Every year hundreds of new students join the Marist community, flooding the cafeteria, local pizza shops, fast food restaurants, and diners. What most students may not realize is that they have an award-winning café just down the road from campus. This hidden gem is known as Lola’s Café and Gourmet Catering and is an outstanding establishment that many Marist students may be missing out on. Known throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley for its catering services and its exceptional café menu, Lola’s offers a variety of gourmet meals that keep nearly every one of their customers coming back throughout their time at Marist College and the Hudson Valley.
Lola’s Café is a great spot for any Marist student or local resident looking for a unique, quality meal at a reasonable price. The premium food and price lends Marist students a break from the cafeteria or just the everyday grind of being a college student. Lola’s offers a wide variety of meals ranging from exotic salads and wraps to sandwiches, burgers, soups, and seafood. What really sets Lola’s apart from its competitors is how unique the menu is. The combination of quality ingredients offered within every meal is something that you don’t commonly find for such a price. As one employee mentions, Lola’s offers a Tilapia sandwich with Panko crusted tilapia with herb salsa, sweet onion jam, and sriracha mayo on grilled French bread. Of course, Lola’s offers more traditional options as well, including its Buffalo Chicken salad, Turkey Club wrap, and Philly Cheese Steak, but for the most part each menu item is a variety of uncommon ingredients which come together for a truly phenomenal tasting meal.
This same employee, Phil Signorile, went on to recommend Lola’s Famous Peanut Noodles, telling me I should stop what I’m currently doing and give them a shot, if I hadn’t already.
“I have worked at Lola’s for two semesters and do not have one complaint about how they run their business. The staff is great, the environment is fun, and the food is spectacular,” said Mr. Signorile. “All in all, Lola’s Café is one of the best places to find a good meal for lunch in the immediate area of Marist College.”
“Lola’s is really an excellent establishment,” said another employee, Andrew Noe. “We have gourmet food, clean facilities, and a friendly, willing workforce.”
Lola’s Café and Gourmet Catering opened in 2005 by Edward Kowalski, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, who still owns and operates the establishment. The original goal of Lola’s was to develop a restaurant which counteracts the popularity of fast food. Kowalski has always believed in serving fresh food with a homemade style, and though nearly everything the restaurant offers is made entirely from scratch it can be prepared reasonably quickly, without the customers having to wait too long.
“When I opened Lola’s I really wanted to give it that home-style feel. I know kids will go away to school and they might crave that home cooked taste rather than something from a fast-food place,” said Ed Kowalski. “Everyday what we offer is fresh and affordable so it gives an alternative to the drive-thru. We also will add things to the menu according to season to give it that extra feeling.”
In 2013, Lola’s Café and Gourmet Catering won the Business Excellence Award chosen by the Dutchess County Economic Development Corp. Kowalski also owns the neighboring eatery known as Crave Restaurant & Lounge which he opened a few years after Lola’s.
“I think Lola’s is a great locally owned restaurant with quality food and a good connection to the community,” said a local resident, Anthony Varrichione.
Another fellow, Alex Muzii who actually lives in an apartment above Lola’s raves about the café. “Its really awesome for me that I have a delicious meal just a few steps away. I get Lola’s a few times a week and it honestly doesn’t disappoint,” said Muzii.
From top to bottom, Lola’s Café offers countless items on its menu that are of the utmost quality and filled with exceptional, unique ingredients which combine to give every meal a distinct taste only found at Lola’s. Whether soup or salad, sandwich or dessert, the quality that Lola’s offers is something that every Marist student should experience at least once during their time in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Based on my own experience, as well as that of any previous customer it can almost be guaranteed that your first experience at Lola’s café won’t be your last.
Lola’s Café and Gourmet Catering is located at 131 Washington Ave., Poughkeepsie, New York, directly below the Walkway Over the Hudson. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Their menu can be found online at Lolascafeandcatering.com.