“We joined SCCA to learn from and work with other successful businesses in the Seward neighborhood.”
SCCA Member: Jim Welna, Welna II Hardware

Member Profile – Pizza Lucé IV

Pizza Luce Dining Area

Pizza Luce Dining Area

From its humble beginnings in 1993 serving pizza by the slice in the Warehouse District of downtown Minneapolis, Pizza Lucé has grown to seven metro locations and one in Duluth. The Seward-University location at 2200 East Franklin Ave opened in 2003 and has undergone its own expansion in 2015.

Pizza Luce 12

Co-Owner Laura Hansen, Manager Sara Durkin and Co-Owner JJ Haywood

Co-Owner Laura Hansen, Manager Sara Durkin and Co-Owner JJ Haywood

At a recent tour of the renovated Pizza Lucé IV, new General Manager Sara Durkin (formerly Special Events & Front of House Manager at the downtown Lucé) and co-owners Laura Hansen and JJ Haywood showed off the newly remodeled and expanded dining room and bar. The colors are bright and bold, with 2-story high ceilings and large street-facing windows in the dining area. The new bar, front paneling and reception desk were created and installed by Seward-based Wood from The Hood. The bar area is a cozy space with lower ceilings and several large flat screen TVs. Craft beer lovers will feel right at home with the many local beers among the 24 offerings on tap.

Wood from The Hood custom made reception desk

Wood from The Hood custom made reception desk

Brand new bar

Brand new bar

According to Haywood, one of the three co-owners of this location, “We’ve always had requests for meetings and birthday parties, and now we have the space to accommodate large and small groups.” The new seating area has doubled from 90 to 180, with a similar increase in kitchen space. The menu of pizza, hoagies, pasta, appetizers and salads (with extensive gluten-free options) remains the same, but with the expanded kitchen they will be offering week-end brunch starting in May.

Because each location is a franchise, Pizza Lucé IV is rooted in the Seward and West Bank communities. Longtime Seward resident and Lucé IV co-owner Laura Hanson remembers receiving an email in the early 1990’s. “It was from Carol Carrier (Milwaukee Avenue resident and current Board President of Seward Redesign) inviting Pizza Lucé to check out the building she and her husband had just purchased at 22nd & E Franklin.” They liked the location with its proximity to the U of M, Augsburg, the West Bank and Seward neighborhoods. Laura adds that the Franklin Avenue commercial corridor has changed in the past 12 years, “The Avenue is more economically viable now than it was in 2003.” No doubt due, in part, to the stability and success of this restaurant.

Lucé IV is an active member of the community, supporting fundraising events like Dining Out for Life, an annual day when restaurants donate 35% of profits to the Aliveness Project. They are also a longtime member of SCCA and often participate in local events like last year’s Open Streets Franklin Avenue. “We had a lot of fun with Open Streets,” comments co-owner JJ Haywood. “We sponsored Barton’s Player Pianos, Izzie’s Ice Cream and Open Eye Theatre outside the restaurant. That was a blast!”

And if you’re a cyclist, don’t miss the 3rd Annual Tour de Lucé on June 7th, a “free-form bike ride for the whole family” that begins at the Uptown restaurant (3200 Lyndale Ave S) and coincides with the Open Streets Lyndale event. Participants ride at their own pace from one Lucé to another, and are rewarded at each stop with slices of pizza and beer or soda. A great way to tour the city!

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