Back in the early 1990s, Avram Hornik had designs on bringing an outdoor coffee kiosk to Suburban Square. Now, he’s partnered with Philadelphia-based FCM Hospitality for something considerably more impressive: a chic and breezy open-air eatery in the desirable northwest quadrant of the historic shopping district. “We’re excited to be part of the renewed energy and exciting changes in Ardmore,” says Hornik.
Named after the Kinks’ classic 1970s radio hit, Lola’s Garden boasts prime views of the iconic floral-laden courtyard and fountain. Interior design elements include an impressive bar made of soapstone, zinc and white oak. Striking antique iron grills and greenery separate the dining areas. Outside, the four-season multi-seat garden trellis provides a contemporary, almost Zen-like setting for alfresco dining. It’s made of blackened wood—a Japanese burning technique makes it fire-retardant and insect proof.
Chef Andrew Wood tends the back of house with skill and a sense of camaraderie. His modern American menu is focused and seasonal, with ample vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and kids’ options. More familiar choices include oysters on the half shell, baked brie, a fried chicken sandwich and grilled swordfish. Weekend brunch offers a biscuit board, omelets, eggs Benedict and build your own mimosas.
“The industry is learning how to react to survive, almost on a daily basis,” says Wood of the post-pandemic mentality. “It’s a challenge to find qualified staff to make our kitchen work as a team, so we look for folks who maybe have a bit less experience but are willing to learn and grow.”
General manager Jason Savard concurs. “We have a story to tell our guests at Lola’s,” he says. “Finding the right front-of-house staff, while challenging, allows us to eventually find quality people who really want to learn the menu and get excited about it.”
On a busy weeknight, we experience minor blips in timing but nothing unusual. The staff was friendly, knowledgeable and team-oriented. Our tender eight-ounce strip steak (with frites) was sliced to perfection, and a tasty grilled Elysian Fields lamb kebab was delivered atop toasted farro, with grilled broccoli rabe and yogurt. For dessert, we opted for the light-as-a-feather ricotta beignets drizzled with Meyer lemon and honey.
The beer and wine programs feature local Pennsylvania suds and spirits. An inventive cocktail menu boasts such playful concoctions as the Lucy, I’m Home! (Stateside vodka, blackbird watermelon moonshine, lime juice and strawberry syrup), the Butterfly Gimlet (Bluecoat gin, lime juice, muddled cucumber, basil, butterfly pea tea) and the Sweet Potpourri (Bluecoat Elderflower gin, lime juice, honey, ginger, muddled tarragon). We also recommend the margarita and cocktail flights.
ATMOSPHERE: Relaxing and approachable.
HOURS: Noon-10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and Sunday.
EXTRAS: Margarita and cocktail flights.
51 St. Georges Road, Ardmore