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At new restaurant, you can have your steak and cook it, too

Posted on Friday August 09, 2019
Lot 88 Grand Opening
On hand Tuesday for the grand opening of Lot 88 Kitchen and Bar were, from left, server Desiree Wilman, Coun. Rob Kloostra, Mayor Steve Clarke, owner John Law, general manager Jay Haynes, Coun. Mason Ainsworth, Coun. David Campbell and host Rebecca Parsons. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

A restaurant owner inspired by a practice that’s popular in Europe has brought that culinary experience to Orillia.

John Law recently opened Lot 88 Kitchen and Bar at 294 Memorial Ave., in the former home of Pizza Hut. Staff will cook customers’ steaks to their liking, if that’s what they choose, but diners can also take their meat matters into their own hands.

They can have their steak brought to their tables on a lava rock grill — something that intrigued Law when he was in Europe. It is cooked blue when it arrives and customers can slice it up and cook it however they like it.

“It’s tasty and you control how it’s cooked,” Law said, noting the rock grill stays hot for more than an hour, allowing people to take their time while eating. “Every bite is hot, from the beginning to the end.”

He said at least 90 per cent of his customers at his other Lot 88 locations — in Sudbury, North Bay and Winnipeg — opt for the rock grill “because it’s an experience.”

Law owns plenty of restaurants, including Montana’s and Kelsey’s in Orillia, and he wanted to bring Lot 88 to town, too.

“This is about trying to build the brand,” he said, noting he hopes to expand Lot 88 in other cities.

In its other locations, Lot 88 is referred to as a “steakhouse.” While steak is the main attraction, the Orillia restaurant is known as a “kitchen and bar” because Law wants to showcase its other specialties, including chicken parm, pastas and salads.

“We use everything high-end,” he explained. “We provide good-quality food.”

A grand opening for the Orillia location was held Tuesday, when guests were able to sample some of the food and cook their own steaks at their tables.

Lot 88 in Orillia is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.

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