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Tue, Dec. 10

Lucy Dee’s BBQ restaurant opens on Sheldon Street
Lisa and Zip Lucidi of Prescott spruce up former Cattleman’s property

The dining room inside Lucy Dee’s is operated by nine employees. The restaurant was completely renovated by Zip Lucidi and several contractors. Lucy Dee’s BBQ serves handcut meats and side dishes with its dinners. (Doug Cook/Courier)

The dining room inside Lucy Dee’s is operated by nine employees. The restaurant was completely renovated by Zip Lucidi and several contractors. Lucy Dee’s BBQ serves handcut meats and side dishes with its dinners. (Doug Cook/Courier)

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Zip and Lisa Lucidi opened Lucy Dee’s BBQ on Sheldon Street in Prescott this past week, formerly the Cattleman’s steakhouse. (Doug Cook/Courier)

When Lisa and Zip Lucidi moved to Prescott a few years ago, they hadn’t planned on starting another restaurant.

However, when retirement lost its luster, Lisa felt the itch to get back in the game.

This past week, the Lucidis made a triumphant return to the business, opening the doors to Lucy Dee’s BBQ, 669 E. Sheldon St., Prescott.

“I got really bored [of retirement],” said Lisa, who doubles as a volunteer for Chino Valley-based nonprofit Horses with Heart, where she has two ponies. “Being in the restaurant business, it sounds cliché, but it’s in your blood.”

You might remember the place as the former Cattleman’s Bar & Grill. The Lucidis gave the building a significant facelift with an Old West feel.

Completely renovated with a new patio, paved parking area and landscaping, wood siding painted a fresh gray and white, and a pristine dining room, it’s an inviting space.

Lucy Dee’s, a creative take on the couple’s surname, seats 73 people inside, but the 2,000-square-foot location also has a small outdoor seating space. Carryout and catering are available.

The Lucidis bought a state-of-the-art smoker, Southern Pride, which has five racks and can hold 500 pounds of meat. Their 140-square-foot cooler next to the kitchen stores the goods, if you will.

“There isn’t anything you can put in there that doesn’t come out perfect,” Lisa said of the smoker.

For example, the smoker does a fine job cooking the Lucidis’ beef brisket, which has a salt-and-pepper rub.

They also serve pulled pork, chicken breast or pulled chicken, sausage and St. Louis pork ribs. Sandwiches are available, too. Plate lunches/dinners feature honey cornbread with a choice of two sides. Sides include mac and cheese, coleslaw, ranch beans, potato salad, barbecued beans and tater tots.

“We wanted something where if Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were riding their horse down the street, they would see this building and they’d say, ‘We’re going in there,’” Zip said.

Sauces and salads come from family recipes, and desserts are made from scratch.

“You love the risk, you love the excitement of opening up a new place and starting something new,” Lisa said. “Meeting people is very rewarding, and I like to eat. I like to see people eat and make them happy. You can’t fight with your mouth full of food.”

RESTAURANT VETERANS

The Lucidis installed real barn wood panels bought from Webb’s Weathered Wood in Prescott Valley for the restaurant’s interior walls. The wood came from a farm near Snowbowl in Flagstaff.

Painted on the back wall of the main dining room are the words “Faith,” “America,” “Charity” and “Victory.” Next to those words is a painting of a Betsy Ross American flag.

“This is my life right there — seeing the flag and those words,” Lisa said. “That’s how we live our lives.”

In mid-July, the Lucidis said it would take them two or three weeks to put the finishing touches on the restaurant, which had been empty since 2012.

“It would’ve been cheaper to bulldoze it and start over,” Lisa said. “But we’re here now, and I just love it.”

Lisa said she and Zip, a 72-year-old general contractor with boundless energy, started looking for a location to buy for a barbecue restaurant in 2016.

This is the couple’s 15th restaurant. They’ve dabbled in the business since 1977-78, when they opened an A&W drive-in in Detroit. But this is their first barbecue joint.

“Running a restaurant is probably one of the hardest businesses anyone can run,” Zip said. “We’ve never failed in the restaurant business.”

They previously operated an ice cream parlor, pizzerias and six delis, from Downriver Michigan to San Diego County in California.

“The competition is ourselves,” Zip said. “We like competition. It makes you better.”

SOFT OPENING

Zip, who’s also a Realtor, bought the property for Lucy Dee’s.

Lisa and Zip’s son, Joey, 40, who owns four well-regarded restaurants in the Phoenix area, has worked in the restaurant business since he was 15, when he waited tables. He attended Lucy Dee’s soft opening Aug. 12 to help his parents.

“This place is built for locals, by locals,” Joey said. “They’re really good at this.”

The Lucidis lived in San Diego for 26 years after they had departed Michigan. In 1982, they relocated to California and opened several restaurants in the San Diego County area. One of their signature restaurants was The Hamburger Factory in Poway, California, which Zip later sold and is still in operation.

The couple moved to Peoria in 2008. By 2012, they had opened a restaurant serving home-style comfort food in Peoria, called The Haymaker Restaurant Co. Joey later opened three other big restaurants.

Zip also built a renowned family distillery dubbed Peoria Fire Station No. 1: Lucidi Distilling Company, which Lisa and Zip’s other son, Chris, operates in Old Town Peoria. The distillery produces high-quality vodka, gin, rum, moonshine and a blended whiskey.

SETTLED IN PRESCOTT

In 2006, the Lucidis had hoped to move to Prescott by selling their horse ranch in San Diego, but the sale fell through. Ten years later, they wound up buying and remodeling an historic home here.

“I like the change in the seasons and the old buildings,” Lisa said of Prescott. “I like the country feel and the people.”

The Lucidis currently have nine people on their staff at the restaurant. They may not be hiring at the moment, but if you have been in the business and are a hard worker, they just might find a spot for you.

“We’re both very happy here,” Lisa said. “We found a church here. We love our house. We all have the same desires in what we need to make our life complete, and this town seems to fit quite a few of those little niches.”

IF YOU GO

Lucy Dee’s BBQ is open six days a week, including 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Lucidis’ restaurant is closed on Sundays, Thanksgiving and Christmas so they can visit their grandchildren.

The Lucidis offer local charities a chance to fundraise through their Lucy Loves program “to highlight and help out those who help others in our community.”

Lucy Dee’s also does catering for retirement parties, office meetings, family dinners and wedding receptions.

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