Luke’s Kitchen and Bar (http://eatatlukes.com/) is in a beautiful, modern, comfortable location along 17-92 in Maitland, nestled between Winter Park and Casselberry, and easily accessible via I-4. The restaurant location has been a few other things over the years, including a Steak & Ale location for the longest time. However, Luke’s owner/operator Brandon McGlamery (who also runs the tony Luma and Prato on Park Avenue in nearby Winter Park) has the business skills and culinary talent to make Luke’s a success.
I recently visited Luke’s for the first time with some colleagues, just in time for happy hour. Fun was had by all, and I would definitely return. Dear readers, please keep in mind I did not order nor eat all of this food. This was everything that five people shared.
Fresh potato chips served with a high-class version of French onion dip (that might have had a bit of bleu cheese blended in). These were a crowd-pleaser. The chips were thin, light, and crispy; not greasy at all, and not too crunchy like kettle chips.
French fries with thyme, rosemary, and sea salt. I didn’t order these. They were perfectly okay, but I will always choose chips over fries.
A mid-Atlantic take on a chilled shrimp cocktail, with the shrimp seasoned with Old Bay:
This was my wee little fried oyster po’boy. It was on the happy hour menu for the shocking price of $4, so I figured “How could I go wrong?” Well, it was delicious, but it was the size of a slider. Maybe I should not have been surprised, but it was so tasty I wasn’t disappointed.
Following the trend of wee foods, Luke’s supposedly has amazing deviled eggs. I didn’t feel like a whole order of them, so I was overjoyed when our patient server said I could order just one, to try it. It was one of the better deviled eggs I’ve ever had, garnished with excellent crispy shallots and tasty shishito pepper jam that was the shi-shit.
Roasted eggplant dip (AKA babganoush), served with cucumber, mint, and multigrain toast. I don’t think I even tried this one, but my babaganoush-loving co-worker was really happy with it.
A very good and very thicc cheeseburger, from the happy hour menu. Served simply with lettuce, tomato, PICKLED onion (niiiice), and I think there were pickles on it too (which I’m getting better at eating and enjoying). It came out a perfect medium-rare, and was extremely juicy. I offered my friends a chance to try this one, but it ended up being all mine.
I ordered these for the group, because I am a class act: outstanding fluffy Parker House rolls, served with the most delicious caramelized honey butter (spread onto the wooden serving board in the background). You can never go wrong with Parker House-style yeast rolls.
And the coup de grace: mussels, which I ordered to share with everyone, but these were most decidedly NOT on the happy hour menu, so they cost around $20. They did, however, come garnished beautifully with tomato, fennel, purple basil, and grilled, oil-rubbed sourdough bread. They were great, but we all would have been fine without them.
So Luke’s is definitely a solid choice for happy hour, or lunch or dinner if you prefer. It could be a great destination if you’re planning to catch a movie afterwards in Winter Park or at the Enzian, our beloved art-house movie theater right near the restaurant in Maitland. Luke’s location is perfect if you’re considering a romantic after-dinner stroll around lovely Lake Lily, essentially across the street. Happy hour would be ideal for that, since the park stays open until sunset.
Luke’s has a large menu, attentive staff, and my colleagues who ordered cocktails seemed over-the-moon pleased with them. Chef McGlamery and his crew seem to be doing everything right. Whether you’re there to hang out with friends, celebrate with family, impress a hot date, or just decompress after a long work week, I think you will agree. I hate to be the guy that says this, but Luke’s, the Force will be with you… always.