Cooper Street will soon fea- ture a Celtic Crossing. That's the new name Josephine "Jo" Delahunty has planned for the Glass Onion, which will continue to operate until it can be turned into an Irish pub in early June.
"We're doing a gradual transition until we're ready to open," Delahunty says. "Until then, we're going to keep the Glass Onion menu."
Delahunty and her partners already have expanded the patio area, where they're considering having live entertainment. Irish music will be playing inside, and they may bring in pipers for the grand opening.
"We're trying to create a true authentic Irish pub with a homey atmosphere with rich woods and a big fireplace a solid, earthy feel," Delahunty says. "Two lads who have designed pubs in Ireland and in America -- including the James Joyce Pub in Chicago -- will bring bric-a-brac, pictures, and even a bar from Ireland."
Delahunty was born in County Laois in the Irish Midlands. Since coming to Memphis, this popular waitress, who's well known for her gregariousness and curly red hair, worked at Kudzu's for almost a decade and then at Dan McGuinness for three years.
"I've always wanted to open up me own pub," she says. "We're going to change the menu completely. We're going to have shepherd's pie, corn beef and cabbage, and boxty, a potato pancake stuffed with vegetables. We're planning to do really strong lunches. Lunch was kind of slow at the Glass Onion, so we're going to have a variety of sandwiches."
Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to about 11 p.m. or midnight. The bar will be open until 3 a.m. daily. Bar manager David Laird says he's planning to add more Irish beers, whiskies, and bourbons, and an Irish vodka called Boru.
If the scents wafting out of Tom Lee Park during this weekend's Memphis in May Barbecue Cooking Contest aren't enough to tempt you, visit Lawry's Live demonstration tent for some interactive fun. You can sniff oxygen scented with garlic and barbecue at the Aroma Bar or the kids can try tongue-painting to learn how taste buds work. There's also "Feel Factor," where visitors try to guess what they're touching while blindfolded.
Lawry's also will host cooking demonstrations with "Dr. BBQ" Ray Lampe and Rick Browne, host of the TV show Barbecue America. In addition, visitors can cast votes in Lawry's People's Choice Awards or take a guided tour of three top cooking teams with the Cooker Caravan.
And don't forget to Battle to the Bone at Frank's Red Hot Hot Wings Eating Contest, sponsored by Cattlemen's Barbecue Sauce at 4:30 p.m. Friday on the main stage.
While you're hanging out downtown, you might want to have a seat at Lolo's Table, located where Aristi's used to be at 126 Madison.
Lee Holliday left McEwen's on Monroe, where he worked for about five years, to open the bistro. Holliday says Mac Edwards, owner of McEwen's, supports the move. Another downtown restaurant, Stella, also was opened by a former McEwen's staffer.
But where McEwen's focuses on Southern fare and Stella specializes in fusion, Holliday and his partner Eric Bush have created a menu influenced by southern Europe.
"The fusion thing has been done, and we wanted to do something different, with a little flair -- no Southern and definitely no Asian," Holliday says. "The menu is low-country European with Tuscan influences and a little Spanish and French."
The menu offers a mix of sandwiches, salads, and grilled entrées, such as the "coquilles à la nage," sea scallops caramelized with sautéed capellini and a tomato-saffron broth.
Holliday also is trying to keep prices low: "So many people live in this neighborhood, we wanted a place people could come to once or twice a week, rather than once a month."
Lolo's Table has been open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. since March. The restaurant recently expanded its hours to offer dinner Monday through Saturday.
As for the name of the restaurant, Holliday only had to look across the table at his wife Lori, whose sisters nicknamed her Lolo when they were kids. •