LEOMINSTER — Arising on a yr since their Lancaster Avenue restaurant was decimated by fireplace final summer season, Luccas American Kitchen house owners John and Jodi Davick are kicking off their 2022 meals truck season subsequent weekend and forging forward — in the future at a time.
“We nonetheless have the entire payments we had earlier than and paying for insurance coverage on the constructing and the insurance coverage on the meals truck,” Jodi Davick mentioned. “It’s been essential to maintain this portion of the enterprise going and having it thrive, particularly once we want it to thrive.”
The couple bought the 26-foot meals truck that’s outfitted it with a generator, fridge and freezer in 2019 with the “grand plan” to make use of it for company occasions, catering and bigger personal events that wouldn’t work within the restaurant.
“We by no means supposed on this being a meals truck,” Davick mentioned. “This was our cellular kitchen, and we have been hoping to do native occasions for our group If you end up in a brick and mortar constructing you don’t at all times get to be out locally. That’s the place you wish to be, with folks.”
And out locally they’ve been. Since launching it as a meals truck final summer season, paradoxically simply weeks earlier than the July 17 restaurant fireplace, they’ve been noticed at a plethora of occasions throughout the area included festivals at Sholan Farms and Wildwood Farm and have been booked for quite a few personal events. Their first meals truck reserving was the Leominster Excessive College senior barbecue in June final yr, “a giant social gathering for the seniors,” and the Leominster Excessive College Junior Promenade on Might 7 on the Leominster-Fitchburg Lodge of Elks is their first large occasion this season.
“When the pandemic hit it was nice, we have been doing occasions outdoors,” Davick mentioned. “We did nice final yr and our objective this yr is to be booked Friday by Monday, however we are going to take any personal occasion inside motive.”
This season’s meals truck schedule is filling up quick with commencement and different events and weddings, and folks can electronic mail LuccasAmericanKitchen@gmail.com to inquire about availability and pricing. They purposely put aside some dates for public occasions this season and will likely be at Sterling Avenue Brewery on Might 13, Devens Meals Truck & Craft Pageant on June 3, the Leominster Summer season Stroll and Hubbardston Honest, each on June 11, and different areas comparable to Nashoba Valley Vineyard.
“We have been missing on public occasions final yr,” Davick.
As well as, they plan to arrange the meals truck in downtown Leominster this summer season, hopefully on Mondays when loads of eating places are closed.
“We labored with Mayor Mazz, who’s going to permit us to do some pop ups behind his spot, Most important Avenue Reward & Cafe, seats and tables and that entire again space,” Davick mentioned of Mayor Dean Mazzarella providing up area. “He calls and checks on us and ask what he can do for us.”
Town supplied for them to make use of the kitchen at Emergency Administration as they should have a “industrial primarily based kitchen although we are able to do 99% of our stuff out of our truck.” She mentioned working with the brand new director, Arthur Elbthal, has been nice.
“He’s completely improbable to take care of,” Davick mentioned.
The ramifications from the fireplace haven’t affected simply the couple however their total workers, which incorporates their two grown youngsters.
“It wasn’t only a husband out of labor or a spouse out of labor, it’s a entire household,” Davick mentioned.
One of many silver linings that has come from their surprising break day from the restaurant is a rise in household time.
“Whereas there’s at all times that cloud over you, we now have been doing large household dinners as soon as a month and that has been thrilling,” she mentioned, including that these dinners weren’t doable when the restaurant was open due to their hectic schedule. “You might be within the enterprise since you like to entertain. This has helped us to really feel like we’re doing one thing we love, as a result of we miss it in that sick foodie manner. Give us these nights and people weekends.”
They’ve been capable of take household holidays and spend extra time at residence collectively and Davick mentioned yoga is her “new factor” — she and her daughter go to courses collectively on Thursdays at The Inferno Scorching Yoga & Pilates in Fitchburg.
In the case of Luccas American Kitchen rising from the ashes, the Davicks have been working tirelessly to give you a stable plan. They’ve been by the wringer attempting to get again on their ft following the three-alarm fireplace that began within the restaurant’s attic on a Saturday afternoon in the course of the dinner rush. Though the blaze was quicky extinguished by fireplace crews from Fitchburg and Leominster and happily everybody made it out safely, the construction is a complete loss. It just about seems like enterprise as common on the skin, however inside is one other story.
“When the architect sat down with us and requested if we’re we rebuilding the reply was no,” Davick mentioned. “We do should go floor up and whereas we’re tremendous mentioned about it, the takeaways are even larger. We may have a brand new constructing that’s ADA compliant and handicapped accessible. It turns into a extra inclusive restaurant.”
Though it’s been a tough tablet to swallow, she mentioned they’ve come to phrases with having to tear down the historic constructing that housed The Gondola Restaurant for many years earlier than they signed a lease in July 2017 and opened Luccas that November.
“The Gondola was round ceaselessly, all of us have nice tales,” Davick mentioned. “However once we took over, the constructing had restricted area and we needed to take care of what we had. The constructing was a phenomenal reward and we made it what it was, however I don’t suppose we will replicate what we had.”
She mentioned whereas arising with a plan for the brand new restaurant with their crew “we did hem and haw about what we would like Luccas to be, however we all know we are able to present the identical nice service, meals, and environment. We’re actually excited for what it’ll be, and it seems like there may be going to be room for out of doors eating. We’ll by no means construct what we had however we are going to construct one thing that’s nonetheless Luccas.”
As for the timeline when folks can anticipate to see Luccas American Kitchen opening its doorways once more, Davick mentioned at this level they “don’t have something concrete.” That they had a Board of Well being inspection and obtained the constructing plans earlier this week and authorised the plans Thursday morning, which included the place precisely the constructing will sit on the lot, sq. footage, and extra.
“We have been hoping to take a seat in entrance of the town in Might, however we needed to make modifications to the constructing that delayed us,” Davick mentioned. “We are able to sit in entrance of the town in June from what the architect and engineer inform us.”
She mentioned constructing supplies “are nonetheless so costly,” and that their architect advised them to order kitchen gear as quickly as doable because it might take as much as yr to be delivered. “Stuff continues to be actually delayed.”
The group has continued to rally round their household and their enterprise for the reason that fireplace and for that they’re grateful. She mentioned folks typically name and ship messages and examine in, asking when the restaurant will likely be up and working once more.
“At this level I don’t wish to set myself up for disappointment understanding all of the obstacles we now have gone by, all of the stuff that has held us up, one after one other,” Davick mentioned. “It took loads of time to recover from each one. Would it not be nice if we might break floor earlier than the primary snow falls? Completely. Nobody desires it greater than us.”