Fresh ingredients, a creative menu, upbeat hometown atmosphere and a sunny attitude keep customers coming back again and again to Lulu's on Main.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
A farewell letter from owner Nancy Moynan - Lulu's last lunch will be served September 12, 2020
When I purchased 126 Main St thirteen years ago, I became the guardian of a massive retail space and art gallery. Eleven years ago, Lulu Eats and Entertains gourmet retailer became Lulu's "What's For Lunch?" My vision has always been to provide a unique and casual space for folks to lunch and shop. Lulu''s has thrived in being your spot to meet family, friends and coworkers for lunch and brunch and it has been my pleasure to share my love and passion for cooking with you.
Lately I have felt a bit of a tug on my belt loop that quite suddenly untied my heartstrings. After a thoughtful process I allowed myself to realize that the time is now, the time is now for a new chapter in my life, the time is now to, perhaps finish writing Lulu's cookbook, the time is now for a new guardian of 126 Main St.
I hope you savor the flavor of Lulu's in your memory and keep warm thoughts of me, Cyndi "Lulu", Regina and Lizetta.
If you were one of the many generous friends who have a special place in my heart and a plate with your name on it now you can take your plate home and make a new memory for it... to all of you, I thank you kindly.
Our last day for lunch will be Saturday, September 12. So we'd love to see you before then for lunch and you may want to buy the table and chairs, china, etc.
It has truly been my pleasure,
The setting at 126 Main Street just off Beach Boulevard is inviting, dynamic and appealing to shoppers who enjoy making their way through the historic building checking out the ever changing creations and merchandise.
Diners can choose to sit in the dining room, also art filled, or opt for a table on the adjacent screened porch, cooled by breezes off the water.
Nancy, whose resume includes cooking in the kitchen of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, prepares traditional Southern food as well as Continental cuisine, all bundled up into a casual coastal dining experience. Nancy also learned cooking from her mother and grandmother, so that adds an extra dimension to LuLu’s dishes.
Consider Lulu’s Jazz Brunch menu available on Sundays. Redfish Florentine pairs pan fried Gulf fish and creamy Spinach Madeleine. Cheese grits are topped with tender grillades or large BBQ shrimp. Pain Perdu comes in a silky version or Nancy’s own twist, served with golden fried chicken tenders. There’s more tradition found in the desserts: Betty’s Bread Pudding and Bananas Foster to name just two choices.
Breakfast and lunch offerings are all prepared to order.
“I have a fixed menu - all the hot, delicious sellers like pear pecan salad, and specials every week - whatever’s fresh, whatever I feel like. Or I might do a different take on a popular special,” she said. On a recent week the special was Oysters Rockefeller Quesadillas.
Nancy’s corn and crab bisque and portobello mushroom with baby spinach soup are always popular items, as is her “debris” stuffed roast beef poboys, and chicken salad. Those items never change. “You can come in 10 years from now and taste the same flavors,” she said.
Also among the favorites is Nancy’s homemade, all natural ingredient ice cream, made in small batches every day, and not just in summertime.
Nancy maintains her passion for cooking, preparing all meals to order and with attention to ingredients and tradition. “If it smells like my mom’s and grandma’s food, it’s gotta be good,” she says, promising diners will leave Lulu’s having tasted the flavors of the Bay and her native New Orleans.
Nancy’s creativity doesn’t stop in the kitchen. After Hurricane Katrina, she turned muddy streets into a delicious event: the SOUPer Mudfest on the Second Saturday Artwalk in March. This will be the ninth edition of the fest, and about 1,000 people are expected to join the festivities.
For $20, participants can buy a soup bowl crafted by local potters and enjoy a succession of soup servings throughout Old Town at dozens of businesses. Past favorites have been tomato basil and corn and crab bisque among other tasty soups. Lines always form at the tent on Main at Second Street where hundreds of bowls will be sold.
All money collected from the sale of the bowls goes to the potters, Old Town Merchants’ Association, the Hancock County Food Pantry and Hancock County’s tourism board.
On LuLu’s Facebook page, there are photos of Nancy at the stove, clearly enjoying the cooking. “I love it,” she said. “What makes it enjoyable to me is having people come back and relive memories that they had of eating my food.”