North Idaho

Family's restaurant gives back to those in need

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Opening a new business can be a fresh start for some people. Knowing that, one North Idaho family is now using their restaurant in Coeur d'Alene to boost those who are down on their luck.

The Grasseschi family work side by side around the clock to make Lucca's Restaurant tick. It's much like they've worked together for 28 years through  the ups and downs.

"My husband lost his job in 1993, Lockheed Missile and Space Company," Nancy Grassechi said.

Luccas restaurant

Then came the second layoff and the Grassechis moved to a campground in Illinois in the dead of winter. They moved to Hayden in 2007 for a job with Empire Airlines but Greg was laid off again because of the recession.

"Between all of that I was taking care of two young children and a mother who had a mental illness," Nancy said.

But the one thing they've always had on their side is family. Family recipes that led to a restaurant opportunity. Nancy's dad used his savings to help them launch Lucca's along with money left in the Grassechi's bank account.

So they came up with idea of a Lucca buck.

"It's to help the neighbors that are on unemployment, EBT, homeless," Nancy explained.

It acts like a voucher. The idea is the restaurant will work with different organizations in the community. Those organizations will accept donations and hand the Lucca buck to those who need it.

The people with a Lucca buck can come in and choose whatever they want on the menu as long as the voucher can pay for it. They want to do this, because this couple knows an act of kindness can go a long way.

"It's kind of contagious. You can't be selfish about these things," Greg Grassechi said.