By Matthieu Vollmer
MARSHFIELD — Di Lucas Italian Steakhouse, Seafood & Spirits opened its South Central Avenue location in Marshfield on Sept. 3, 2014.
“I’m in this industry because I like how people feel when they are done. I try to make every special event perfect. There is no better feeling than that for me,” said Nick Cochran, part-owner and general manager at Di Lucas.
Cochran has been in restaurant management for nearly 15 years. He started as a dishwasher at the age of 14, managed Taco Bells in Madison, Wis., for 10 years, and has also managed a Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Cochran’s business partners include his father, Timothy Liston, and Adolfo Melendez. Serving as part-owner and head chef, Liston has 17 years of experience and was the head chef at the Best Western in Waupaca, Wis., trained in Hawaii, and also worked at First on Dayton and at CJ’s in Madison. Melendez is the owner of the El Mezcal location in Stevens Point.
When asked how business has been since they opened, Cochran replied, “We’ve had nothing but good reviews on Friday nights. Sales are building in a nice way. Things are going in the right direction.”
Di Lucas is attached to the Holiday Inn in the space formerly occupied by The Gondolier. Di Lucas leases and operates the ballroom in the same section of the building where it hosts special events.
Di Lucas is a member of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Recently, Di Lucas partnered with United Way and hosted a workshop to show community parents how to prepare a meal for under $5.
“We want to get more involved. We want to be a part of Marshfield,” said Cochran.
The best selling dish is shrimp and crab mousseline for $19.99. The menu description reads, “Sauteed shrimp and crab with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic, topped with mousseline sauce and baked in our ovens, served with linguine.”
“I love it all. My favorite dish is the 6 oz. tenderloin blackened with shrimp penne sauce. It’s chef’s special steak. My favorite dessert is the tiramisu,” said Cochran.
Liston creates his own recipes and everything but the noodles are made from scratch, including mozzarella sticks, bruschetta, onion rings, and even the marina sauce and breading that accompany the dishes. Cochran said the bruschetta is one of their best selling appetizers.
“Their service is good, they are incredibly accommodating, and they will do their absolute best to make your food for you the way you want it,” said Steve Rued-Clark, a frequent Di Lucas customer.
Di Lucas has breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus in which they offer pasta, seafood pastas, hand cut steak, homemade pizza, and house-made tiramisu for dessert. Lunch includes a soup and salad bar with hot items such as lasagna, chicken tenders, and fresh bread sticks. Customers receive free tiramisu on their birthday.
“Their soups are so good. We often say we could just go in and have soup. Then, of course, we end up trying a steak or a pasta dish or, most often, one of the day’s specials. We like that their specials are not items that are typically on the menu but created just for that evening,” said Rued-Clark.
Tuesday nights showcase a New Orleans-style menu, which includes gumbo and mussels. Cochran said that his father loves to cook that way and added that if the restaurant was not Italian it would be a New Orleans style restaurant.
Di Lucas also offers a Friday night fish fry.
“They have mentioned that many of the items on their menu can be made gluten-free. The chicken is gluten-free, and their fish can be baked or broiled. Many of the pasta dishes can be served with rice or a potato instead of the pasta,” said Rued-Clark.
When asked what he would recommend to someone who has not visited the restaurant, Cochran said, “If you want fresh good food, you’ve got to try us. If you can come try us, I know you’ll love us. You’ll never find your food sitting on a line.”
Di Lucas is located at 750 S. Central Ave. in Marshfield next to the Holiday Inn. They are open Monday – Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Di Lucas is closed from 2 – 4 p.m. daily. To learn more call 608-843-6858 or find Di Lucas on Facebook.