Chef Nolan Konkoski has signed a lease to take over the former Lelolai Bakery space on West 25th Street, which recently closed after 10 years. By late summer, he and partner Molly Smith will open SoHo Kitchen and Bar, the "SoHo" being short for southern hospitality.
"Southern is a cuisine we always liked, and when we asked ourselves what the neighborhood needed, it immediately jumped out," explains Konkoski.
Billed as "New Southern" cuisine, the menu will broadly cover foods that span the South, including Low Country, Cajun, Creole, and Memphis and Texas barbecue.
"We're taking traditional southern flavors, ingredients, and recipes and dressing them up for a restaurant," says the chef. "We want to have fun with classic southern staples."
Among the dishes Nolan has in mind are honey and jalapeno-glazed St. Louis-style ribs, pan-fried chicken with sweet-potato waffles and bourbon syrup, pulled pork sandwiches, and shrimp-and-grits Caesar salads. And, of course, pimento cheese.
Plans include a better connection between the 1,200-square-foot dining room and the side patio on narrow Gould Court. A full liquor license is in the works.
Konkoski is currently the chef at Tartine Bistro in Rocky River. Before that, he was part of the culinary crew that opened Ohio City's Momocho.
"I quietly shut it down the first of the year," says Bob Holcepl, referring to the second Crêpes Deluxe location that he opened last year in the food court of the Old Arcade.
Like the original at the West Side Market, the shop sold sweet and savory crêpes for breakfast and lunch.
"We had quality-control issues," he explains. "I didn't have time to be there, and the product was well below my standards."
Holcepl is looking for another French-inspired project for the near future. — Trattner