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Restaurant Details

What America needs right now is another burger joint. No, really. At least Moe Lazri thinks so. Lucky Burger's Lazri is no wild-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears idealist with rags-to-riches dreams - or if he is, he keeps this part of his personality well-hidden. No, he is the sophisticated and, one assumes, business-savvy manager of the Fig Tree and Little Rhein restaurants, two establishments with an enviable track record and (especially the Fig Tree) a burgeoning critical reputation for fine food. For his first venture as an owner, one might expect an operation with a certain swell - maybe not the cut crystal and delicate china of the Fig Tree, but certainly something with fine-food foundations. ;Nothing could be further from the truth, at least superficially. For starters, the place itself is a gas station channeled through a flowers-to-go outlet on Northwest Military Drive: hardly the tourist-trammeled River Walk haunt Lazri is used to. Curtains and starched tablecloths don't surprise you upon entering; rather, there is a grab bag of materials from stamped metal and rough wood to painted plaster and corrugated tin. Decorative elements include old Coke signs over-painted with geometric designs and a couple of active TV sets. On a Saturday afternoon, one was tuned to cartoons, the other - the mute one, alas - to a golf match. An illuminated arrow salvaged from an old sign shows the way to the order counter. Step right up.;- Ron Bechtol

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