By Tonya West
For Hometown News
The Lucky Rooster Pub & Eatery is lucky indeed. Within earshot of the ocean, it sits at the top of Main Street in Daytona Beach and thrives amidst all the activity the city offers. It's also a prime people watching spot, with three shaded tables perched out front.
The space occupied by the Lucky Rooster has been an eatery as far back as 30 years. New owners Paolo and Diana Mautone took over last summer and put their stamp on the establishment.
From Salerno, Italy, Mr. Mautone worked in the cruise ship industry for 14 years, so his menu has a global feel.
"We try to please everybody's tastes," he said.
A fair amount of remodeling incorporating wood and exposed brick has transformed the interior into a warm and comfortable place to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner, seven days a week.
If you have children, they'll be happy with the French toast or the short stack pancakes that come with bananas, chocolate chips or blueberries. If it's lunchtime, they'll enjoy digging into a right-priced Pizzetta -- a thin, crust pizza that's stretched long, chopped into smaller slices and served on a platter.
Just cheese Pizzetta goes for a reasonable $5.95. For a few dollars extra, one of the more creative offerings can be had: the Meat Lovers, Sport Buffalo Chicken or the Blue Beef, which has shaved rib-eye steak with bleu cheese crumbles, onions and mozzarella.
Adults will have no trouble ordering what they're craving. If it's breakfast time and you're in the mood for corned beef hash, you'll be pleased to see they make theirs homemade. One word sums up the entire breakfast menu -- "substantial." You will not leave here hungry.
For lunch, it'll be hard to choose between their eclectic burgers, sandwiches or hoagies, all for under $9.
Chef Bob Pavano loves cooking and having fresh fish with which to cook. They get theirs from two markets less than 10 miles away.
"I like satisfying people, seeing smiles on their faces when they're eating," said Chef Bob, who has been cooking for more than 25 years.
On this particular day, Swai fish and Flounder were the fresh catch choices. Opting for the Swai, it was grilled, sweet and very moist. It needs little oil when cooking, so it's a healthy option. It was served with rice fritters, reminiscent of hush puppies but less greasy. They are made with saffron rice stuffed with corn, American cheese, parsley and celery, then deep-fried. So tasty they require absolutely no dipping sauce.
The Rooster Paella isn't something you see every day. They also serve steaks, ribs and half chickens. Pork Schnitzel, Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Pasta and Maryland Brochettes round out the choices.
Save room: the homemade Lazy Magnolia Banana Bread is served with ice cream and topped with syrup infused with Lazy Magnolia craft beer.
Such a nice selection of food deserves an equally nice selection of brews. "We serve special beers that you can only find here," said Mr. Mautone, who enjoys the seasonal changes in the selection.
You couldn't ask for a better person managing your waitstaff. With 39 years of experience, Colleen Olayos is clearly happy doing what she does.
"Oh, I love it! This is a beautiful restaurant," Ms. Olayos said. "I love Paolo and his wife. They're awesome, beautiful people to work for. I just love the environment."
The Lucky Rooster is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday 7 a.m. For more information, call (386) 492-6285 or visit www.theluckyroosterdaytona.com.