Andrew Jacobsen has been hard at work over the past two years to grow his business from a small corner bar to three full-service restaurant concepts, and the local entrepreneur has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
Jacobsen is the owner of a Muskego bar and grill called Lucky's, which recently expanded into a larger space and was renamed Lucky's at The Lodge, as well as fast-casual shawarma eatery and caterer Lucky's Spitfire, with locations in Muskego and Kenosha.
Lucky's at the Lodge opened in late December at the former Outside Inn with Bacon, located at S74 W17084 Janesville Road in the Parkland Towne Center mixed-use development. The 5,500-square-foot space is complete with indoor fire pits and a log cabin-like atmosphere.
With its recent expansion, booming catering business and a total of 60 employees, the Lucky's brand has seen rapid growth since its 2017 birth.
Now, Jacobsen is rolling out plans to incorporate his concepts as a restaurant group under the Lucky's brand name while he eyes downtown Milwaukee and Madison as potential sites for additional restaurants.
"We really grew fast, considering the original Lucky's was just a corner tavern," he said. "We're aiming to make Lucky's a household name."
Jacobsen opened Lucky's shortly after moving to Muskego from Chicago, where he gained experience working for a small restaurant chain. He and his girlfriend, Lisa Hilgenberg, who now handles marketing for Lucky's, "worked day and night" to get the concept off the ground, he said.
Lucky's Spitfire opened in Kenosha in January 2019, and expanded to Muskego in November.
The Kenosha location has become the business' catering hub, landing a deal in April with Chicago-based corporate catering company Foodworks. Lucky's Spitfire caters daily at various businesses and office buildings in Chicago's suburbs, Northwestern University in Evanston and at American Family Insurance's corporate offices in Madison.
"That really took our business to the next level and gave us a lot of exposure," Jacobsen said.
Lucky's Spitfire caters about 30 to 40 events per month for groups of 50 to 300 people, he said.
Jacobsen said it's been a challenge to grow multiple locations at the same time, but he credits his employees for keeping the business on the same page. Unlike many area restaurateurs, he hasn't struggled to find employees.
"Being so involved in the community, a lot of people actually come to us who want to work," he said. "We've grown organically, just word of mouth,"
Jacobsen said his next concept will focus on poke, which is a Hawaiian-style seafood dish that has emerged as popular trend throughout the Milwaukee area over the past few years.
Similar to his approach at his other other concepts, Jacobsen plans to put his own twist on the cuisine with homemade sauces and original recipes that fuse various flavors.
"Bringing your own ideas to the table every time really sets you apart," he said.
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