Avram Hornik, who owns such Philadelphia destinations as Morgan’s Pier, Juno, Craft Hall, and Harper’s Garden, has headed into the burbs with Lola’s Garden, a roomy, indoor-outdoor bar-restaurant at Suburban Square, in Ardmore. Opening day is Thursday, April 15. It initially will open at 5 p.m. and will add lunch on April 28 and weekend brunch on May 1.
Lola’s, named after the Kinks’ hit single, has a downtown chef, as well: Andrew Wood, who closed his acclaimed BYOB, Russet, in mid-2019. His rotating menus include nods to Russet’s locavore approach, and feel like those at Harper’s Garden, on 18th Street near Market.
Matthew Deutsch, beverage manager for Hornik’s FCM Hospitality group, oversees a cocktail menu whose bitters and vermouth are made in house, with syrup made with locally sourced ingredients. The wine, beer, and spirits list is all Pennsylvania labels.
Interesting timing here. Lola’s has been in the works for nearly three years — in other words, well before the pandemic kept Main Liners closer to home. Ardmore is also a nod to Hornik’s early ambitions. Right after college in the mid-1990s, Hornik approached Suburban Square’s previous management with an idea for an outdoor coffee kiosk with seating — coincidentally at the same spot as Lola’s Garden. He was rebuffed.
In those days, he said, shopping centers were built exclusively around commerce. Now, they are seen as community gathering spots.
Lola’s Garden, replacing Kate Spade and Jack Willis, has a garden motif both on the covered outdoor patio, which has its own bar, as well as in the dining room (which can accommodate 70 people under current occupancy, including a 10-seat bar). A trellis provides shade.
You’ll spot a giraffe decal on the wall of the dining room. When he was young, Hornik remembers the space as a Banana Republic, which had a giraffe at the front door.