NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

A look into Lucky’s

Food vendor came to NECC in August 2018

Lucky’s Pizza and Pasta at the Haverhill campus offers a wide variety of food and beverage options for students and staff. Open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lucky’s is located on the first floor in the C Building, room C-111. Lucky’s came to NECC in August 2018 after a few previous companies had residence of the popular cafe spot. The captain of the ship is Melissa Merrill, who has been the manager-on-site for 10 years. With her co-captain, Joey Hopkins, the two serve students and staff delicious foods with a smile everyday.

Merrill enjoys the interactions she has with customers, she says “I think the students are wonderful, I truly have no complaints.” The atmosphere of Lucky’s is quite inviting, with large east facing windows that allow beautiful morning light to greet each day. The space is large and open with “foodie” wall decor and beautiful succulent plants sprinkled throughout the room. The majority of students are on campus during the morning hours, so Lucky’s breakfast menu is quite extensive.

It is of course the most important meal of the day. Quick breakfast snacks include fruit cups, muffins, bagels, english muffins, apples, protein bars and yogurt cups. Egg and cheese sandwiches on bagels and english muffins are popular items (bacon or sausage can be added). Or try “The Lucky Breakfast”: scrambled eggs, sausage links, bacon, and home fries (all items could be ordered individually).

The south wall has all refrigerated foods and drinks, with an item and price menu hanging above. Drink options include apple and orange juice, milk and chocolate milk, sodas like Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, and Sunkist, and energy drinks like Powerade Zero and Monsters. Some of the cold food options include garden and caesar salads, and Italian and buffalo chicken sandwiches.

Lucky’s is open to taking suggestions from students and staff. Business major, Freddy, thinks they should carry all the flavors of Mt. Dew, “the blue one in particular” he says. Notice a handwritten “date of preparation ” on the packages of the fresh foods Lucky’s offers, this indicates the day the items are prepared. But no need to worry, these refrigerated foods are prepared fresh daily, and are donated to The Emmaus House Donation Center the next day if they are not purchased, according to Hopkins.

In the middle of the room there is a buffet style “grab-and-go” hot bar. These hot items include french fries, chicken fingers, hamburgers, pasta dishes, pizza by the slice, and “Lucky’s Daily Special,” which on a recent visit was sweet Italian sausages with peppers and onions.

Like the refrigerated foods, these hot food items are prepared fresh daily and are donated the next day if they are not purchased., with “date of preparation” written on their packaging as well. At the end of the hot bar is the cash register, with great candy and chip selections like Fritos, Doritos and Hot Cheetos.

Many of these hot and cold fresh food items are prepared off-site by cooks employed by Lucky’s, but Merrill says she  would actually enjoy more in house cooking. She says “If the space allows, I’d like to cook on site. I prefer it rather than pre-made foods.” They have a few appliances behind the counter to heat and toast foods, but larger appliances like a flat top grill could allow for more foods to be made in house.

And for the coffee and tea lovers out there, New England Coffee distributes their array of hot and iced beverages to Lucky’s. The entire west wall is dedicated to New England Coffee options. There’s a hot chocolate machine, freshly brewed lemonades and fruit punches, an iced coffee station, brewed coffees with exciting flavors like French Vanilla, Gingerbread Cookie, San Francisco Dark Roast and Breakfast Blend, finishing with an assortment of green and black teas at the end.

Andrew Venditti, journalism major, says “I like the San Francisco Dark Roast. I’ll get a cup every so often, it’s pretty convenient.” Communications major Brennan Cooney, editor-in-chief of the NECC Observer, says he  prefers anything that isn’t decaf. He jokes “I need an IV drip of coffee so I like whatever Lucky’s has to offer.”

When Lucky’s Pizza and Pasta replaced the former cafe, unfortunately some items left with the company, too. Human services major, Natalie, misses the pudding that was offered. Natalie says “They were really good, but once the switch happened, they took them away.” She’d like to see Lucky’s bring them back. Merrill says “I’ve seen three changes in ownership since I started here 10 years ago.”

Corporate Chef and Nexdine were the two previous employers, but something just seems right about Lucky’s Pizza and Pasta residing at NECC. However, one thing remains a constant issue with Lucky’s, students say – their hours of operation. Although the majority of students are on campus in the morning, many attend night courses and are at the school well into the evening dinner hours. Lucky’s is open from 7  a.m. to 2 p.m., so students who are on campus later than 2 p.m. don’t have acces to Lucky’s offerings.

Melinda, Natalie’s PCA, would like Lucky’s to adjust their hours of operation, as Natalie has classes until 6 p.m. Melinda says “We’re here past 6 p.m. so we have to plan accordingly. It makes sense why they accommodate the morning hours, but we’d like them to stay open for students later in the day.” Attached to Lucky’s is a large dining room with high and low tables to accommodate all. Room C-109, this break room is perfect to enjoy a meal or as just a place to relax in between classes. With a television, vending machines, books and magazines, it’s a popular hang out spot, with great people watching through the large windows, too!