to make each meal memorable."
TYPE OF CUISINE: With food that is considered "new American Cuisine," Chef Zanitsch makes everything in-house, including picking his own herbs from the herb garden growing on the balcony of the house. The menu varies week to week depending on available seasonal items. Chef specialties include the Escargots ($9), Halibut and Lobster ($23) and the Osso Buco ($29)
PRICE LIST: Appetizers range from Carpaccio ($8) to the Lobster and Scallop Sausage ($11). Main courses range from Risotto ($19) to Filet Mignon ($31). Other offerings include Rabbit ($26) and Duck ($27). Desserts are in about the $6 to $7 range including Warm Bread Pudding and a Chocolate Truffle Torte.
BONUS: Each entrée comes with the choice of soup or salad, a feature not typical in an upscale restaurant where meals are more often offered a la carte. The restaurant also offers all French-press coffee.
HOURS: Open only for dinner. Tuesday through Thursday 5:30pm until 10pm, Fridays 5:30pm until 11pm, Saturday 5pm until 11pm and Sunday 5pm until 9pm. Closed on Monday.
RESERVATIONS: Reservations recommended.
RECOMMMENDED PARKING: Parking in lot and on side streets, easily accessible from 7th Street.
CREDIT CARDS: All major credit cards accepted.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: When Scheidler and Zanitsch renovated the house, the 600 sq. ft. addition included a handicap ramp leading into the restaurant and a unisex handicap restroom downstairs. Therefore, the restaurant is completely and conveniently accessible.