The Glass Hat’s Cafe’s social media is up, and the countdown to the opening of the new eatery at 423 Crockett Street is on. The restaurant is looking to hire a couple more waitstaff and a busser, but other than that, manager Ann Lombardino is ready to go.
If only the cooler were, too. Lombardino is used to the uncertainty of the restaurant business, and good thing she is. The Glass Hat’s cooler went on the fritz and the part needed is on back order. Without a cooler, food can’t be kept at the legal temperature, and the health license can’t be issued. Ann says she has told everyone this is a 911 emergency and she HOPES that the cooler will be back up, food will come in and the license will be in hand in early June.
It’s said that good things come to those who wait, and we know The Glass Hat Cafe is going to be a good thing!
The restaurant is new, but old, in a building that is old, but new. How is this possible?? Read on for the story—
Some local are familiar with the stories of The Glass Hat Cocktail Lounge and Grill that opened in 1937 at the corner of Marshall and Crockett Streets.
The restaurant sported a ‘smart, new’ interior, live cocktail music, a singing Master of Ceremonies, free cocktails each day at 5:15 pm and a free cocktail party each week at which guests were always encouraged to ‘drink another.’ One ad touted ‘Glass Hat bartenders served hundreds of free Scotch and Sodas at last week’s party…they are ready to serve even more Old Fashions and Bourbon and Sodas Thursday from 5:15 until 5:45 o’clock…’ No wonder it was a popular spot!
In January 1938, the Glass Hat’s ‘Extraordinary Announcement Concerning Fried Chicken’ ad reminds customers that a famous chef imported from Dallas to Shreveport was cooking up the ‘finest and best chicken dinners possible.’ It wasn’t always about free liquor and fried chicken, though. A dice operator at the Glass Hat was arrested in a raid and charged with operating an illegal gambling game and the lounge was sued after using popular songs without copyright permission. By 1939, The Glass Hat was gone, taking their chicken and cocktails with them as they moved to 323 Texas Street.
While the current Glass Hat Café at 423 Crockett Street will not (at least for now) feature a singing master of ceremonies, it does feature a manager with a beautifully Scottish brogue with the not-so-Scottish name of Ann Lombardino.
Though Ann does not plan to serve up free cocktails during happy hour, she will serve up some remarkably good breakfast and lunch dishes once open. She is also excited about a baker on staff and after the soft opening during Artwalk, so are we.
The melt-in-your-mouth cookies they were serving (a buttery shortbread with strawberry preserves) were out of this world delicious, as was the house coffee and jalapeno lemonade. Ann confirms that desserts on the menu will be crowd pleasers and she also hopes to add a bakery case for stop and go cookies and other fresh-from-the-oven items.
Plans now are for the restaurant to be open Monday-Friday, 7 am- 2 pm; the menu, that she says will be filled with Southern favorites, is being tweaked and will be dropping soon.
It was not always a given that the space would be an homage to the original Glass Hat Café. Early in the renovations, the investors were leaning toward naming the space the Crockett Street Café as a way to both pinpoint its location and to recall Shreveport’s Texas roots. Once it was discovered that the Glass Hat had occupied the building next door, all that changed.
While The Glass Hat Cafe restaurant furniture and kitchen components are new, there are parts of the old that remain. There is a single, small window on the east wall of the building that you can see from the parking lot.
The window, which is odd in its placement in that it is the ONLY one on the entire wall, is there so the early owners did not have to fill in a large hole made by bandits attempting to steal tobacco when the building was the U. Koen & Co. Wholesale Cigars. In 1944 Koen moved out, and later came Riley’s Engineering Supplies, Ridgway’s Blueprints, Interstate Blood, and the final business before rehab, The Bus Depot snack shop, which closed in 2019.
We invite you to relive a bit of history and visit The Glass Hat, On Set Photography and the other businesses of 425, 429 and 431 Crockett Street. As soon as an opening date for the restaurant is set, we will let you know!