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New & Notable: The Grocery’s Susan and Kevin Johnson bring their restaurant mojo to Mount Pleasant’s Carolina Park

New & Notable: The Grocery’s Susan and Kevin Johnson bring their restaurant mojo to Mount Pleasant’s Carolina Park
December 2023
PHOTOGRAPHER: 

Lola Rose delivers wood-fired pizza and from-scratch pasta with a neighborhood feel



(Clockwise from top left) A spread of starters, including whipped feta and rosemary focaccia, proscuitto with hush puppies, yellowfin crudo, and a chopped salad; house-made spaghetti with chowder clams; the contemporary dining room is cozy and inviting.

Just when you might think the Charleston restaurant scene has reached peak Italian, a new spot comes along to prove that more house-made pasta is never a bad idea. Billed as a neighborhood trattoria, Lola Rose has garnered buzz from well beyond its locale in Mount Pleasant’s Carolina Park since it opened in September. Diners from west of the Cooper are no doubt drawn this far up Highway 17 by the reputation of beloved downtown sister restaurant The Grocery, owned by chef Kevin Johnson and his wife, Susan, who have long lived in this neck of the woods. One bite of the Sicilian lamb meatballs, however, and it’s apparent that Lola Rose can stand on its own. 

While some plates echo The Grocery—such as the roasted fish with charred okra and a stellar chopped salad of lettuces, salami, provolone, and white acre peas—wood-fired pizza and from-scratch pasta make up the backbone of the menu. The pies stand up to the best in the city, with toppings both seasonal and classic (the Italian sausage and rapini is particularly good). That pasta, though. Between its flawless texture and briny depth brightened by lemon and Calabrian chile, a simple bowl of spaghetti with chowder clams is like a 15-minute vacation to the Amalfi Coast.

The beverage lists stay on theme, with Negronis, sangria, and wines that span the Mediterranean, some if only in spirit. Even the nonalcoholic options include an Italian-style pilsner. With its clean-lined interior, inviting bar, outdoor patio, and warm service, Lola Rose definitely reads neighborhood—even if the food is next level.

3540 Park Ave. Blvd., Mount Pleasant
Tuesday-Thursday: 4-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 4-10 p.m.
lolarosemtp.com