Lola Rosa Parc
By Robert Ravensbergen

Vegetarian for All

“We want to be the number one vegetarian restaurant for non-vegetarians,” says Lola Rosa co-owner and manager Pascal Hourriez. A native of France, Pascal is not a chef by training, but as a young man on family vacations, his grandmother made sure he tasted the best of the two and three-star Michelin restaurants that populate Europe’s culinary community and gave him a taste for vibrant, hearty, and fulfilling food.

“We deliver comfort food most of all – lasagna, nachos, hamburgers made vegetarian, including tofu and chia seeds, but marinated in our own homemade barbeque sauce. Big servings of nachos that people can share with a beer or a drink… these are the kinds of foods that satisfy people and bring them together, give them a quality experience, and can also show them that we don’t need to depend on mass-produced or factory-farmed meat to get flavour and joy out of our food.”

Food without meat can be tasty, colourful, and deliciously satisfying. - Pascal Hourriez, owner

A Growing Brand

Those ecological values provide a compass for Pascal in how to guide the growth of his business, “The less meat we eat, the greater the quality of meat we can eat, so if Lola Rosa introduces people to the best of vegetarian flavours and dishes, there is no limit to how the quality of their whole diet and their personal taste can improve.”

In the decade since Pascal and his business part Eric Bieunais founded their first Lola Rosa location on 545 Milton Street, near the campus of McGill University. Food trends have changed dramatically, and Lola Rosa was in prime position to capitalize while also continuing to grow in accommodating changing tastes.

“People are more health-conscience than when we started. We accommodate people who want to try something new and ensure that the ingredients are sourced locally and organically, and also make special preparations for gluten or lactose-free customers; however our number one principle has always been to deliver quality, taste, and great service to our customers, and to grow without giving any of that up.”

With a devilish grin betraying the sense of good humour which permeates the staff and atmosphere of Lola Rosa, Pascal adds, “Being from France, I don’t see how some people replace real cream, milk and cheese with their lactose-free substitutes, but I guess sometimes there really is no accounting for taste!”

Colourful Food, Colourful Life

The comfortable environment of both Lola Rosa locations reflect that humour, with well stocked bars, beautifully grained wood furniture, vibrant signage and stylish art featuring idols of decades past.

A feeling of freshness settles in as you pass through – the food nothing short of satisfying, you might take in a summer breeze from an open window, hearing the calm sounds of the street as you try to pick up one more black bean with your nacho, and feel right at home.

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