The third time is the charm for restaurateur Lucy Yanez, but to be fair, the first and second times were equally huge successes.
A couple of years ago, Yanez moved her restaurant from its traditional location to a larger venue across the street, but she also kept the previous location open. Lucy’s Mexicali Restaurant is now open at 710 S. Canal, while Lucy’s Cantina remains open across the street.
Then, last November, she opened Lucy’s Mexican Grill at the Cascades, an upscale dining spot located at 400-2 Cascades Avenue. Running three different establishments in one town is a gutsy endeavor. “We keep our hands full,” she admitted, but she has brought in some backup she knows she can trust.
“Here, we’re doing upscale custom steaks, gourmet burgers and street tacos,” explained Lucy’s son, Michael Yanez, who runs the Cascades restaurant as well as Lucy’s Mexicali Restaurant in Ruidoso. “We have a few pasta dishes, and once we start doing lunches we’ll add sandwiches.”
The Grill, currently open from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (the lounge is open until midnight on weekends)shares the Cascades building with a gym, several offices and, eventually, a coffee house.
Lucy and Michael put in a restaurant, a bar area and a large patio overlooking the Cascades water feature. It’s a big step forward in the Carlsbad Department of Development’s marketing of the Cascades.
“I feel like we’re anchoring this thing, and if we do well, I think it will attract even more businesses,” Michael shared about the Cascades development.
He described the fare as a “Mexican fusion,” a mixture of Mexican and New Mexican foods. “We have two great chefs in the back who can incorporate some authentic dishes that you’d normally have to go out of the state or even the country to have,” he added.
It’s a very different menu than the Lucy’s down the road (just “five minutes away,” Michael quipped), with one exception: the popular hit Adam’s Queso is served at every location.
Michael is also proud of the full bar at the Cascades location, which includes 16 beers on tap, a full wine list and an assortment of craft cocktails.
He shared that his family saw some competitors opening around town and opened the Cascades location because they wanted to try something new. “We want a great place where you can bring your date. We keep our prices reasonable, but it’s a little upper level dining.”
Adding to the ambiance, pianist Anthony Torres sets up shop from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. “He’s the best piano player in Texas,” Lucy bragged.
Michael began working with his mother in high school. He returned to the business after college and spent a decade running the restaurant in Ruidoso.
Both members of the Yanez family say they are looking forward to seeing some of Carlsbad’s industries get back to booming. “It’s pretty exciting when I see groups of oilfield guys coming in,” Lucy observed. “That means something big is going to happen.”
“It just melts in your mouth,” she concluded. “Everybody says we need a good steak in town, and I think they found one.”
Down the road at the original location, Lucy’s Cantina is open from 6-10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and often features entertainment acts. The Cantina serves bar food and has a full liquor license. Lucy’s Mexicali Restaurant maintains a beer and wine license. The family has also recently opened a restaurant in Lovington.