While it’s not quite Paris, sitting at the counter of the recently opened Lola’s Café in New Paltz overlooking Main Street, will give you a perfect people watching perch.
New Paltz has a combination of college students, locals and tourist so you never know who or what you are going to see coming down the street. The outside patio has tables and counter style seating where you are practically sitting on the sidewalk. It is a fun place to be.
Add to that an interesting menu of well-prepared casual food, and you’ll understand why Lola’s in Poughkeepsie, a popular spot for the past 12 years, decided it was time to expand.
The New Paltz restaurant, on the corner of Main and N. Chestnut is open for dinner, has beer and wine and outdoor dining in nice weather.
The night we were there we were treated to a magnificent New Paltz sunset – clouds turn a spectrum of pinks, purples and oranges as the sunset over Skytop – the tower at Mohonk. There is a nice view of the Gunks and Skytop from the patio.
If you choose to sit inside, the interior combines 1950’s urban rustic country, urbanistic feel with retro elements like the light fixtures and ribbed metal roofing taking the place of traditional wainscoting. Chalkboards line the walls featuring drawings of cattle and listing daily specials.
I had the seared Ahi tuna wrapped in a soft pita filled with Asian vegetable slaw, baby greens, and sesame wasabi aioli. The tuna was perfectly cooked--medium rare and came with a choice of sides. I went for the black bean and corn salad which was a perfect match and served nice a cold.
My guest had the South Beach Salad which was served with four large sautéed shrimp, mandarins, dried cranberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, thinly sliced red onions, feta, and toasted almonds, over mixed greens with a fresh herb vinaigrette. Cranberries were not the dried I was familiar with, crazians, but were sliced and seem to me to be fresh. The toasted almonds added a great crunch.
On another visit, I went for the hot chicken sandwich which was buttermilk fried chicken dipped in chili oil, on a toasted brioche with pickles, romaine, tomatoes and ranch dressing. The chicken was nice and crispy with a good kick from the chili oil. My side that day was the sesame noodles which were addicting!
In the spirit of research, we also had lunch at the Poughkeepsie location. The menu is pretty much the same, with a couple of daily specials and sadly lacking the fried chicken sandwich.
Working my way through the menu, this time I went for the classic Philly cheese steak. Chopped steak, onions and cheddar on Italian bread with mayo, might get you laughed out of Philly, but this was a delicious variation. Going healthy, my side was a simple fruit salad.
Anne went for the short rib grilled cheese which was topped with tomato chutney. It was a nice combination of cheddar and Havarti cheese with the spiciness of the tomato chutney cutting the rich fattiness of the short ribs and cheeses. She went for the fries, which were good and salty.
Besides salads and sandwiches, both Lola’s offer a couple of daily soups and three Lola’s Bowls. If after your meal you still have room, for dessert they offer ice cream specialties such as an ice cream cookie sandwich of the day, regular milkshakes, or fancy ones topped with candy, decadent drizzles and all sorts of crazy ingredients.
49 Main Street,
New Paltz, NY 12561