Denied by lending institutions because his felony convictions made him an unsuitable risk, Lutz pled his case publicly through a crowd-funding campaign—and came out a big winner.
With a “predominantly local response” from his Collingswood patrons, the chef exceeded his goal by nearly $10,000, with some additional donations coming from offline contributions as well.
Lutz said he was “overwhelmed with the support we received from our customers.
“All I can say is stay tuned because it’s going to be spectacular," he said. “I’m going to bring Collingswood dining to a whole new level.
“The first time the new people are going to come in because they said ‘this guy finished his motif,’” Lutz said, “and then they’re going to come back because the food is off the board.”
With the funding boost, Lutz said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that Kitchen Consigliere will make an Oct. 11 launch date in its new location at the corner of Haddon and Collings Avenues.
That will give the restaurateur a month to work out the kinks before a gala celebrating his third anniversary on November 12—and his fiftieth birthday.
When asked how he felt having such milestones seemingly in alignment, Lutz quipped, “a lot better than I felt 10 years ago.
“I turned 40 in jail,” he said wryly.
Lutz, who has traded on his criminal background—nine years in federal prison for racketeering, gambling, and extortion—in the branding of his restaurant, said that his history is “a constant reminder,” especially when he was denied by lending institutions while attempting to finance his expansion.
“My past is always going to be there,” Lutz said; “I don’t make it dictate who I become, but I always make it a part of what I become.
“There’s a lot of wasted talent, and I guess I kind of proved it,” he said.On the other hand, he says, “I got here, didn’t I?”