Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area

Cafe Lola - Always Ho-made

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Cafe Lola - Always Ho-made

Stanley Stephan | Sep 12, 2002 06:04 PM

Hey, it’s their slogan. You can buy a sweatshirt. There are house made soups, muffins and cookies.

I am happily munching a brown sugar streusel and raisin muffin still warm from the oven while writing this.

After a tip in 7x7 magazine that Lola had an outdoor patio, I asked Chowhound if any one tried it. No response. So I checked it out today. I am SURE no chowhound has been here, but you should consider stopping by.

Be advised though that it is very much in a dog patchy part of Hunter’s Point. However police cars frequently cruise the streets, so not to worry. It’s off on a quiet street with a casual garden patio hugging the side of the restaurant overlooking the bay. Really mellow.

Today’s specials were:
Spicy tomato soup with sausage and beans ($2.75 a cup)
BBQ Pork Ribs with corn and fries (9.75)
Ho-made pizza marguerite with kielbasa (7.75)
Striped bass with bean couscous (9.75)

Burgers, fries, sandwiches and all day breakfasts round out the menu. I was sorry I didn’t order the burger. It comes on a big sesame bun with a leaf of lettuce, red onion slices and an thick slice of tomato.

Step up to the yellow counter made of old doors and place your order. Grab a piece of cookie or muffin from the sample bowl on the counter.

Very satisfying soup with kielbasa, beans, carrots tomatoes and a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top. Served in an old fashioned aqua tea cup with a pink saucer. It came with an excellent thick slice of buttered and grilled sourdough bread.

Lola entered and affably stopped at each table, briefly greeting customers to see if all was well. She then checked to see if the kitchen was running smoothly. Contented, she sighed, sunk to the middle of the floor, wagged her tail once and took a rest. Lola is a big brown dog.

They twenty-something staff is as pleasant and accommodating as Lola. No attitude or pretense at this place. Biscuits and vegetarian gravy were on the menu board. I asked the chef, her face sprinkled with gold glitter, how you made vegetarian gravy. She explained and then said they no longer served it. Turns out vegetarian gravy doesn’t keep well. She was ready to whip up something vegetarian for me when I said I was really more of a biscuit fan. She said if I was interested, she could make arrangements to sell me a dozen biscuits. Her friend Sarah, who was a pastry chef, made killer biscuits.

The grilled fish sitting on a bed of beans and couscous was good, but the couscous was cold. Not sure if the hot fish / cold couscous was intentional or a mistake as it was early in the day and the lunch menu was just starting.

I would think that sandwiches, especially the burgers are the best bet here. Good coffee. Condiments and a bottle of Straus Family Creamery milk sit on an old coal stove. Pick up a set of mismatched silverware and select a seat on one of the mismatched dining room chairs. Three crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling. A cobalt blue speckled floor looks like a night sky filled with stars. Check out the rest room that has a vintage 50’s look to it. There are also tables outside, some made of pieces of tree stumps. Café Lola has style.

When the muffins were ready, the chef offered hot pieces of the tasty muffins to customers.

Music is loud and cool. The staff happily danced to Moxy Früvous’ 1998 version of Psycho Killer ….. run, run, run, run. My middle-aged feet were tapping.

Customer’s are all age groups, from gray-haired neighborhood workers to pierced kids. Lola welcomes you all. I’m not a fan of dogs in restaurants, however Lola has to be the nicest dog I ever met. She only stops by briefly, not making a pest of herself. The staff keeps an eye out on her and asks if she is bothering you.

Breakfast includes French toast, eggs, breakfast burritos, egg sandwiches and oatmeal with maple syrup.

Café Lola
702 Innes
San Francisco, CA Phone: (415) 282-8091
Cross Streets: Earl Street
M-F 7am-5pm (I’d call to check about the days open and hours)

Easiest way to get there (if you are not familiar with the area, it’s easy to get lost).

Head up Third street and take a left on Evans. Just beyond the post office, take a right on Middle Point Road. The street (without a sign) just after Hare, is Innes. Make a left. Look for the seven foot rocking horse without a head. The restaurant is on the corner of Earl and Innes. Earl Street has a big sign warning that if you block it “Cars will be towed after we break your windows“.

There’s a big sign with Lola dressed in a pink waitress uniform, slinging a huge burger over her shoulder. And, uh, if I’m not mistaken, Lola is a he.

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