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New restaurant could open by December at Beermann’s

By: Carol Feineman Lincoln News Messenger Editor
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John Drust and his father, Mike Drust, want to open a new downtown restaurant and nightclub by December at the former Beermann’s Restaurant. It depends on final negotiations with the former Beermann’s Restaurant owner and if the Drusts can get an ABC license to serve beer, wine and distilled spirits, according to John Drust. Drust said this week that he and his father want to lease 6,000 square feet downstairs and 6,000 square feet upstairs. Drust said his father would run Cool Hand Luke’s Restaurant downstairs and he would run a nightclub upstairs. Cool Hand Luke’s would locate at 645 5th Street in downtown Lincoln, the former site of the popular Beermann’s Restaurant. “It’s my father, Mike Drust, running the business,” Drust said. “My role is getting the nightclub going upstairs. We’ll start with two nights and do more nights later. I want to have live music, have a comedy club upstairs. I have a deejay ready to go.” The restaurant would serve lunch and dinner daily, according to Drust. But the negotiations are not a done deal, yet, according to the property owner’s real estate representative. “We are very enthusiastic about the possibility of a Cool Hand Luke’s-style restaurant coming to Beermann’s,” said Tony Wood, senior vice president, TRI Commercial Real Estate Services Inc. “However, certain outstanding issues remain and the property continues to be offered to prospective buyers or tenants until these issues get resolved. Those issues are primarily related to the issuance of an ABC license and the complexity related to the on-site brewery.” Wood has shown the Beermann Restaurant property for five years and, he said, had approximately 40 serious prospective tenants. “This is the closest we’ve come to consummating a transaction,” Wood said. The Drusts are Lincoln residents. The son is a 1996 Lincoln High School graduate. They chose opening a Cool Hand Luke’s Steakhouse/Saloon here for a few reasons. “Cool Hand Luke’s theme fits well in Lincoln,” Drust explained. “They have the western cowboy/cowgirl theme. It’s also very good steak at a reasonable price. The whole menu is affordable. It’s great prices and good food.” Drust also said that the location is a “historical landmark and a beautiful building.” “Opening here is a chance to bring back business to downtown, old Lincoln,” Drust said. Cool Hand Luke’s is part of the Fresno-based Dynaco Food Concepts, which also includes Perko’s Cafe Grill, Luke’s Wild West Grill and Huckleberrys. Deborah Brooks, Dynaco Food Concepts’ vice president of franchising and development, e-mailed The News Messenger that Cool Hand Luke’s will complement Lincoln because it is “ a perfect fit for historic downtown Lincoln. The Beermann’s Building compliments our western theme restaurant.” Brooks also e-mailed The News Messenger an article about Cool Hand Luke’s. The article said that Dynaco’s CEO/President Randy Brooks “encourages all 11 locations of Cool Hand Luke’s to be a part of their respective communities by donating to local charities.” The restaurant franchise is currently in 10 California locations, including Yuba City and Citrus Heights; and Eagle, Idaho.