Michael Abay’s love of cooking started with his mother and grandmother, and now he’s naming his first restaurant after them.
Abay is opening Lola’s Bistro in the new year at Soho Plaza within the Collective at East 21st and K-96.
Lola means grandmother in Abay’s native Philippines.
“I always remembered my grandmother coming home from the market,” Abay says.
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He says she would bring things such as fresh produce and crabs, which she would let Abay and his sister play with – until mealtime.
“I always found myself hanging around in the kitchen,” Abay says.
He and his sister used to alternate cooking for their family every Wednesday.
Lola’s Bistro will be what Abay describes as new American cuisine, with French, Italian and Asian influences.
“I want to bring some Filipino flavors into the menu as well,” he says.
“Fresh ingredients, simply prepared.”
Abay wants Lola’s to be a “more casual atmosphere but food and service would be more on the fine dining side.”
Abay worked as the executive chef at the Olive Tree Bistro for a few years then worked at the Tallgrass Country Club for a year before handling the food service at the Kansas Spine & Specialty Hospital, which his father, Eustaquio Abay, started.
Since then, he’s done some other projects with the goal of starting a restaurant.
Abay says he likes the area around the Collective, including neighborhoods and churches.
The restaurant will be in 3,500 square feet.
Abay says he expects to open around February. Look for more information then.