Metro-East Living

Restaurant combines deli sandwiches and video gaming

Lucky Rose Cafe and Lounge

Swansea eatery offers fresh deli sandwiches, salads smoothies plus video gaming; only customers 21 and over after 7 p.m.
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Swansea eatery offers fresh deli sandwiches, salads smoothies plus video gaming; only customers 21 and over after 7 p.m.

The new Lucky Rose Cafe & Lounge in Swansea is like two businesses in one.

By day, it’s a family friendly restaurant with deli sandwiches, salads and fruit smoothies. At night, owners dim the lights to create more of a date-night atmosphere.

“You have to be 21 to come in after 7,” said Michael Zimmerman, who owns the business with his wife, Eva Rosa.

That’s because Lucky Rose is taking advantage of a relatively new state law that allows restaurants to offer video gaming, along with food and liquor.

We have alcoholic smoothies, such as daiquiris with rum added, and what we call a ‘Blast.’ It’s a smoothie that has vodka instead of rum.

Michael Zimmerman on drink options

A partition separates the 20-seat dining room in front from a room with video versions of poker and slots in back, pending Illinois Gaming Board approval in October.

“At that time, our hours will extend from 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, and we’ll start opening on Sundays from (noon) to midnight,” Michael said.

Lucky Rose opened in Greenhaven complex Aug. 13. Customers order food at the counter.

The simple menu includes deli sandwiches with ham, turkey, roast beef or a combination and Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese for $5.95, as well as two salads.

The Zimmermans also whip up strawberry, banana and wildberry smoothies made with all-natural fruit purees.

“We have alcoholic smoothies, such as daiquiris with rum added, and what we call a ‘Blast,’” Michael said. “It’s a smoothie that has vodka instead of rum.”

Lucky Rose also serves domestic beer and a couple of craft beers, Funf German wines and basic mixed drinks.

Employees of another Greenhaven business, Cloud 9 Vapor Lounge, have become regular customers.

“I like it just because it’s better than fast food,” said Glenn Hill, 36, of O’Fallon. “And (co-worker Ty Hendrix) likes the Wildberry Smoothies.”

Michael, 40, of O’Fallon, is a Pocahontas native who served six years in the U.S. Air Force with tours in Europe and the Middle East.

He and Eva Rose met in the Air Force and got married 14 years ago. They have four children.

Michael decided to leave the military in 2005, two years after being transferred to Scott Air Force Base, near his hometown.

“I chose family over military,” he said.

Michael then worked in route management related to ATMs, amusements and gaming before coming up with the idea for Lucky Rose.

Today, Eva Rosa manages the restaurant.

“She’s my Lucky Rose,” Michael said. “That’s where we got the name.”

The Zimmermans hope to develop a “Cheers”-like customer base with special events, such as a wine tasting from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday.

“Gotham” nights are planned when the Fox TV crime drama starts its new season this month, including drink specials and door prizes.

“My whole family likes to watch it, so we thought, ‘We’re going to be here anyway. Why not make it an event?’” Michael said.

At a glance

  • What: Lucky Rose Cafe & Lounge
  • Where: 4019 N. Illinois St. in Swansea (Greenhaven Complex)
  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays
  • Seating: 20
  • Handicap-accessible: Yes
  • Gaming machines: Coming in October
  • Information: Call 618-744-7500, email to info@luckyroseinc.com or visit www.luckyroseinc.com

On the menu

  • Club Sandwich — Ham, turkey and roast beef, Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, $5.95
  • Lucky Rose House Salad — Lettuce, tomato, onion, carrots, cheese, ham and turkey with ranch or Italian dressing, $5.95
  • Strawberry and Banana Smoothie — Smoothie made with all-natural, real-fruit purees with no artificial flavors or colors, $4.45
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