Luke’s Icehouse Mid-County adds modern twist to Texas tradition

photo by Kevin King

Icehouses are a Texas tradition. With origins dating back to the Civil War, they were originally used to store and distribute blocks of ice but began offering beer and other goods that needed to be kept cold, according to the Institute of Texan Cultures. Events were even hosted around massive tables built of ice.

While the open-air icehouse isn’t a new idea, Luke’s Icehouse Mid-County definitely has added a modern twist to an age-old concept.

Luke’s waitresses use tablets to take orders, and the bar features a next-gen TouchTunes jukebox that can be accessed by customers from their smart phones. HD flat screen televisions can be seen throughout Luke’s to catch your favorite soccer or baseball game and will be showing the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in August.

To help its patrons beat the summer heat, Luke’s recently added a misting system for its outdoor patio, which also features domino and Jenga tables and fire pits to gather around for nice conversation.

Luke’s opened its 1039 Nederland Ave. location in December 2015 with the customer in mind.

“We had a lot of regulars from the Mid-County area that would drive to Luke’s in Beaumont,” said Jeff Rios, general manager of Luke’s Icehouse Mid-County. “It only made sense to open a Luke’s in Nederland.”

There are daily drink and food specials with the patrons in mind, as well. Mondays, chicken fried steak is $10 all day and Texas vodka is on special at $4 from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. Tuesday brings taco and margarita specials, and Dos Equis and Shiner draft deals. Wednesdays, customers can get a 12-once ribeye steak and loaded baked potato for $13.99, and select Texas whiskeys are $4 from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. There is also a trivia game for the “geeks who drink” at 8 p.m. And Thursdays bring two-for-one burgers from 5-9 p.m., $4 Texas pints from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. and $12 Lone Star Buckets from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Luke’s offers live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as well.

And for those who have too much fun, a hangover brunch from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays with $4 Bloody Marys, mimosas and sangria, and $12 Lone Star Buckets might be just what is needed to regroup.

“We cater to everybody,” Rios said, adding that there are 18 different beers on tap and the Luke-A-Rita with El Jimador is a must try.

And there is plenty of room for parties, corporate get-togethers and more. To reserve room, call Jarrod Glowacki at (832) 691-3737. Unlike many bar and grills, Luke’s takes its food seriously. In fact, families come to Luke’s just to eat before the 9 p.m. cutoff, when the bar is only open to those 21 and up.

And even though crawfish season is officially over and the ever-so-popular crawfish and bucket of beer for $19.99 will no longer be available, there are plenty of great dishes prepared by Chef John Satcher to choose from.

The 12-ounce ribeye and loaded baked potato with Texas Toast is a solid choice. The steak is USDA choice, juicy and will fill your plate and your belly. Nothing imitation here, it’s one of the best steaks we have had in quite some time. We paired it with a Hopadillo IPA draft beer to complement the steak’s savory flavor.

The Luke’s Burger comes with a thick beef patty with Swiss and cheddar and is topped off with two apple wood bacon slices and comes on a sourdough bun. The burger goes well with the Cajun-seasoned steak fries that are worthy of an order alone.

Although you might not think wings when you think Luke’s, you will once you try them. These traditional wings are available in both hot and not — for chili heads and mild wing lovers alike. And a head’s up – you can order “to-go wings.”

And for those who just can’t  seem to make up their minds, the sampler platter is made just for you. It comes with a huge assortment of finger foods including nachos, wings, mozzarella cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers and more.

With this kind of food, spirits and service, it’s safe to say Luke’s Icehouse Mid-County will be a popular hangout for years to come.