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I checked in with Craig Hofman this week. He's a super nice guy with an interesting story.
His parents founded Hof's Hut in the 1950's. He ran the business for years, but knew the end was near for the traditional coffee shop. He kept trying new concepts until one stuck: Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-b-cue.
He now has eight Lucille's, and they average about $8.5 million in annual sales per restaurant - pretty impressive volumes in the restaurant business. Hofman's opening two to three new restaurants a year.
In December, he opened a location in Lake Forest at The Orchard shopping center on El Toro Road. The District at Tustin Legacy location, pictured here, opened May 30. He said business has been booming.
"There was a pent up demand for us that I didn't realize was there," he said. "We have our location in Brea, but it wasn't in South Orange County enough."
He was attracted to his location at The District because of the movie theater, the big box stores behind Lucille's, and the offices nearby that can support lunch. There are also 4,600 new homes on the way.
Does Hofman have plans for any more Orange County Lucille's?
"Not on the near horizon," he said. "But if a nice center pops up I'd take a look at it."
Brea: 1639 E. Imperial Highway (714) 990-4944
Lake Forest: 23760 El Toro Road (949) 581-7427
Tustin: 2550 Park Avenue (714) 259-1227