Bob Lucas, owner of long-running Camden institution Donkey's Place, died Friday at the age of 75 following a battle with lung cancer. The bar was opened in 1943 by Lucas's parents (it's named after his father, Leon "Donkey" Lucas, a former boxer), and is famous for one cult-status specialty, an exemplary cheesesteak served on a poppy-seed kaiser roll. Funeral services will take place this Saturday in Camden.
Speaking to the Courier-Post, his son, Robert Lucas, Jr., said he will keep Donkey's Place going and that customers shouldn't expect any major changes, but that "he's considering the return of a take-out window." (Sibling spot Donkey's Too, in Medford, NJ, is operated by another of Lucas's sons.)
Earlier this year, Anthony Bourdain highlighted Donkey's on an episode of Parts Unknown, famously stating that "the best cheesesteak in the area might well come from New Jersey" and that the sandwich "should be a national landmark." Robert Jr. noted to the Courier-Post that the impact of that television appearance on business has been "huge." Here again is the video clip, featuring Lucas Sr. behind his bar: