last week was the grand opening of the latest spot in old fourth ward, ladybird grove and mess hall, and we just had to be there! i got in touch with general manager creighton mcmurray to get the deets and was quite delighted when he invited us to come on out for opening night on monday.
ladybird grove and mess hall is tucked nicely into this neighborhood, with kevin rathbun steak to its southeast and the beltline right in between the two. if it’s your first time visiting this part of town, you might be wary as your gps directs you here, for you feel as though you may be intruding upon a residential area. fear not, though, for once you get to the end of john wesley dobbs, the big ladybird sign will wave you down.
i arrived earlier than the rest of our group so that i could steal a few precious moments with the staff. creighton and i had been exchanging e-mails, and i was looking forward to meeting him. the waitress seated me and brought some water and then creighton joined me at the family style table for a quick introduction.
“so, how does it feel, now that opening day is here? did you sleep at all? are you overwhelmed?”
“actually,” creighton responded, “i’m feeling comfortably whelmed. i got a little bit of shut eye, but things are going great.” well, if that isn’t great news for a restaurant’s first night, i don’t know what is.
“i know you’re busy, but tell me a little bit about ladybird’s identity, because the web site is quite simple.”
“haha. yes, our site is a bit vague right now,” he laughs (note that it has since been updated with their menu offerings). “we want ladybird to be a laid-back place that anyone can enjoy. we’re a from-scratch kitchen making good food. we want folks to want to hop in for a burger and beer after walking their dog or going for a run.”
their location really is quite perfect for all of those things. i can see ladybird quickly becoming a must-try spot in its opening months, especially with its screened-in dining area and roomy patios. the exposed brick and carshop doors inside keep the space tall and airy, as does the wilderness murals. the whole atmosphere is something i haven’t experienced really ever, and i was definitely feeling it.
the menu caters to folks of nearly all appetites and price points. there are starters and small plates and individual meals and platters to share among friends. there’s so much to try, and you can bet that we did our fair share of tasting.