Diner features fresh Vietnamese cuisine
Tucked among established neighborhoods in the Village of Panther Creek in a small, older strip of shops, Lucky Cafe has been serving healthy, affordable Vietnamese cuisine to regulars for seven years.
"The food is very healthy and fresh," said Sergio Martinez, who bought Lucky Cafe two and a half years ago. "That's why people like it. We get a lot of regulars."
The restaurant's menu is filled with nutritious options, such as Pho, a rice noodle soup with beef or chicken broth and a choice of meat. The soup is served with a plate of bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, jalapeno and limes that can be added for extra flavor. Pho is one of the most popular menu items.
The restaurant's spring rolls are another favorite among customers, filled with pork, shrimp and fresh vegetables and served with peanut sauce. Another menu item favorite is the Tom Luc lac, stir-fried shrimp with bell peppers, garlic and onions and served with fried rice.
Lucky Cafe, located next to Glen Loch Elementary and down the street from McCullough Junior High School, offers neighbors a restaurant that is quiet, clean and low-key.
Martinez' brother, Jorge Martinez, helps him run the small restaurant by working as a server and cashier.
"We get a lot of runners and the lunch crowd from offices," said Jorge Martinez. "Most of our customers are regulars. We try to memorize their orders."
Lucky Cafe serves large portions, often loaded with vegetables. The restaurant features an extensive list of vegetarian menu items, including garlic tofu, vegetarian fried rice and vegetarian noodle soup.
"This is a really good option for vegetarian people," Jorge Martinez said.
Sergio Martinez bought the restaurant from Maih Danh, who has worked as the cook at Lucky Cafe since the restaurant opened. Danh taught the Martinez brothers about the food there.
"We're really close with her," Jorge said of Danh. "We even call her Mama."
Sergio, who has worked in the restaurant business for 12 years, was looking to buy his first restaurant when he happened upon Lucky Cafe and discovered it was for sale. He originally planned to purchase a Mexican restaurant, but he changed his mind after eating at Lucky Cafe. The restaurant, which has had three owners, was named after the first owner's daughter.
"Business is going well," Sergio said. "We're getting a lot of new customers and a lot of regulars from the neighborhood."
He said he is hoping to open another Vietnamese restaurant in the area.
"We are thinking of expanding in The Woodlands," he said. "We like the people here. It's a good place to own a business."
Lucky Cafe, 27120 Glen Loch Drive, The Woodlands, 281-298-2211, Hours: Mon.–Sat.: 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Closed Sundays