I've been dying to eat at Lola ever since it opened in the old Eckerd Drugs building at the corner of 11th and Yale. I'm a huge fan of "fresh, local ingredients," and I was eager to add a new restaurant to my list o' "Heights Faves."
The owner, Ken Bridge, has built his reputation through his other ventures: Pink's Pizza and Dragon Bowl Asian Bistro.
I had a hard time dragging my husband along with me because he had heard rumors that it was "overpriced." We've recently been on a frugality kick in our household, and eating out has had to take a backseat. Finally, we went out for a late lunch with our neighbors after the Heights Bicycle Rally and Scavenger Hunt, and they suggested we eat at Lola.
As soon as we walked in, we saw one of my husband's colleagues. Then we spotted one of the key players in the Dia de los Muertos celebration happening at Montie Beach Park who was sitting next to one of the fathers of a student who attends the school I work at.
Oh, how I love living in a small town!
In terms of the ambiance and decor, I appreciated the abundance of natural light streaming in from walls of windows, and I didn't mind the order-at-the-counter action.
As a vegetarian, I wasn't overly-impressed with my options, but I wasn't depressed either. I opted for the Grilled Portabella sandwich with fresh mozzarella, roma tomato, and basil. I was tempted to order the Goat Cheese Crisp Salad with honey pecan vinaigrette, but the sandwich came with "hand tossed fries." Done deal.
Our food came out quickly, and the staff was friendly and helpful.
Of course I dove into my bountiful pile of fries first. Delicious! They have an interesting sweet/salty thing going on. Very intriguing and unique.
Sadly, my sandwich wasn't particular good. In fact, the mushrooms tasted distinctly liked canned mushrooms (oddly enough), and the bread was just okay. I longed for the vegetarian sandwich on ciabatta from Onion Creek (it's cheaper and much tastier, but, alas, it comes with chips or salad instead of fries).
One of our neighbors opted for the interesting "Day After Thanksgiving" sandwich: roasted turkey, cranberry, cornbread dressing, and gravy. The other neighbor got the "Wet Roast Beef Debris" sandwich: sourdough, angus roast beef, and provolone. They both liked their sandwiches enough, but commented that they didn't quite seem worth $11.
I'm sad to say that I won't be standing on any soapboxes to champion the newest restaurant addition to our little 'hood, but I am willing to give it another try. Although $9 seems a bit pricey for a salad, the Goat Cheese Crisp Salad is calling to me, and I'm crossing my fingers that the $7 pancake plate (with any of the following toppings: banana, blueberry, strawberry, peanut butter, and candied pecans) will be delicious.
Dearest neighbors: What do you think about Lola? (Viula, I'm hoping you'll give us a review of your experience once you return from Canada!).