Luby’s Cafeterias: A Texas Tradition
If you've spent any length of time in the Lone Star state, you know what a "Lu ann" is. For those of you who have yet to enjoy this Texas treat, I'm referring to the famous combination plate that you can find only at the popular Luby's cafeterias.
Finally, just before a cashier handed you your check, you'd choose a drink, or maybe a deviled egg or a jalapeño or two. Then, off to search for an empty table where you'd relax and enjoy delicious food and good company.
A Little Luby’s HistoryBob Luby was only one year old when his father, Harry, started a chain of cafeterias in Springfield, Missouri. These early eateries – founded in 1911 – were called New England Dairy Lunch cafeterias and featured affordable New England boiled dinners.
After receiving a degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and then serving in World War II, Bob Luby returned to Texas. Luby's, as we know (and love) it, began in 1947 when the first Luby's cafeteria opened in San Antonio. By 1959, nine locations were operating in Texas, including cafeterias in Tyler, Harlingen, El Paso, and Beaumont.
The chain continued to expand, opening its first Houston location in 1965 under the name Romana Cafeteria. Luby's extended its operations outside Texas in 1966, with a cafeteria in Las Cruces, New Mexico. By 1987, Luby's had 100 locations. As of 2006, there were 128 cafeterias, with all but seven in Texas, making Luby's the largest cafeteria chain in the United States.
By the way, if you're a fan of the animated TV show, King of the Hill, you'll notice that the name of Luby's combination plate is also the name of the show's character, Luanne Platter. The cafeteria itself is referred to as "Luly's."
Luby's Chicken PiccataThis is one of Luby's most popular entrees.
Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and dredge each chicken breast, pressing down firmly to coat both sides. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
In a large mixing bowl, toss together the mushrooms, olive oil, and chopped garlic. Place mushroom mixture in a large skillet and sauté 3 minutes on medium high heat without stirring. Gather mushrooms into center of skillet and add wine and lemon juice. Mix well. Let simmer an additional 3 minutes. Stir occasionally. When liquids have reduced by half, remove from heat and let cool. In a bowl, toss seasoned mushrooms with parsley, artichoke hearts, salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and butter. Place breaded chicken breasts two or three at a time in pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until nicely browned and crisp. Remove and place on a serving platter.
Drain excess oil from skillet. Add artichoke-mushroom mixture and capers to skillet over medium heat, tossing well to warm. Top chicken with warm artichoke-mushroom mixture, Lemon Garlic Sauce, and 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley. Serves 8.
Lemon Garlic Sauce
Luby's Macaroni and CheeseComfort food for all ages
Fold in macaroni, 1 more cup of cheese, and salt. Transfer to a lightly greased 11x7-inch casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce in center of casserole is thick and creamy.
Remove foil and sprinkle remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese evenly over the top. Return to oven, uncovered, until cheese melts. Serves 6.
Even if the nearest Luby's cafeteria is a thousand miles (or more) away, you can enjoy many of their recipes right at home. To celebrate their 60th anniversary, Luby's has published a cookbook, Luby's Recipes and Memories. For ordering information, go to their web site at www.lubys.com.
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