If there's anything John Katz says he's learned about the restaurant business, it's that he shouldn't be going into it again.
The seasoned restauranteur, who's spent the past few years buying and flipping properties, got back into the grub game this week despite his better judgment.
You could say he was feeling lucky.
Katz's latest venture, Lucky's Steak Plate, a sleek burger and steak shop that's named for the eponymous riverboat gambling protagonist of the '60s-era television show, Mr. Lucky, opened for business Tuesday.
"Ask anyone in the restaurant business, they'll tell you, 'Don't go into the restaurant business, it’s the worst business in the world," Katz said, pausing. "And, at the same time, it’s the best business in the world."
Missing the social aspect of the foodservice industry and motivated to fix up an old childhood haunt, late last year Katz bought the River Road property that most recently housed the Sub Base.
"I drive by the building every day, and seeing it sitting here for the past so many years aggravated me, quite honestly." he said. "Somebody had to improve it. Nobody else bought it, so I bought it."
In the past year, Katz has restored the rundown property into a sparkling 36-seat restaurant with burgundy wood finished tables and glistening flat screen televisions fastened to the wall.
His tight menu of quality meats available morning, noon and night features an array of Creekstone Farms steaks, Pat LaFrieda burgers, Thumann's hot dogs, baby back ribs and spicy buffalo wings served at a reasonable price.
Katz said he believes Lucky's fills the area's need for both a casual, affordable steak joint and an in-and-out breakfast or lunch spot.
"It'll be fast, friendly and fun," said the affable Katz, who spent time in the kitchen, behind the counter and roaming the floor on Lucky's opening day.
"I'm the COOOOO," he quipped. "I'm the Chief Operating Officer Overseeing Ongoing Operations, because that's really what you are."
Lucky's website is still under construction, but for more information about Fair Lawn's newest restaurant, visit its Facebook page and scroll through the pictures for menu items and prices.