The Short Course
To Avoid a Wait: Go at an off-peak time or call ahead.
Noise Level: Average.
Bathroom Amenities: Spacious, stylish and clean with a changing table in BOTH restrooms.
High Chairs: Yes.
Kids Menu: Yes!
Anything Healthy for Kids: Just standard American food with healthy sides available (plus a full menu offering many other options!).
Food Allergy Concerns: Speak with your server about specific allergy concerns. Several gluten-free options are listed, however they are not cooked separately from items containing wheat.
Sometimes it’s nice to head out of town to enjoy something different. One Thursday evening, we hopped in the car for a quick trip to Bluffton. We followed SR 103 to Main Street and quickly found ourselves unloading in front of Luke’s. As we walked in, Leland, our 9-year-old, remarked “Wow. This place smells good.” And it did.
A long bar stretched along one wall while the rest of the space opened up to tables and booths while additional seating was available in another room. Simple wood paneling lined the walls, festooned with holiday decorations. Large chalkboards announced daily specials and an impressive beer list. Luke’s looks like a classic small town bar and grill.
When we opened the menu, Scottish eggs, smoked turkey alfredo, and mahi-mahi were listed alongside fried gizzards, wings, burgers and pizza. A separate page listed the kids’ menu which included classics like mac-n-cheese, a 6” personal pizza and corn dogs, with a choice of sides. After quickly placing their orders, our girls, 7-year-old Josephine (Joey) and 5-year-old Mae, settled in to color their “Choose Happy” coloring page and Leland opened his latest book. The server checked back again with plates, silverware, and extra napkins (we didn’t even have to ask!!) but with so many options, I couldn’t make up my mind… The caprese salad? A portobello burger? Or maybe a Chicago-style personal pizza? I settled on a guacamole burger while my husband, Jeremy, chose the prime rib sandwich.
In moments, our appetizers appeared. The older kids eagerly grabbed a Scottish egg (a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and deep fried). Since I’m not keen on sausage, I fought the kids off the spinach artichoke dip and revelled in its smooth, creamy goodness. The generous serving demanded a second order of toasted ciabatta bread (you may also have tortilla chips or breadsticks with the dip), but it was totally worth it. Garlicky, beautifully green, and cheesy, the dip was delicious.
And then, per usual, one of the girls needed to use the restroom. Off we went to be surprised by the beautiful, stylish bathroom that was clean and spacious.
Back at the table, Joey (our resident builder) excitedly described the bathroom to the rest of the family as we waited a few more minutes for our food.
Soon, generous portions of fresh, steaming hot food arrived. Mae eagerly spooned applesauce while waiting for her mac-n-cheese to cool. Joey threw caution to the wind and gobbled her mac-n-cheese. Leland devoured his personal pizza (topped with prime rib!) in less time than it took for Mae to finish her applesauce. Though usually rather verbose, Leland described his pizza with an enthusiastic “Good!” Joey, however, wasn’t so sure about her mac-n-cheese (“too cheesy?!”) – but I’m calling her bluff since the bowl was empty in less than five minutes and she kept dipping her finger into the leftover cheese sauce! I snagged a few bites of Mae’s mac-n-cheese and found it delightfully mild, a buttery version of the classic dish.
Jeremy reported that the prime rib in his sandwich was tender, without any gristle, that’s all too common in such sandwiches. The au jus added a rich, savory flavor while the bread was soft and warm.
My enormous guacamole burger was perfectly grilled – fully cooked but still juicy with crispy bacon, guacamole, and red onions adding smoky, spicy and fresh flavors. Though messy, the mix of textures and tastes was incredibly satisfying. Like Joey, I chose fries as my side and enjoyed their delicate seasoning.
Make room for dessert
And then, despite the late hour and full tummies, we ordered a dessert pizza. Luke’s also offers an assortment of pies but, with three kiddos, a dessert pizza seemed the obvious choice. A simple disc of dough with crisp brown edges — No piles of sugar, no squiggles of icing as I had envisioned. Nonetheless, each thin breadstick-shaped piece dripped with sweet, buttery flavor and a touch of cinnamon. I particularly loved the extra crispy edges while the kids enjoyed, well, all of it. Between the five of us, we quickly ate all but three pieces.
As we sat enjoying our sugar rush, our server brought the check and explained that she’d taken a bit off our bill because the dessert pizza had taken too long to arrive. Wait, what? With all the kid chaos, we hadn’t noticed how long it had taken and certainly hadn’t been upset about it. Throughout our meal, our server checked back several times and quickly brought refills on drinks. She was friendly and knowledgeable. In my opinion, her service had been excellent. Yet she was giving us a discount?
I looked around the restaurant and noticed couples with babies. A group of young adults laughing. The bar was filled with people sipping beer and watching sports. There were a couple tables of retirees. And it occurred to me that it’s that kind of service combined with a diverse menu of excellent food that has kept Luke’s in business for over a decade, a place that people visit through all stages of life.
133 North Main St. | Bluffton
419-358-4486 | lukesinbluffton.com
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