Spending Mother’s Day weekend in Old Town Bay St. Louis has become something of a tradition for many families across the region. Mom gets spoiled during an afternoon and evening during the Second Saturday Artwalk. She’s treated to live music, gallery openings, shop specials, all in a festive historic atmosphere.
Sunday brunch/lunch can be enjoyed at one of Old Town’s restaurants, ranging from casual fun to elegant dining. The afternoon is spent strolling along the beachfront, or feeding the geese at the duck pond or lounging on the porches of family or friends.
Choosing a special gift for mom becomes simple during the Artwalk. When she admires something, sneak back and buy it, then watch her face light up with surprise the next day. She’ll have plenty to choose from. Old Town features dozens of galleries, boutiques and antique stores.
The Second Saturday festivities also feature two businesses each month. For May, the Hot Spot light falls on The French Potager (213 Main Street), and Lulu’s (126 Main Street).
The French Potager
Second Saturday column
Lulu's on Main Street
126 Main Street
For starters, since Sunday brunch and evening meals have been added, the name has changed from “Lulu’s What’s For Lunch” to “Lulu’s On Main.” The Jazz Brunch is already in full swing, feeding folks from 10:30am – 3:30pm on Sundays. Favorite coast performer Bobby Allison will be performing for each brunch in the month of May.
Then starting in June, the restaurant will add dinner service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The dining area, once intertwined through the rambling Maggie May’s art gallery (126 Main Street), now gives diners a choice between high-ceiling rooms lined with original paintings, or a roomy (and bug free) screened-in porch. No one’s going to be bumping elbows in either area.
Even the kitchen has grown, from a cramped room to a spacious state-of-the-art chef’s dream.
In fact, this all is a dream, one that Nancy Moynan’s been nurturing for decades.
“It’s been my dream and my passion and finally I’m living it,” says the chef. “All I’ve ever wanted is a place where the food, the service and the ambiance combine to give diners an outstanding experience.”
Moynan grew up trailing her grandmother and mother around the kitchen, watching, learning, tasting. She says they were her biggest influences and she still cooks by smelling.
“If it smells like my mom’s and grandma’s food, it’s good.”
That variety is one reason Moynan’s popular “Lulu’s What’s For Lunch” gourmet boxed lunches instantly became a hit in New Orleans. She took orders and delivered to lawyers, business people and shop owners who couldn’t go out for a mid-day meal.
Making the move to the coast in 2003 seemed part of a natural progression, since Moynan family had been coming over to the Bay-Waveland area since her childhood. Although she lost both her Waveland and New Orleans homes in Hurricane Katrina, she purchased the building at 126 Main Street in 2007. Maggie May’s Art and Gift Gallery and Lulu’s What’s For Lunch shared the space for the past eight years.
As a noted Old Town anchor that led the Bay recovery efforts, Moynan’s twin businesses were recognized in 2009 as Hancock Chamber Bay Business of the Year. Then in 2010, the Mississippi Main Street Association named her Merchant of the Year.
But the entrepreneur is hardly one to rest on her laurels. The new configuration of 126 Main has consolidated art and retail in the front of the 5300 square foot building, while Moynan has spread her wings in the back.
The menu’s taking flights of fancy too, with tantalizing dishes like Redfish Florentine. It features fresh gulf redfish, seared and served with a creamy spinach Madeleine, sautéed mushrooms and artichoke hearts and two poached eggs. The whole seductive dish is covered in a homemade hollandaise sauce.
The new evening menu will be an “inspired blend” of Creole, Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Even vegetarians will find delightful options. Loyal fans of Lulu’s lunch will still find the Chicken Salad, Eggplant Panini and the Roast Beef Po’ Boy - that many believe is the best on the coast.
Moynan says that after she moved to the Bay full time, she’d still drive back into New Orleans for the perfect roast beef po’ boy. Finally her mother pointed out the obvious.
“She asked why didn’t I put one on my own menu,” she says, laughing. “It’s been a hit ever since.”
Moynan invites new customers and long-time fans in to check out the changes.
Come and feel the love and passion that I have for food,” she says. “You’ll go home tasting the flavors of the Bay.”