Lolo's: Phoenix, AZ
Updated: Oct 20, 2018
I traveled to Phoenix in May with my sistercousinfriends (that’s what I call them, haha) for my 27th birthday/girls weekend. I fell in love with the weather in Arizona. People complain about the dry heat but I loved it! During our time in the Phoenix area we ate at several restaurants, but while I was planning for this trip several folks told me to try Lolo’s. I also did some searching online and whenever I typed ‘black restaurants in Phoenix’ Lolo’s came up repeatedly; clearly this was the place to go.
Lolo’s is a black-owned restaurant with five locations in Arizona, including one in the Phoenix airport. There is also a location in Las Vegas, NV as well as Southlake, TX. We ended up visiting two of Lolo’s locations so I figured this would be a great opportunity to write a comparison piece about my experiences.
I got a kick out of some of the names of dishes in their menus. Lolo’s also has Kool-Aid on tap (unlimited refills of BIG ASS jars of Kool-Aid); I don’t drink juice like that and I haven’t had Kool-Aid in years so I wasn’t able to make it through half a jar. I will vouch and say that they definitely make the Kool-Aid the way its supposed to be made. They also offer the traditional colors: red, blue, and purple.
Lolo’s Gilbert location
366 N Gilbert Road Gilbert, AZ 85234
We arrived to the restaurant around 7:30pm. Due to miscommunication/lack of communication between the host and servers it took a while for our server to come to our table. Once she arrived she was SO sweet and her service was excellent; it definitely made up for the delay.
Red Kool-Aid: $4 (free refills)
Meal (chicken breast, fried cod, 2 sides and piece of cornbread): $17.
I’m not the biggest fan of using cornmeal for frying fish, so the cod was okay to me. The chicken breast was tasty. The greens were okay; it was the end of the night and we were one of the last tables to walk in. To be honest they tasted like they were from the bottom of the pot and a little burnt, but I managed to doctor them up with pepper and hot sauce. The macaroni and cheese was GOOD, like REALLY good. The cornbread was amazing too; it was a large, perfectly baked muffin with a dollop of butter on top. My overall experience was great. The food is hearty so I only made it through half my plate, but I had some bomb leftovers the next morning.
Lolo’s Phoenix location (staple location)
1220 S Central Ave Phoenix, AZ 85004
We decided to go on a Sunday for brunch. It was SUPER busy (as most restaurants are on any given Sunday afternoon); we weren’t able to make a reservation, but despite the large crowd we only waited ten minutes to be seated. The Phoenix location is much smaller than the Gilbert location, and there’s no outdoor seating. Communication between the host and server(s) was seamless. I tried to order a similar meal to the one I had at the Gilbert location but I was tired of eating chicken and I couldn’t tolerate another jar of Kool-Aid.
Meal (Salmon croquettes, 2 sides and piece of cornbread): $17
The salmon croquettes were good. The greens didn’t have much seasoning, but I’d rather have under-seasoned greens as opposed to burnt greens. Once I added some pepper and hot sauce all was well. The cornbread at this location was mediocre; the pieces here were dry (a little burnt actually) and not as sweet as the cornbread at the Gilbert location. I didn’t enjoy the sweet potatoes at all; they were undercooked and cold. I ended up ordering macaroni and cheese to replace them, and this mac was delicious (even better than the mac and cheese at the Gilbert location). I tried fried green tomatoes for the first time and they were SPECTACULAR. Overall my experience was okay. Because this was the staple location I was expecting the food to taste better. I’d like to chalk the lackluster experience up to it being a busy Sunday when we decided to visit.
Based off of my two visits, I would recommend the Gilbert location over the Phoenix location.