It's open! The new 12th Ave Grill


The night of the media party

[We followed Kevin Hanney as he moved 12th Ave Grill one block down the street into the former Victoria Inn space, twice the size of Hanney's original restaurant. Cost: a million dollars. Time it took, from the very beginning to opening day: 11 months. Find the previous posts at the bottom of this one.

The new 12th Ave Grill has finally opened, four months later than planned.

First came the media party, with more than 100 in attendance. With the open bar, pupus and extra labor needed, Kevin Hanney estimates the restaurant spent about $5,000 for the event. "But worth it," he says. "Gotta love a good party!"

"It was like a wedding," Denise Luke, his wife, says. "It went by like that; I didn't get to talk to half the people; I had a great time."

On the first official night of business, October 1, the restaurant did between 130 and 140 covers (number of people served), half of which were reservations. (The main dining room and bar seats about 70 people at a time.) People lined up for bar seats when the restaurant opened; despite the bar now being twice as big as the previous, it still couldn't accommodate the demand. The new 12th Ave Grill kept its hugely popular bar menu, previously only available from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but now also available late night from 10 to 11 p.m. The Maui Cattle Co. burger is still on the menu, along with new items like a meatloaf sandwich and twice-cooked duck wings (first braised then fried), which Luke calls the equivalent of duck bacon.

Kevin Hanney expediting on opening night

Right at 10 p.m., Hanney and Luke took a break from running the restaurant (him expediting orders—like traffic control for the kitchen, her greeting diners and regulars) to sit down at the bar to a glass of wine, steak, a Caesar salad, and those duck wings.

They'll take their breaks when they can; it's going to be a while before either of them has a day off. Whereas 12th Ave Grill used to be closed Sundays, the new restaurant will be open seven days a week. "It's so much bigger, so we have to make it work," Luke says. As in, make rent.

Denise Luke and Kevin Hanney

Also, they're already at work on the other restaurant—the breakfast spot in the old space, which will not be called Luke's as they originally hoped. When they tried to register the name, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs told them it was too similar to an existing business. (Curious to see all the business names that start with Luke? See the list at the DCCA.) No ideas yet on a new name.

But the good news is: The new 12th Ave Grill is now open for business!

1120 12th Avenue,  732-9469,

[We followed Kevin Hanney as he moved 12th Ave Grill into the former Victoria Inn space. The previous posts:

- Part 1: the overall plan 
- Part 2: the Victoria Inn space as it is now

Part 3: three ways to finance a restaurant

- Part 4: the floor plan
Part 5: the challenge of finding labor
 Part 6: demolition

Part 7: curse of the blue rock

Part 8: Luke's Cafe
- Part 9: The final stretch ]

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