Lola's Eatery, located at 3337 Penn Avenue, is Lawrenceville's newest spot for brunch. Maximillian Becerra and Zoe Rieder, are the duo behind this hip, new restaurant. The restaurant officially opened on December 6 to an eager and hungry crowd. I'd seen so much hype for this place that I had to get there to see what it was all about. My stomach definitely wasn't disappointed.
Lola's Eatery is such a sweet space. They share the building with Engine House 25 Wines, who provides the booze for the restaurant, but they've definitely given it their own flair. The yellow walls make the space feel happy and cheerful. Plants abound, making the space feel warm. The wood accents add a homey touch, making you feel like you could stay and chat forever. A few unique design touches include the copper ceilings, the lettered sign, and their paper menu that rolls down from the wall. Everything comes together to create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere.
Becerra and Rieder have brought their flair to Lawrenceville with delicious dishes inspired by Becerra's Mexican and Filipino heritage. Rieder has taken the helm on pastries. This combination makes the menu at Lola's extremely diverse. The menu ranges from huevos rancheros to chorizo egg rolls. Everyone will find something they enjoy at Lola's.
My favorite thing was that they had some options for your more health-conscious friends and family members. My mom ordered the tofu 330 and loved it. It's a vegan dish with fried sweet chili tofu and packed with vegetables. She especially loved the ginger lime dressing. She said it added a freshness to the whole dish.
Another healthy option is the beet hummus toast that I ordered. It was definitely something out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to give it a try. The risk was definitely worth the reward. The beet hummus was extremely flavorful and not super garlicky.The avocado and Goat Rodeo chèvre added a gorgeous rich and creamy texture, while the atsara (pickled green papaya with onions and red bell pepper) added a nice acidity and crunch to the dish. A side benefit was that this dish was entirely vegetarian, which can be said of a lot of Lola's menu.
To balance out my healthy choice, I ordered a side of homefries. I can safely say I have never had better homefries in my life. These potatoes were extremely crispy, while still being soft and chewy in the middle. Other Pittsburgh breakfast joints, please take note. Not to mention, the "secret seasoning" was the perfect combination of spices. These are a must try with whatever else you order!
I loved Lola's menu so much that one visit wasn't enough to try everything I wanted, so I went back a second time to sample even more. I was torn between the huevos rancheros and the "send noods" dish this time. I was then convinced by the cashier that I should go with the noodle dish. You don't have to tell me twice to order noodles.
The noodles come deconstructed, so that you can add as much of the flavorful house-made soy brine as you want and mix the toppings in to your heart's content. The soft-boiled nitamago egg added a savory flavor to the dish. The texture of the mushrooms and the caramelized onions contrasted with the crispy kale. There was the perfect amount of flavor and texture in this dish.
Another item that I was eager to try my second time around was the "Brunch Bunz". I love a fluffy bao bun, so ones stuffed with breakfast foods seemed right up my alley. These buns were my favorite item on the menu and are a must order when you go to Lola's. The bao buns were light and airy and the scrambled eggs were perfectly fluffy. The bacon bits and green onions added a nice crunch, while the siracha aioli gave the buns some kick. Honestly, I could have just gotten these and I would have been completely satisfied.
I was excited when my friend ordered the chicken and waffles, because I wanted to try a bite. I'm totally that friend who wants to try everything on the table, even if I didn't order it. Chicken and waffles is not an extremely unique dish, but as per usual, the team at Lola's puts their own special twist on this classic. The fried chicken was fairly traditional, while also being crunchy and golden. The waffle was what was unusual, as it had sesame and ginger in it. It was an interesting dichotomy of flavors as the ginger was sweet and the sesame leaned more savory. Both elements complemented different aspects of the dish. I only got a few bites in, but I'll definitely have to get the dish myself next time to get the full experience.
Everything about Lola's Eatery impressed me from the friendly staff to the cozy atmosphere to of course, the delicious dishes. If you're looking for inventive takes on everyone's favorite meal, then Lola's Eatery should be your next stop. I can already see this restaurant becoming a Pittsburgh staple.
Lola's Eatery is open Monday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and weekends 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They're closed Tuesday through Thursday, but the space is available for private parties and baking classes.