[Chef Spotlight] How to Dine in a Vintage Train Car
I met the chef couple Keith and Nealy Frentz in person on a hot, steamy afternoon in Ridgeland, MS last July when we were setting up for one of our favorite signature events: Sweetest Chefs of the South. Nealy was on the roster to participate as a notable Southern pastry chef. They arrived, Nealy with a huge beautiful smile and her husband Keith following behind carrying large decor and stopping to open doors for her. From when this culinary power couple arrived for set up until the end of the long HOT night, they kept smiles on their faces. This is who they are: kind, hard working, gracious folks. Paired with their mad skills in the kitchen, they’ve built a loyal following one smile and new friend at a time.
Their flagship restaurant, LOLA, is celebrating ten years located in the historic downtown area of Covington, Louisiana. It is one of the top restaurants in the “Northshore” area of Louisiana – just north and across the lake from New Orleans. LOLA was born out of a dream they shared to serve great Southern food using local ingredients. The restaurant is housed in a historic train depot, and their kitchen is an old caboose. The addition of a vintage train car will add 30 more seats for diners, opening later this summer. The restaurant oozes character and intrigue luring you into a memorable dining experience.
Lunch is served each week day, and dinner is offered on Friday and Saturday nights. If you are lucky enough to snag a seat, their once a month LOLA Supper Club is THE thing to do! With its secret theme and menu, the only promises are that ingredients will be locally sourced and diner’s palates will be delighted. The menu also always includes four courses paired with crafted cocktails.
At LOLA, the menu reflects fresh, Southern flavors. For them, this involves shopping at their local Covington Farmers Market held on Wednesday and Saturday each week for seasonal produce, sourcing Louisiana Seafood from local fisherman, and procuring other proteins from local or regional farms. Two Run Farm is their go-to for their popular lamb shank, Niman Ranch for their “Chicken Fried” Pork Cheeks, and Simmons Catfish for their Pecan Dusted Simmons Delacata Catfish dish. The Simmons Delacata style catfish is also the star in their Blackened Delacata Catfish Salad, for which they graciously shared the recipe so you can replicate it at home.
We thank chefs like Keith and Nealy Frentz for sharing their passion and celebrating local ingredients. If you find yourself driving down I-12 in South Louisiana or staying in the Northshore area or even with time to spare on a trip to New Orleans, be sure to pay them a visit!
LOLA is located at 517 North New Hampshire Street in Covington, Louisiana. You can reach them by phone at 985-892-4992 to check them out on Facebook.
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