Above: Lola Bistro is the building where Hoi Polloi once was in Allegheny West.
Customers can see chef Michael Barnhouse’s personal philosophy applied to the food and décor of his new restaurant Lola Bistro in Allegheny West.
“I like to keep it very simple and very well done,” said Barnhouse, who is the owner and chef of Lola Bistro, located at 1100 Galveston Ave. in the building that once held the vegetarian restaurant and coffee house Hoi Polloi.
Using fresh, local ingredients and a short but thought-out menu, Barnhouse said he hopes his restaurant will be a staple for the residents of Allegheny West and a destination for those visiting the Northside neighborhood.
“When we first came to the Northside, we fell in love with the charm of it,” said Barnhouse.
He said that the Allegheny West neighborhood reminds him of New York City and Georgetown in Washington D. C., but he was surprised by the lack of restaurants in the neighborhood.
“It just seemed like a void,” he said. “This area has a lot of potential, and you could see it was changing.”
“Everybody has been absolutely warm and receptive,” he said of his new neighbors who have helped spread the news of his restaurant’s opening by word of mouth.
Barnhouse said that his menu is comprised of “rock solid” dishes that he’s been making for years and has perfected, like his Moroccan vegetable stew, chicken pot pie and lamb Bolognese.
He will also feature a meat and seafood of the day that he says will add more variety to the menu, and he noted that all the meat is all from Western Pennsylvania.
Since Lola Bistro’s opening in late August, Barnhouse has been using vegetables from his own garden, though he supplements what he does not grow with produce from the farmers market in West Park on Friday afternoons.
Though his garden will not grow year-round, he hopes to continue to source as much food as he can locally even through the winter months.
Entrees range between $18 and $25, and the bistro is open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 5-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Above: Michael Barhouse in his new kitchen at Lola Bistro. (Photos by Kelsey Shea).