Dining With Denise Neil

A year after the sign went up, east-side eatery finally ready to open

A sneak peek at Sapporo

Lee Li and her husband, Leo Lin, former owners of Sake near 21st and Amidon, will open their new restaurant near Kellogg and Rock on July 21. This week they gave a few loyal customers a sneak preview. Video by Denise Neil
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Lee Li and her husband, Leo Lin, former owners of Sake near 21st and Amidon, will open their new restaurant near Kellogg and Rock on July 21. This week they gave a few loyal customers a sneak preview. Video by Denise Neil

Foodies on the east side have been watching and waiting for months and months, and now, Lola’s Bistro is finally ready to open at Soho Plaza within the Collective at East 21st and K-96.

Owner Michael Abay has turned on the sign that he hung up a year ago on the restaurant, whose address is 2146 N. Collective Lane, and he plans to open next week – likely on Thursday evening.

I got a sneak preview this week and sampled many items off the many, which is populated with fine-dining American cuisine with French, Asian and Filipino flavors.

Lola’s, which will be a perfect date-night destination, has a sleek, modern look, dim lighting and a menu filled with upscale dishes like banana leaf halibut, stuffed chicken breast, lobster risotto, duck breast and vegetable terrine. The menu also has a couple of steaks, several salads and appetizers that include steamed pork buns and authentic Filipino lumpia.

Abay has hired Roger Gouldner, who has a long list of front-of-house jobs on his resume, to be his general manager. Gouldner also has worked at places like the Petroleum Club and Joe Kelly’s.

At first, Lola’s will be open just for dinner – from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The restaurant will likely add lunch in about 90 days, Gouldner said.

While you wait for opening day, take a look at some of the pictures I snapped on my visit.

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