Stop by Lola Rose for a neighborhood trattoria feel and a menu of fresh pastas and wood-fired pizzas
CM: Tell us about your new restaurant, Lola Rose.
KJ: It’s a neighborhood trattoria—a more casual approach than what we’re doing downtown at The Grocery, but using many of the same ingredients and coastal Mediterranean inspiration. We’re aiming to make it feel comfortable enough to stop in for a quick bite, but also sophisticated enough to warrant a night on the town with your friends or family.
CM: What’s on the menu?
KJ: A large portion of the menu will be dedicated to wood-fired pizzas and fresh and extruded pastas. While the pizzas and pastas will certainly give it a bit of an Italian feel, we also want to have the flexibility to highlight other areas of the Mediterranean coast. We plan to have several salads, some fun small plates, and a few entreés. The wine list will be entirely focused on the US and the Mediterranean from Portugal to Greece. We’ll also have a few frozen drinks to go along with some classic cocktails and spritzes.
CM: Why did you decide on north Mount Pleasant?
KJ: It is located relatively close to our home, and we are thrilled to have a place that is within our community. The population density in that area and a need for more dining options made it a great place to open our second restaurant. We have lived in this area for over 20 years, and we’re excited to have a business that will be part of the community that our family has so many connections in, through schools, sports, neighbors, and friends.
CM: We want to hear about your business partner.
KJ: Susan Johnson has been my biggest supporter (and constructive critic) and is certainly a big reason for our success. I feel like she does everything except cook the food and work the floor—all the financials, all administrative duties—and she offers a great perspective as a non-chef. Susan’s the unsung hero and an incredible wife, too. Both of us had very supportive families growing up, and we have certainly done everything to provide the same for our children—whether it’s at home, in the classroom, or on the sports field.
CM: Where did the restaurant’s name come from?
KJ: We wanted something that had an old-school neighborhood vibe, but we did pull the names from family ties. Lola was my grandmother’s first name, and Rose was Susan’s grandmother’s maiden name.
CM: What’s the interior like?
KJ: The dining room is intimate yet lively with open views of the kitchen. There is outdoor dining beneath a wood-framed roof with lighting, heaters, and ceiling fans for all seasons use.
CM: Did we see a pizza oven going in?
KJ: Yes, a Fiero Forno. After lots of research, we felt like this was the best option for our space and the type of pizza we’ll be making.
CM: Can we expect to see any young men from the Johnson family working at Lola Rose?
KJ: Only time will tell, but I am certain they will be happy to have a dining (or employment) option closer to home.