Church Street’s Lola’s Kitchen, located just south of Bloor Street, occupies a heritage building constructed in 1878. The three-storey former residential dwelling, built in the Second Empire architectural style, is the perfect edifice for a spacious and striking restaurant serving outstanding food and drink.
The name Lola’s Kitchen was chosen to honour a lady—an Aunt Lola—who is rumoured to have lived in the grand house in the late nineteenth century. “That’s the story and apparently the building is haunted, maybe it’s Lola, who knows?” front of house manager Alex Dooley says with a smile.
It’s hard to imagine a ghost haunting such an elegant and thriving restaurant in such a favourable downtown location. Alex, building and business owner Elliott Sud, general manager Courtney Pitchford, and kitchen manager Ben O’Brien work together to make sure the food and service honour the restaurant’s beautiful space.
That space is wonderfully embellished by artwork from Toronto’s Goodfellas Gallery. It also features chandeliers, high ceilings, comfortable seating, exposed brick and piping, a fireplace, huge windows, a mural, indoor seating for 79 guests and a huge elevated front patio.
Lola’s Kitchen serves fresh and seasonal homemade food with an emphasis on gluten-free and vegetarian dishes using local ingredients.
“We offer homemade comfort food using whole ingredients," Alex says. "At Lola’s you can get a really healthy beef burger but also a vegan dish that’s gluten-free. We cater to everyone, we use a lot of organic and local ingredients, and we make the dishes from scratch. We’re all passionate about serving food everyone can enjoy.”
The California Bowl (purple and black kale, quinoa or brown rice, avocado, sundried tomatoes, toasted nuts and seeds, tofu, sweet cider vinaigrette) is the number one seller, while the kale Caesar salad, the Lola’s burger and the acclaimed range of vegetarian burgers are hugely popular and not your run-of-the-mill veggie options. For example, the restaurant cooks up both a curried chickpea and almond burger and a black bean, walnut and mushroom burger.
Lola’s Kitchen’s cocktails, six local draught beers, daily drink specials, Propellor coffee, organic teas and respectable wine list also make it a desirable spot for drinks. If you do fancy a cocktail there is a long list including classics such as the Negroni, Cosmopolitan, Martini, Tom Collins and the Dark and Stormy, as well as creative concoctions such as the Ginger MacIntosh (whisky, apple cider, ginger syrup, lemon juice, ice) and the Cucumber Mint (gin, cucumber, mint, simple syrup, lime, ice, soda).
Lola’s Kitchen is known as one of Toronto’s premier brunch spots. It has long been an in-demand lunching locale, and is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
“Brunch has always been our most popular feature, we are famous for our brunch service,” Alex beams. “However, we are usually fully booked for lunch every day ― we get a lot of business people here ― and we’re very busy during the evenings. We’ve worked hard on all our menus.”
What's so great about the brunch? It is different, diverse, and relatively healthy. Many of the dishes are gluten-free, while the others can be made gluten-free upon request. Plus, there are original dishes such as the curried tofu scramble (served with black beans, flax toast, and salad, frites or home fries) and the brunch bowl (baby new potatoes, arugula, beef jus, caramelized onions, goat’s cheese, green onion and two organic eggs). And, of course, the restaurant's setting will always help Lola’s stand out from the crowd.
Lola’s Kitchen’s homemade, inclusive cuisine, inventive and extensive drinks list and superior setting ensure its place as a Toronto favourite for people of all tastes.