Time flies when you're having fun, no?
For all the talk we do about shiny new pennies in Savannah - and there are a lot of them - it's easy to lose track of the tried and true. I don't have any problem admitting that.
For every Cotton & Rye or Atlantic or The Grey or Le CafÃ© Gourmet that opens in Savannah, there are a number of others that have held down the fort, if you will, allowing Savannah's food scene to evolve into what it is becoming here in 2017.
A couple of months ago, we were reminded that the guys at Circa 1875 on Whitaker Street are celebrating their 10th year in Savannah. Pat and Jennifer McNamara are doing the same over at Noble Fare. Meanwhile, over on MLK, the ladies behind Lulu's Chocolate Bar are joining that club. They are doing so with big ol' celebration and they'd like you to join them. More on that in a minute.
"It really has been a blur," says Janine Finn, who along with Rebecca Radovich opened Lulu's 10 short years ago. "I can still remember our first day like it was yesterday, though. We tried a practice run and everything went wrong.
"Our friend Kelvin snuck in before we were ready and talked us into selling him a lemon tart. He was our first customer."
Since that day where "everything went wrong" one could argue that everything has gone right. The idea to open a dessert bar serving sweets and cocktails was new to this city, but caught on rather quickly. The only question at the time, maybe, was the location. There aren't a lot of locals who would feel entirely comfortable walking down MLK Boulevard at the time. There wasn't a whole lot over there.
"Ten years ago, you only came over here if you wanted somewhere to park," says Finn.
That isn't entirely true. Lulu's Chocolate Bar has become a staple in Savannah. Tourists make sure they find them, and the locals know all about them. Lulu's is unique in that it could be perfect for a cocktail before dinner or a spot to satisfy that sweet tooth afterward.
On the surface, there's a perfect partnership. Janine largely oversees the business side of their operation. Rebecca is the baker. Obviously they don't do it all by themselves anymore, but that was the idea when they decided to go for it.
"I wouldn't have lasted a year on my own," Rebecca says. "We had to bartend and work on the business and do everything. We didn't know if it would work only opening at night, but the back-up plan at the beginning was to open in the morning and sell bagels or something if the chocolate bar concept didn't work."
It has worked just fine.
With a lot of memories in 10 years, they admit they aren't big on any celebrity sightings. They know Usher has been there (they didn't see him, they were told) and a number of other actors have rolled through. But the one time they admit to being star-struck?
"The cast of 'Teletubbies' came in after a performance at the civic center." Rebecca says "They downloaded some music on the jukebox and started doing their Teletubbies dance."
Of course, I had to ask, and no, they weren't in costume. Talk about selfies for the ages.
Plans for 10 more years? Sure, why not? Those plans start with a party. They are inviting anyone who would like to join them, including former employees, for a celebration from 5-9 p.m. May 22. They will be giving away some Lulu's prizes and just throwing a big ol' party.
Beyond that, same as it ever was at 42 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., which is one of two locations they have now. Lulu Cakes is located in midtown Savannah and largely serves as a production facility and wedding cake studio, with each owner holding down the fort at one location or the other.
They say they opened as best friends and remain so today.
"We only get one day together," Janine says. "So there isn't a lot of time to spend time together. We do travel together. We try to hang as much as possible."
"Janine has a pool," Rebecca says. "We like to hang there." Of course they do.
See you on TV,