London Grille Days
For some, home is a place; for others it is the people they love; some remember home through their traditions and holidays. My life, my memories have been one continuous feast filled with memories of delicious food.
Mt Lebanon was my first home away from home with my husband, James. Honestly, I have moved so many times I often wonder for me, where is home? I soon realized home is not a place but home is connections to others.
Often those connections were through my many waitress jobs through the years. I started waitressing in college to have a flexible job to free up my time for musical theatre. Waitressing was a fast way to make cash in the many cities I moved to.
Moving away from Cleveland was not easy. I was incredibly homesick and I missed home-cooked meals. Soon, we were planning a wedding that needed funding, so I took a position at a restaurant in the Galleria.
The London Grille was an English Pub style restaurant owned by Louis Bucci. There were two dining rooms—one served casual fare and the second dining room in the back was fine dining. Servers dressed in black bow ties and red vests dished out shepherds pies, prime rib with the best horseradish sauce my taste buds ever had the pleasure of sampling; turkey clubs piled high on flaky croissants and Pittsburgh-style salads topped with a mound of crispy French fries and a ton of ranch dressing. Food that stuck to my ribs and my memories. It was that good.
I’ve worked in many restaurants in my day, and it’s usually the people I remember. The London Grille was no exception, everyone made me feel at home in my brand-new city. The London Grille closed in 2002. Mr. Bucci’s latest venture, Tartine, is a French café in the West End.
Mr. Bucci, I cannot forget your artichoke dip. Since my days working at the London Grill I have lived in Connecticut, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston; but I can’t get your artichoke dip out of my head. I am on a quest to recreate it for my vegan lifestyle but that means I need a recipe. No artichoke dip has ever come close to the culinary masterpiece as yours was.
A memory of wonderful food brought me back to my early days of my life with my husband James, living in a humble apartment on Poplar Avenue. Those were simpler times.
Julia Child once said Life itself is the proper binge.
I couldn’t agree more, Julia. Thank you, Mr. Bucci and the London Grille, for being a part of my comfort food memories. Please send me your recipe. I’ve been waiting 20 years.
Redolent memories of times passed never leave our olfactory senses. We share in food and family. This article perfectly captures the sentiment of finding a connection with a place, its cuisine and the people we meet while traveling through. Hopefully that elusive recipe will find its way back to you!