Café Lola to open at Forum Shops at Caesars on Las Vegas Strip

A fourth Café Lola location, this one on the Strip, is set to open this summer. (Café Lola)

At Café Lola, it’s like being inside a blushing bonbon. With a rose garden. And strawberry shortcake waffles. And lots of frosé.

The restaurant, known for its profusion of pink and of-the-moment menu, its lustrous chandeliers and floral backdrops primed for Instagram — all designed, the owners say, to appeal to women — is opening a fourth location, this time in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Cue the women — from all over.

“We’re a Vegas-grown brand. The natural progression is to be on the Las Vegas Strip,” said Lin Jerome, who owns Café Lola with her business partner, Alexandra Lourdes. “We wanted to bring the experience to visitors and Las Vegas locals.”

Many of those visitors, Lourdes added, have had to ride-share from the Strip to visit the cafés in Summerlin or Henderson, or the Lola stand at Allegiant Stadium. Come summer, the planned launch of the new restaurant, those folks will be nearby.

“We’d always wanted to expand to the Strip,” Lourdes said, echoing Jerome. “The Forum Shops actually reached out to us. It was such a big honor they even thought about us, and we’re very excited.”

Clearly, Caesars Palace was thinking pink.

Frosé by the yard
and other new things

On the Strip, Café Lola (named for Jerome’s mother and Lourdes’ dog) will offer much of its signature look, feel and food. At the same time, several things will be new.

House frosé, blended with bubbles, will be offered by the yardstick in a vessel resembling a giant Champagne bottle. No time to sit down for frosé all day? There will be a frosé walk-up window, with coffee and a small menu. A hidden photo booth is taking shape, and service will run until 10 p.m., later than the other Lolas.

Also debuting on the Strip: an earthy black truffle omelet, more vegan and vegetarian choices, and doughnuts from Saint Honoré Doughnuts &Beignets, the partners’ West Flamingo Road shop named for the fashionable Honoré stretch of central Paris.

These Strip-first items will join Lola’s current menu that mingles lattes, cocktails (like a pink spritz), shareable charcuterie, healthy dishes (an açai bowl, for one), classics with a twist (think grilled prosciutto and cheese), new classics (like avocado toast jabbed with lemon zest), kids’ options, afternoon tea and a flurry of macarons — all plated with an eye to social media sharing.

But social supplements flavor, the business partners acknowledged; it can’t replace it.

“We know you can only go so far with Instagram,” Lourdes said. “We have to focus on the quality of the food. The only way you can get locals as well as tourists to return is quality food.”

Starting out
in coffee shops

Underlying the whimsy that is part of the point of Café Lola, there’s a serious business going on. Besides the cafés and Saint Honoré Doughnuts, Lourdes and Jerome own Pizza Anonymous (the nighttime incarnation of the doughnut shop), The Refined Agency (their marketing arm) and Refined Hospitality (their parent company).

Lourdes has a doctorate in higher education; Jerome is an attorney. They met while working at UNLV, and The Refined Agency was their first project, launched in early 2016 from the local coffee shops they worked in because they couldn’t afford an office. Café Lola grew out of their interest in food and drink, social media and their desire for a certain sort of gathering place.

“We always said we want to create a space where women can go have a glass of rosé, have a matcha, have a gluten-free option, have a good time,” Jerome said. “Being women, we wanted to have a space where women can go and be inspired.”

The first Café Lola opened in May 2018, followed by a second in November 2019. During June 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the stand at Allegiant Stadium went live.

Perhaps surprising for a place that harnesses the zeitgeist, the owners refer to Café Lola by a very old-fashioned term: a coffee shop. The designation, Jerome said, fondly recalls their beginnings, “when we were just two girls with two cellphones and two laptops meeting up at coffee shops around the valley.”

Except now, the coffee shop serves frosé.

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow
@ItsJLW on Twitter.