On Franklin Street, just off Milwaukee Street in Janesville, the new Lucky Ducky Diner serves up a wide range of American classics. And with the completion of the recent road construction, it is easier than ever to find. The Lucky Ducky Diner opened where Cherry’s Steak and Prime was located, and its theme seems to be based on gambling, with several electronic slot machines inside and the menu prices referring, I think, to lucky winning combinations: 7.77, 8.11, 10.21.

Small but bright and inviting, the space is welcoming, as is the staff. The setup is similar to Cherry’s with plenty of seating at the bar. Friendly with a community feel, the diner is working toward being open 24 hours a day. Helene chatted with the server while she waited for her food and discovered they have a lot of fun ideas for events they hope to have in the coming months.

There are daily specials, including a Friday fish fry that sounded great, especially since you can get it with one of my favorites, homemade potato pancakes. On the day we got takeout, surf and turf was one of the featured specials, which would be a great dinner option. Their Facebook page advertises fun cocktail choices like sangria, toasted almond martinis and a “flight” of coffee drinks. That sounds pretty appealing, especially on a cold, rainy day.

We can never resist Brussels sprouts, so when we saw them on the appetizer list, we picked up an order ($8.11). They were roasted and came with a nice garlic and Parmesan dipping sauce. The pulled pork sandwich I selected for my entree was loaded with big chunks of moist pork ($10.21). There was a light, slightly sweet barbecue sauce that had just a slight kick. The bun was pillowy soft and there was a crunchy light coleslaw layered on top. It came with plenty of crunchy ripple potato chips. It made for a very satisfying lunch.

Helene opted for the chicken biscuit sandwich ($9.11) which came with hash browns. Two ‘fingers’ of chicken rested in a fluffy biscuit. The chicken, which looked like it was baked because it wasn’t greasy at all, was moist inside. It came with a syrupy honey hot sauce which wasn’t as noticeable on the chicken but on the biscuit it was a good match. The dish reminded her of chicken and waffles, which is always a good pairing. The hash browns tasted buttery and were unsalted, which was easy to remedy. She ordered a side of coleslaw for an extra $3.77. Crisp and tart, the shredded cabbage had bits of carrot and celery seed and was nicely addictive.

Nikki chose the Cuban sandwich ($9.13). It came with chips and she added a side of the coleslaw, too. The sandwich was served on marble rye and stuffed with a thick slab of ham, chunks of pork roast and gooey cheddar cheese. Pickle rounds gave it a nice tang and there was a hint of dijon aioli. The bread was not toasted or grilled, which was a little surprising, and the sandwich did not hold up as well for takeout. Even though it was falling apart, the flavor was good.

Jennifer was in the mood for breakfast and called ahead to see if they served breakfast all day. The answer given was that all a la carte breakfast items are available from open to close. It should be noted that the a la carte options are limited in comparison to the full breakfast choices. She decided to try the sausage burrito ($8.88), an oversized grilled flour tortilla stuffed with fluffy scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, onion, sliced red pepper, an abundance of breakfast sausage that had a nice peppery flavor and skin-on sliced breakfast potatoes. The menu showed it would come with pico de gallo, but that ingredient had been omitted. The added moisture would have been welcome, but Jennifer remedied that by adding her own hot sauce. It was one hearty burrito, with all the staples of a robust breakfast rolled up in a tortilla.

The Lucky Ducky is a nice addition to our downtown dining selections. The “ducky” emblem shows cards and club chips and invites you to take a gamble, but with many tasty options, there is not much risk involved.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.


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