A Decade of Decadence at Lulu’s

Time flies when you are having fun, no?

For all the talking 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 and Rye or Atlantic or The Grey or Le Cafe Gourmet that opens in Savannah, there are a number of others who 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, Junior Blvd, the ladies behind Lulu’s Chocolate Bar are joining that club. They are doing so with big ol’ celebration and they’d like to you join them. More on that in a minute.

“It really has been a blur.” says Janine Finn, who along with Rebecca Raodvich 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.” she says. “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 their location. There weren’t a lot of locals who would feel entirely comfortable walking down MLK Junior Blvd at the time. There wasn’t a whole lot over there. “10 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, 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.” she adds. “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.

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 juke box and started doing their Teletubbies dance.” Of course, I had to ask. 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 on Monday, May 22nd. They are inviting anyone who would like to join them for a 10 year celebration from 5pm until 9pm. “We’ve invited a lot of former employees to come back and just have fun with us.” 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, Junior Blvd. One of their two locations they have now. Lulu Cakes is located in Midtown Savannah and largely serves as production facility and wedding cake studio, with each of them 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.

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Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.