Business

Cancer diagnosis, construction woes delay opening of Lucie’s Red Light

Lucie Slone Meyers, who closed a la Lucie in November, hopes to open Lucie’s Red Light later this year. The mural on her building at North Limestone and Bryan Avenue is a recent addition to the neighborhood.
Lucie Slone Meyers, who closed a la Lucie in November, hopes to open Lucie’s Red Light later this year. The mural on her building at North Limestone and Bryan Avenue is a recent addition to the neighborhood. cbertram@herald-leader.com

When Lucie Slone Meyers closed her iconic Lexington restaurant a la Lucie in November, she expected to be opening a new one six months later.

But it has taken a bit longer to greenlight Lucie’s Red Light, her new place on Limestone and Loudon.

First, she had contractor trouble, which led to delays with the plumbing inside and now with the concrete out front. And then …

“I got sick,” Meyers said. She thought she was just depressed, with a lingering cough. Turned out she had lung cancer. “I’m going to beat this,” she said.

Now on her second round of chemotherapy, Meyers is ready to get back to business. She has been working on her restaurant, which now sports a vibrant mural on the corner of Limestone and Bryan Avenue.

Inside, the walls display pieces of her collection. One mermaid-etched mirror came from the former Oriental Inn on Richmond Road. Nearby are a pair of vinyl leopard-print chairs that once belonged to jewelry designer George W. Headley that she picked up at a sale years ago.

“Some people do crack; I go to yard sales,” she said.

Toward the back wall of the bar is a pink felt pool table that may or not be staying.

Some people do crack; I go to yard sales.

Lucie Slone Meyers

“That’s the big debate right now,” Meyers said.

Above the pool table is the sign for the former La Flame nightclub on Winchester Road, a familiar face for decades to patrons of a la Lucie’s.

“I want to open … I miss it. I don’t have any restaurant gossip, and it’s killing me,” Meyers said.

Stalwart friends, colleagues and family, including her brother, Jamie Bates, wine buyer Susan Pollack and former longtime waiter Linney Strother have been helping her pull the new restaurant together. And Meyers said she has begun looking for staff.

“I’m looking for a chef and I haven’t hired anybody,” she said. But she has been thinking a lot about what she wants to serve.

“I don’t want to be stuck as French,” she said. She has been mulling menus and plans to stick with her burgers, noodle bowls and boards as well as other things like ceviche and oysters. But she also plans to bring back favorites such as her famous chicken a la Lucie, and liver and onions.

“I’ve been playing around with a lot of stuff … I’ve got to do some vegetarian stuff,” she said, to appeal to the tastes of many of the North Limestone hipsters.

In addition to the bar, the restaurant will seat about 100 and also will have outdoor seating on a patio along Loudon Avenue, across from the Broomwagon Bikes + Coffee. Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that raised $40,000, the restaurant kitchen has a new hood and grease trap and is nearly ready, she said.

But when Lucie’s Red Light will actually open is still up in the air.

She’d like it to be this fall.

“If I could get this concrete done, I could be ready in two months,” she said.

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