Club Lucky: Couple leaves $2K tip at Bucktown restaurant decades after 1st date

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As server and bartender Eddie Cruz closed out a couple's tab at Bucktown's Club Lucky Friday night, he glanced down at the receipt and did a double-take.

"My heart started racing," Cruz said. "I'm just like, I'm trying to run around. Can I find someone because this is kind of unbelievable!"

The tip far outweighed the tab, after the couple left $2,000 for the staff.

"They [the staff] were just like, 'Get out of here! What table? Where are they? Who are they,'" Cruz recalled.

Turns out, the husband and wife were no stranger to the 30-year-old neighborhood establishment.

The message left on their receipt hinted towards a glimpse into their intertwined history with the place that kicked off their own love story.

"Thank you for 20 years of good memories, excellent food & outstanding service. Cheers to many more," the note said.

The owner said the generous couple, who wants to remain anonymous, had their first date at Club Lucky 20 years ago and have been coming back here every year for the past two decades.

In fact, the couple comes back on the exact date and time of their first date, February 12, and sit at the same exact booth.

"We have a lot of these type of guests that they've come in, they've started their families here. They met their future wives or husbands here," said Club Lucky owner Jim Higgins. "It's a real family atmosphere."

And in this case, Higgins said these guests have become like family, who wanted to their celebrated milestone with the restaurant to be a joy shared with all who worked there.

"He was very specific. He wanted to make sure it was shared with all the staff," Higgins said.

"You know, it almost makes you want to cry," Cruz added. "It's so heartwarming when people are that generous."

That generosity was deeply felt by the staff, who are not immune from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

"It just really put a smile on everybody's face here and were just happy to be included in his life," said Higgins, who intends on keeping it that way.

Since the couple's first date, he's given them an indefinite standing reservation.

"That booth is his booth: February 12 at 7:30 p.m. - booth 46. As long as Club Lucky is here, that table will be there for them," Higgins said.
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