Lucky's Market, which opened July 1 in Iowa City, is first and foremost a grocery store, but it's also a good place to grab a meal.
Lucky's, a chain based in Bouldor, Colo., took over the 37,000-square-foot space that was formerly Von Mauer at the Iowa City Marketplace, previously known as Sycamore Mall.
When I walked in the day after the grand opening, the place was packed with shoppers, as have been other new grocery stores in the Corridor in the last year - Cedar Rapids recently gained both a New Pioneer Co-Op branch and a Fresh Market.
Each of these have different selections, however, and I wanted to see what Lucky's had to offer.
A sizable selection of local products is saturated throughout the store, from zucchini grown in Kalona to David's Famous Custard from Tipton in the freezer section to a local brewery of the month display in the wine and beer area.
Lucky's brand items are also everywhere, and ten percent of sales from those items are reinvested in the community.
A juice bar in the middle of store was turning out fresh-squeezed juice and lemonade. I grabbed a strawberry lemonade and headed for the deli.
Here the choices were extensive. Salad and antipasti bars sat alongside pizza and sushi counters, where the food was being made fresh. Diners could also have a sandwich made to order or choose from the prepared food selection behind a glass counter.
I picked a piece of hush puppy sriracha fried chicken and an asparagus fresh mozzarella arancini, a stuffed Arborio rice ball coated in breadcrumbs and fried. To offset my two fried choices I also grabbed a kale Ceasar salad and headed for the sizable seating area.
The space, complete with couches, tables and Wi-Fi, also boasts two tabletop arcade games and, somewhat inexplicably, a shuffleboard table.
It's hard to mess up a Ceasar salad, and mine was tasty. The lemonade was tart, and the arancini was creamy inside and crisp on the outside. The sriracha chicken, with the woman behind the counter told me was marinated for 48 hours, had a mild kick but wasn't very spicy at all. It was, however, moist and not too greasy.
I'll definitly be back, if only to sit at the coffee and alcohol bar, where locally roasted Cafe del Sol coffee and pastries from Iowa City's Deluxe Bakery were on offer alongside pints of Iowa craft beers and glasses of wine. The store was taking advantage of a new state law that allows retail establishments to fill growlers and had jugs patrons could fill with beer at the bar.
At Lucky's, a sign over the bar boasted, "It's happy hour all the time."