Out of all the restaurants readers have been asking me about over the past month, one has received far more inquiries than all the rest combined.
“When in the world is Lola’s going to reopen,” many have been pressing. “Or [gulp] is it?”
Folks got a little worried when the popular South Hills pizza bistro didn’t reopen after outdoor dining halted by the COVID-19 pandemic was allowed to resume, and then stayed shuttered when indoor dining opened back up, as well.
Many feared the worst, but those worries were unfounded. The restaurant just took advantage of the down time to do some maintenance, cleaning and remodeling.
Lola’s reopened its doors Tuesday to the cheers of adoring fans throughout the area, myself included.
IF YOU GO: Lola’s, 1038 Bridge Road, will be open from 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 304-343-5652, visit www.lolaswv.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.
On a related note, a new healthy cafe run by the original creator and owner of Lola’s also opened this week in downtown Charleston.
After previously selling her successful neighborhood restaurant on Bridge Road, Cary Charbonniez is getting back into the restaurant game with Coco’s Kitchen & Café, located in the old Merrill Photo Supply storefront next to Ivor’s Trunk, on Hale Street.
The new spot will offer a variety of fresh and healthy breakfast and lunch items, along with smoothies and grab-and-go items for customers on the run.
I drove by this week to check the place out and it looks awesome inside, with a dozen tables and a sofa area complemented by the original tile floor, colorful art lining the walls, and new lighting suspended from an exposed black ceiling.
Add another spot to my growing restaurant hit list.
IF YOU GO: Coco’s Kitchen & Café, 233 Hale St., will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday for dine-in, takeout or curbside pickup. For more information, call 304-343-6420 or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.
To celebrate a special family occasion this past week, we enjoyed a long-overdue (and always fantastic) dinner at Noah’s Restaurant & Lounge, which also happened to be the last place I dined before all restaurants were closed at the start of the pandemic.
It was the first time we took our three teenage boys to the swanky place on Summers Street, but those junior foodies fit right in.
We kicked off the evening with shrimp skewers with marinated cucumber, crispy Thai-style calamari with stir-fried bok choy and sweet chili sauce, and zucchini fritters served in miniature cast iron skillets with mint yogurt, tomato jam and balsamic.
We followed those jewels with seared scallops atop spinach pomme puree with roasted cauliflower, and a perfectly cooked filet with dauphinois potatoes, baby carrots and house Worcestershire.
The revelation of the night, though, may well have been the swordfish, because it’s a fish that’s so hard for even accomplished chefs to get right — it’s often a dry, chalky and lifeless piece of fish in less-capable hands. This grilled swordfish was everything but bland, and with the creative combination of black rice, stir-fried veggies and red onion-black bean vinaigrette dressing, it was bright, surprising and mouthwatering.
We ended the night by “oohing and aahing” over our own individual molten lava cakes that were perfectly warm and gooey inside, because not a one of us was about to share a bite.
IF YOU GO: Noah’s Restaurant & Lounge, 129 Summers St., is open from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, with the lounge opening for drinks starting at 4 p.m. those days. For more information, call 304-343-6558, visit www.eatatnoahs.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.