The new Lex 18 moonshine bar and restaurant held a soft opening on Thursday night. Here’s a quick review.
The space has the feel of an old speakeasy/bar, which is a nod to its history as the Eureka Saloon speakeasy decades ago, one of the owners, Georgia Malki, told me. There’s an upright piano in one corner, an incredible tin ceiling, patterned wallpaper harkening back to the 1920s, and a dark bar, tables and chairs. The feel is designed to be welcoming to a little bit older set that sometimes gets overlooked on the downtown scene, Malki said. She envisions a variety of entertainment, from ragtime to
It all came together in three weeks, when the former restaurant, Bobo Pho closed down and work began. The Lex 18 crew – Malki, her brother Joseph, her husband and one other partner – connected with Bobo Pho’s Suwanna Cry and brought her aboard, as well. It’s been a flurry of nonstop activity since, Georgia Malki said.
Malki ran the Asheville-based company Seven Star Events for years, but after it was sold last year, she decided to move on. A restaurant and bar was a perfect outlet for her, Malki said.
Lex 18 will serve moonshine flights, and on Thursday, here were their offerings, all mixed with Troy and Sons moonshine:
-Cucumber Moon: mulled cucumber and lime, organic cane syrup
-Moon Over Bangkok: Vanilla-infused Thai black tea
-White Shine: Creamy coffee liquer
On the restaurant side, things were a little hectic, Malki said. The Lex 18 folks brought aboard a new chef just two days ago. Jason Treadway was night manager at White Duck Taco and has worked as executive chef at the Princess Anne, Malki said. He put together a menu that focused on comfort food, Malki said.
The offerings coming out of the kitchen included chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, vegetarian (and meaty) mac ‘n cheese, and more. Malki said the food is affordably priced – the shrimp and grits goes for $13, and a nicoise salad for $14, she said.