MAN ABOUT TOWN: Lola's Handcrafted Sandwiches

Man About Town

It was the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s birthday and the night was freezing cold.  Though the airwaves were full with memories of Elvis and Ray Perryman had just given his annual prognostications of the state of our economy, to a sellout crowd for the Tyler Area Chamber, the “Man” and seven Hispanic Business Alliance (HBA) Board members still had room for one more event.  And what a time we had!

We made the short trek south on Old Jacksonville Highway to the Gresham Village Shopping Center and landed at the newly opened Lola’s Handcrafted Sandwiches.  Owners, father and son, Chris and Andrew Czop pulled out all the stops for us.  These fun lovin’ creative guys laid out an array of everything they served from salads to homemade chips and sandwiches to desserts.  Let me tell ya, you’ve not really eaten till you undergo a baptism of handcrafted sandwiches with all the trimmings at Lola’s.  This place takes full flavor and taste galore to a new level.

The restaurant is compact, the menu is simple, easy to read and the ingredients are fresh (they support the Farm 2 Table-buy local-Texas initiative). They handcraft from scratch their breads, chips, salad dressings, soups and desserts.  The sandwiches boast a regional flare.  The Cuban for Miami, for New Orleans the N.O. Po’ Boy, the Chicago Beef Italian, the Reuben for New York or the Mediterranean Turkey.  It’s almost nostalgic in that their approach is from the long past era of small-town shops and homemade craftsmanship.  Even the theme “Lola” is a takeoff of 1940’s-50’s painted advertising on tin placards.  The feel of the place is that of a corner drug store or sandwich shop of days gone by.

“The Man” has not seen anything like Lola’s with owner’s like Chris and Andrew in East Texas.  Save the drive and buy local.  You save gas and have a delightful experience.  Feel free to bring your own beverage.  It is BYOB.

Lola’s is open Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  You may also cater your next event with their custom planned menu–your place or theirs.  The same fine fresh handcrafted menu or other choices are all yours for the taking.  Coming soon:  Breakfast.  Watch for it.

Now, our party bundled up to the neck from the cold, started popping wine corks to get our blood a-flowin’.  They are a fun group of pioneers in the growth of the five year old Hispanic Business Alliance.  The HBA partnership with the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce began while “the Man” was an officer on the Chamber’s Board. It has established itself as a primary point of contact for Hispanic business affairs, counseling more than 200 individuals a year, offering business start-up orientations, assisting business owners with management operational matters and a micro-loan program. The goal of the HBA is to facilitate Hispanic business development in Tyler/Smith County through collaboration among business related programs.  They have done a magnificent job and the capstone of each year is their annual awards banquet which recognizes successful businesses and entrepreneurs. 

So, “the Man” was in “high cotton” all evening.  The food, the party and the people were a perfect combination. We stayed after closing time and Chris and Andrew joined in on the toasting and tale telling.  It was a splendid night.

Of course, not wanting to wear out our welcome, one by one we braved the cold and departed.  As usual, “the Man” was the last to leave … go figure!

So, if you’re out and about, look for us, we’ll be about town.


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