Owners of the Leland House, Tonya, Chuck and Alec Ensign, along with Dominic Martinez, bought the Dandelion Café about five months ago and have been working to turn it into a new eatery – Lola’s Place.
The new owners intend to use Lola’s Place, 725 East Second Ave., as a community space where residents can enjoy healthful food and relax, as well as an extension of the Leland House, where visitors can immerse themselves in local culture.
“We hope this space will serve locals and visitors who are staying with us at the Leland House, and really anyone,” Martinez said. “We want it to be an accessible space where we have affordable food options and a space to hang out and spend time.”
Currently, Lola’s Place offers coffee and baked goods from Taste Coffee inside the restaurant, Cuevas Tacos food trailer on its patio and a small bar on the patio.
Lola’s Place was opening around the same time Cuevas Tacos’ lease with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4031 was coming to an end.
“It was kind of perfect timing, and they came over to see if we were interested in setting up here,” said Claudia Salvatierra with Cuevas Tacos.
Cuevas Tacos has a large menu for a food cart, full of authentic Mexican fare. In line with the values of the owners of Lola’s Place, Cuevas Tacos also has a handful of vegetarian options.
“We try to make it as authentic as possible, and the owner, Oscar (Cuevas), puts a lot of passion into everything he does,” Salvatierra said.
She said her favorite thing on the menu is the carnitas.
Soon, Lola’s Place hopes to bring in a Ska Brewing Co. outpost, healthy Japanese fare from a vendor called Rokko Izakaya, international vegetarian food from Mountain Stir Fry, and organic smoothies and bowls from Thimbleberry Smoothie Co.
Being a health-conscious and athletic family, the owners of Lola’s Place want to bring vendors to the new space that provide healthful meals and more vegan and vegetarian options.
“I’ve heard from guests at the Leland House that come with big groups that everyone is split on what they want to eat,” Martinez said. “So having diverse food options all in one place makes it easier for groups to find something to eat together.”
Alec Ensign said that historically, Lola’s Place was a part of the Leland House, so the purchase is joining two properties that used to work together.
“This was the breakfast part of the bed-and-breakfast at the Leland House, and it was called Lola’s Place then,” Alec said. “So it is kind of coming full circle.”
Last summer at the Leland House, Alec said there were visitors who naturally gathered in the front patio area of the bed and breakfast, so the family is excited to have additional space at the Lola’s Place patio where Leland House guests can mingle.
Tonya said the theme of Lola’s Place is wellness. In the near future, she said they hope to host yoga and other wellness talks and activities on the patio.
The Ensign family and Martinez bought the property from Alison Dance, who owned and operated the property as both the Cyprus Cafe and then the Dandelion Café.
Tonya said residents who were fans of the former restaurants have told her they enjoy the relaxed, hangout-style atmosphere of the venue.
“It’s such a charming building and property, and it’s more accessible to the community now,” she said.
Lola’s Place plans a grand reopening on May 21.