Opened in 2008 on Fourth Street, Lola’s was established to honor the memory of owner Luis Navarro's mother.
There have been many changes in the restaurant world since then and Navarro was asked what his mother would think of farm to table, curated menus and craft cocktails.
“She was very old school,” Luis said. “Her generation was very straight forward. And she was very much about submersing herself in American culture.”
Nine years after they opened. Luis and his co-owner and wife Brenda are working to re-establish the Mexican culture.
“We changed the cuisine. Now, we’re keeping that and returning to some of the classic dishes that were customer favorites,” she said.
“Let’s go back to Mom," Luis added.
They’ve added brunch (more about that in a moment) and brought back some popular items: Mango Halibut Ceviche, Ensenada Style Tacos (beer battered with mustard cream), Pork Belly Tacos and the Chile Verde: braised pork shoulder, tangy tomalito sauce, potatoes, Mexican rice and, to give it a contemporary touch, a fried egg on top.
“We’re going to stick with the classics,” Brenda said. “Let’s keep it pretty, but bring back the classic flavors."
Still on the menu and a customer favorite is Birria Guadalajara. It’s one of grandma’s recipes: pork and veal, marinated and rubbed in spices for six hours, served with chopped onions, cilantro, lemons, garlicky whole beans and tortillas.
Also still on the menu and described as “A Long Beach Favorite” is the Chile Relleno Burrito, a tortilla stuffed with Relleno casero, Mexican rice, fried beans and roasted garlic tomato salsa.
Having conquered the worlds of lunch and dinner, Lola’s has added brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Choices include:
Pumpkin hotcakes, topped with cinnamon sugared whipped goat cheese ($13).
Jalapeno-infused bacon, two eggs sunny side up ($13).
Mexican Style French toast, drizzled with Dulche deLeche, whipped cream, Jalapeno-infused bacon and two scrambled eggs ($12).
The Concha Breakfast Sandwich Concha Sweet bread, stuffed with scrambled eggs, Jalapeno-fused bacon and cheese ($10).
Lola’s offers a full bar, including seasonal cocktails like the Watermelon Martini that provided the perfect cooling opportunity during the recent sweltering heat.
This is a fun place. The décor is colorful and contemporary while honoring their Mexican heritage. They have a parklett for dining outside and they’re located in the heart of Retro Row.
Important to Know
Happy Hour is 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday with specials on drinks and certain appetizers.
Everything on the nine-item lunch menu (11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.) is $9.95 and choices include the Baja Salad, Zucchini and Mushroom Tacos and Frannie’s Protein Plate, which is grilled chicken.
Lola’s, 2030 E. Fourth St., opens at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends. The phone number is (562) 343-5506 and the website is www.lolasmexicancuisine.com. Allow plenty of time for parking.
There’s a children's menu and they do catering.
There’s another Lola’s at 4140 Atlantic Ave. in Bixby Knolls and the same folks own the Social List, just down the street at 2105 E. Fourth St.