Every now and then I come across a specialty restaurant known for some amazing ethnic food or just something completely odd that also happens to serve the perfect burger. I’m not here to present one today, as Lola’s didn’t provide me anything worthy. I’ve really enjoyed all of the dishes I have tried over the past couple years, but never even considered getting a burger there until someone suggested it months ago. And as the rule typically goes for me, if only one person in this city has suggested the burger there, it’s probably for a reason.
Lola’s is a really tight space in the Holsum Lofts building on Charleston at the 15 next to a now-abandoned antiques store. The restaurant has a bunch of two and four seat tables, 6 seats at the bar plus another little 2 seat high top, and a bunch of seating outside during the warm months. It can get very packed very quickly during lunch and dinner so either get there early or prepare for a bit of a wait if you choose to come during peak times, I think they may also take reservations. The parking lot sucks and also fills up quickly so keep that in mind if you’re running late. Their menu features everything you can expect from a restaurant with the title “A Louisiana Kitchen”; crab cakes, catfish and grits, po’boys, bread pudding, etc. Everything I’ve had here has always been rich and tasty, so when someone suggested the burger I got a bit excited. How can a place that does nearly everything right screw up a burger?
Lola’s burger is a never frozen, lean beef patty with lettuce, tomato, mayo and mustard. Knowing what typically gets served here, I was shocked to see a puny burger show up in front of me. The meat had ok flavor, but no char and totally overcooked beyond the medium rare I ordered. The bun was thin, small and way too generic. The tomatoes were not very red and fairly weak, the mayo and mustard were barely present. Overall there was nothing juicy about this as their online menu claims, and I really questioned whether I need to try a burger at every single place in town just in case they have that one secret amazing burger. I’m starting to think the answer is no. Everyone can put a burger on their menu to satisfy that one odd person in the group that doesn’t want to eat the amazing Louisiana food that’s served there, or the pizza that everyone else is getting, but if it’s nothing great then what’s the point? There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but I need to start limiting myself to restaurants that I know for sure provide something at least somewhat worthy of reviewing.
The fries on the other hand were actually pretty good. Not sure if they were entirely fresh but cooked really well; skin on with a decent amount of seasoning. There were lots of little crunchy bits, but I wish there was a bit more of the larger pieces as there weren’t too many actual fries to chow down on with my burger. My meal came to $12.42 with an iced tea and an extra dollar for my not completely melted swiss cheese, basically far too much for a burger meal of this caliber. I don’t think I need to reiterate that you shouldn’t come here for the burger; there is plenty of great Louisiana style food here that you can’t go wrong with, so just stick with that.