By Ian Perrotta
Hungry at 3 a.m.?
Hamtramck’s newest eatery can help fill the void in your stomach.
On Monday, L. George’s Coney Island officially opened its doors to the public at the former Clock Restaurant space. Family-owned and operated by the father-and-son team of Vaselj (Vasso) and Tony Lucaj, the restaurant offers an assortment of items traditional to a Coney Island menu.
However, the similarities between L. George’s and other Coney Islands end there. Immediately upon walking into the refurbished dining area — complete with a new counter and spiffy neon sign — it is apparent that L. George’s is a different breed.
“The biggest difference between us and other places is our cleanliness, customer service, and overall organization,” says Tony Lucaj. “Everything is hand-made and home-made. We take a lot of pride in our work here.”
Another thing that Lucaj says makes L. George’s stand out from similar businesses is the establishment’s use of locally-sourced products. By shopping at places like Eastern Market and in Hamtramck’s numerous ethnic grocery stores, the quality of ingredients on the menu can stay high even while the prices remain low.
“It’s important to help other businesses in the area,” says Lucaj. “The more we shop in Hamtramck, the more money stays in the area, which benefits everyone.”
With talk like that it already seems like Lucaj is a local, a statement which is itself not too far from the truth. In fact, Tony Lucaj was actually born in Hamtramck, as his family lived in the city for a number of years after emigrating from what at the time was Yugoslavia.
When they found out The Clock restaurant was for sale earlier this year, the family’s fond memories and experiences of Hamtramck brought them back.
“I was born and raised in Hamtramck, and you never forget where you came from,” says Lucaj. “Also, at the end of the day safety was one of the biggest factors in choosing a new location, and Hamtramck is completely safe.”
Now that everything has come full circle and the family is back in Hamtramck, the Lucajs are ready to serve up some heaping portions of stand-by favorites. In addition to the regular menu that features breakfast items, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and — of course — coneys, there is a reasonably-priced rotating lunch special with a different plate each day.
“I can’t really say I have a favorite,” says Lucaj. “I wouldn’t steer anyone away from anything.”
L. George’s Coney Island is located at 11444 Jos. Campau (the site of the former Clock restaurant) and is open 24 hours a day Monday through Saturday and until 3 p.m. on Sunday — just look for the new sign and freshly paved parking lot.