Grunion Gazette - Long Beach

Thursday, February 26, 2015  |

Lucille's Shuffle Means Out With Old In With New

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Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 2:58 pm | Updated: 1:57 pm, Wed Jan 28, 2015.

One Lucille’s closed, but another one opened.

A favorite local dining haunt, Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ at the corner of Second Street and St. Joseph Avenue, closed last week so that operations could transition to a new location just a mile away. Just days later, the staff was settling in, completing employee training tests at the new site at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

Lucille’s at Second and PCH opened today, Tuesday, June 24.

The restaurant shuffling meant the elimination of the more than 50-year-old Hof’s Hut Restaurant & Bakery originally located at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway. Local residents went so far as to picket outside Hof’s Hut in their passion to preserve the eatery, but the restaurant owners ultimately decided that a change needed to be made.

Hof’s Hut and Lucille’s are both owned by Signal Hill-based Hofman Hospitality Group, which has five restaurants in Long Beach. HHG President Craig Hofman, 62, who grew up in the business his parents started as a burger stand in the 1940s, works with his wife and their four children. The first Hof’s Hut opened in 1951.

“It’s been flattering that people care so much about our restaurants,” Hofman said about the outpouring of public comments about the change. He added that he knows excitement is building in the community for the new Lucille’s location that will have more parking than what was available in Belmont Shore.

Meanwhile, Hofman said his family is making plans for the now vacant Belmont Shore location, which also was originally a Hof’s Hut. HHG owns the building at 4828 E. Second St. and the restaurant owners are working to design a new, unnamed tavern-style restaurant featuring American food for that space.

“We’re going to put an upscale tavern there because we think that is what would work best,” Hofman said simply. “We’ve hired a chef who worked at 555, and we will have a full bar with restricted hours. We hope to open early next year.”

Replacing Hof’s with Lucille’s was just one of the recent changes to the tenant mix at the northwest corner of the intersection at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway. Most notably, Gelson’s Market replaced Albertsons grocery store at 6255. E. Second St. and City National Bank at 6265 E. Second St. was transformed into a CVS/pharmacy. City National moved up the block to a smaller building in the Marina Pacifica center.

For details about Hofman Hospitality Group and its restaurants, visit hofmangroup.com.

Ashleigh Ruhl can be reached at aruhl@gazettes.com.