A week ago today, Leslie Brenner of the Dallas Morning News dropped a bomb on the Eats blog: nine-year-old Lola on Fairmount Street is closing in October.
The Uptown charmer has earned top marks from reviewers and locals alike for its thoughtful, well-executed menu and top-notch wine program. The announcement was disappointing, to say the least. In the words of our own Dave Faries, "Damn."
Chef David Uygur has been with Lola since 2002 (with a brief break in 2005 to pursue another opportunity). He is widely considered to be one of the most talented chefs in town, and dining busy bodies are buzzing about what his next move might be. Some have even hinted at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Today, the man himself will set the record straight on that rumor and others.
On reports that he's known about the impending closure since March: "That's not accurate. I'd rather not go into that too much, but that wasn't accurate. We weren't told that long ago."
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On how the closure will affect Lola's cuisine: "There shouldn't be any changes as far as that goes...I think some of the people on some of the blogs have suggested that maybe we'll start using crummy ingredients or something like that because it's cheaper, but no. That's not the case. Van (Roberts, owner of Lola) wouldn't put that kind of pressure on me and my staff and our integrity. That's not something that's going to happen. No Velveeta, no hot dogs, no "select" beef - nothing like that."
On the million dollar question: "I'm gonna use this time to open up my own place. I don't have a space yet, so I can't say specifically [where], but I don't plan on going too far." What about the Mansion? "Honestly, there's been no--I haven't talked to them. I'd much rather open up my own place right now. No knock on them at all. Eric Brandt's great, I've met him a few times and he's cooked for me."
On his new place: "I don't want to let the complete and total cat out of the bag, but I've always really enjoyed Italian food. If you look at the menu here, we always have some kind of pasta, gnocchi, things like that, handmade stuff."
On why it won't be fancy: "I think that the restaurant industry in general is moving toward a less formal atmosphere, and I'm completely okay with that...the idea is not a fussy atmosphere." ...but it will definitely incorporate his favorite hobby: "I also like making salumi, the cured meats, that's something I've enjoyed and I don't anticipate stopping that. I don't know, it's fun and frankly I can make it to the quality that I appreciate...I'm pretty proud of it."