Despite living here for four years, I’ve recently come to the realization that whenever I decide to be luxurious and order from a restaurant in town, the options I consider are usually limited to the same four establishments. But that is because I adore these four establishments. So, choosing a restaurant to profile for this piece was a no-brainer.
Centered at the core of Main Street, the core of my college experience and the core of my heart is Lola’s Cafe.
Lola’s Cafe is a family-owned business serving sandwiches, salads, quinoa or noodle bowls and soups made from locally sourced ingredients.
A fast-food meets sit-down restaurant establishment, the business first began in Poughkeepsie about 16 years ago in August 2005.
Owner Ed Kowalski wanted to open a space that would provide healthier alternatives to fast-food.
The restaurant places an emphasis on quickly serving food to customers but serving healthy options, according to Kowalski’s son and Executive Chef at Lola’s New Paltz location, Tyler Kowalski.
The New Paltz location opened around five years ago. When a space opened up in our town, there wasn’t a single doubt for the family to open a location here.
“When the spot went up, it was kind of like a no-brainer, it was in the coolest part of town,” explained Kowalksi. “We’re next to all the bars, we’re a walking distance from campus. It just fit exactly what we were looking for.”
Lola’s is centered at 49 Main Street. On the corner of the intersection right across from what was once Flames Pizza and diagonally across from the newly established Dancing Hands Jewelry store.
This means when eating outside in Lola’s patio area, customers have a lovely view of the heart of our town and the bustling energy that takes place there. In fact, Kowalksi stated that what surprised him the most when opening up at this location was how busy it gets.
Lola’s has been turning heads and providing wonderful customer experiences to the New Paltz crowds ever since opening up in this pivotal spot.
My personal affinity for Lola’s dates back to the very first week of college. It’s a foundational spot for the forming of my closest group of friends and we’ve tried to make it a bit of a tradition to go at the start and close of every semester. Though it didn’t really stick past sophomore year because of the pandemic, Lola’s is still my favorite restaurant for that reason. Also, because of the chicken bruschetta.
For Kowalski, this sense of community and connection is what Lola’s is all about.
“New Paltz is a tightly knit community and we love that,” Kowalski stated. “We try to keep the aspect of family first and when the community is as good as New Paltz is, it makes everything a lot easier.”
Lola’s is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.