FOOD NEWS 

It took about two months of remodeling to turn the former Amber Palace on Second Street into the Big Foot Lodge. Owners Shawn and Lana Danko used timbers from Montana for the log-cabin walls, Tennessee River rock for the fireplace and stone columns, and birch bark trees from Minnesota for a room divider between the spacious dining room and bar. Stuffed game animals adorn the space, along with the restaurant's mascot, an eight-foot resin sculpture of a Sasquatch, forged in Midtown artist Yvonne Bobo's studio.

The restaurant's namesake isn't the only thing of enormous proportions. "We have a four-pound cheeseburger - 'The Sasquatch' - that is $19.95, and it comes with a pound of fries," says chef Sean Andrews, who came to Memphis from Port Lucy, Florida, where he worked as a trainer for the Olive Garden and a manager for Applebee's. "If you can finish the burger in less than 60 minutes by yourself, you get it free."

The menu also offers choices ranging from grilled ham-and-cheese and catfish to prime rib and lobster. And, of course, no wintry lodge would be complete without s'mores. Guests are served all the fixings for these tasty campfire treats and can even roast the marshmallows at their table using a Sterno flame.

This is the first restaurant for owners Shawn and Lana, although Shawn has worked 13 years at Hard Rock Café, most recently as general manager of the Beale Street location. His wife, Lana, is a sales and marketing executive for radio stations WRVR and the Buzz. After opening the first location, the couple hopes to open five more locations in the next six years.

"We thought the lodge theme would have a great appeal here in the Mid-South, where so many people spend time outdoors," Shawn says. "We wanted to create a casual dining concept that I hope will appeal to all kinds of people with a fantastic menu at a reasonable price."

The Big Foot Lodge is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Big Foot Lodge, 97 S. Second St. (578-9800)

"This will be the biggest and best Buckley's yet," says co-owner Jeff Fioranelli of the Cordova location, the fourth Buckley's since Fioranelli and his partner Kenneth Dick first opened a restaurant together 11 years ago. While the original Poplar location and Buckley's downtown have a traditional atmosphere with warm rich wood, the partners are trying something new in Cordova. The restaurant, scheduled to open after July 4th, is brighter and more open with dividers offering more private dining for some of the tables.

"It's going to be quite different," says Fioranelli. "It's going to be contemporary. We're going to use this as a model for future locations. We're looking for a style of our own. Our other locations are somewhat traditional. We just wanted to go with an updated look."

They have also updated the children's menu for a broader appeal to the family market and added a to-go entrance for takeout.

"We're trying to make the place a combination," says Fioranelli. "Buckley's is often perceived as a date restaurant. We're trying to make this Buckley's a place that appeals to [daters] as well as families."

Buckley's Fine Filet Grill will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 9:30 Sunday through Thursday and until 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Buckley's Fine Filet Grill, 714 N. Germantown Parkway (756-1639)

After months of renovation and expansion, Miss Cordelia's Grocery in Harbor Town is ready to unveil the changes with a grand opening celebration July 1st from 3 to 10 p.m. The day's events will feature live jazz performances by Ron Shorr, Pete Vescovo, and Friends, a wine obstacle race, activities for the kids, and tours of the store. And, of course, there will be samples from the new dine-in deli, Miss Cordelia's Table, from the expanded wine and beer section, and from many products offered in the neighborhood grocery. There will be door prizes ranging for $100 gift certificates to tickets to area events and gift baskets.

Miss Cordelia's is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Cordelia's Table kitchen is open until 9 p.m. n

Miss Cordelia's Grocery, 737 Harbor Bend Road (526-4772)

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