After running a restaurant in New Orleans for the last 15 years, Toby DeVore and his wife Lisa returned to Lodi to open a new restaurant: Bubbles & Birds.

“This is kind of a homecoming for us,” said Toby, a Tokay High School graduate.

The couple had planned on opening a wine bar when they first moved to New Orleans, said native Stocktonian Lisa, but quickly learned that they would have to open a full restaurant in order to obtain the necessary liquor license.

“We went in with intentions of being a wine bar, and ended up becoming a restaurant,” Lisa said.

Their new restaurant, located at 117 W. Elm St., will feature a wide selection of Champagnes, sparkling wines and other wines, according to Toby, an advanced sommelier. The food menu will include chicken, duck, quail and pheasant.

“Just different bird-type things,” Toby said.

According to Lisa, Bubbles & Birds’ name and menu choices were inspired by a pairing that became popular at their New Orleans restaurant: Fried chicken and champagne.

“We will have a lot of New Orleans influence to our menu, because of our time spent there,” Lisa said.

With chandeliers already installed and lounge chairs being placed on the floor, Toby hopes the restaurant will become a popular destination for date nights and girls’ nights out.

“We want a really nice outside so you’ll be able to dine al fresco,” Toby said.

They also plan to offer weekend brunches and screen old black-and-white movies, Lisa said, in addition to being an option for late-night dining.

“We do look forward to having live music, eventually,” Lisa said.

Bubbles & Birds will also offer flights of wine, inspired by their experience running a wine bar in Napa Valley, where Toby said guests can sample both local and international varietals.

“Our goal is at least a soft opening in two weeks, and a grand opening maybe a month after that,” Toby said on Thursday.

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