Ten months ago, local fried-fish mogul Lutfi Khalifa opened his flagship restaurant, his biggest venue to date, at 3037 Main. Two months ago, Khalifa moved his East Side location at 5932 Prospect into a shiny storefront in the newly remodeled Pener Plaza shopping development on 63rd Street (1664 East 63rd Street, 816-363-0040). The place has been doing a boom business since he opened his doors.
Pener Plaza, formerly the 50-year-old Metro Plaza, was given a long-overdue revamping last year by new owners Barry and David Pener. The Metro Thriftway was given an impressive remodeling, and a Dollar Tree store was added to the retail mix. A longtime restaurant tenant, China King, is still operating, but the Lutfi's - which offers both eat-in dining and carryout - is new.
The walls in the new restaurant are painted a vibrant orange, and the venue specializes in cornmeal-dusted fried catfish, whiting and tilapia served as inexpensive meals with bread or sweet-potato muffins or as a complete meal - either $8.39 for a half-pound of fish or $12.59 for a full pound - served with a choice of side dishes including greens, spaghetti, red beans and rice, potato salad, fried okra, french fries, and green beans. An excellent macaroni and cheese is offered for a small upcharge.
The new Lutfi's is open seven days a week and serves from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday though Thursday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.