It was never goodbye. It was always see you later.
Lola’s Southern Seafood, the restaurant and nightclub located at 15 Indian Inn road in Oak Bluffs is back — for the third time.
The Oak Bluffs hangout first opened its doors on the fourth of July in 1994 by owners and seasonal residents Kathy Lola Domitrovich and Paul Domitrovich. Lola’s quickly became known for pairing southern soul food with Smokey Robinson and the Supremes.
“Now it’s our 20th anniversary,” said Ms. Domitrovich, who is also a chef. “Well, give or take a few years.”
After 15 consecutive seasons Mr. and Ms. Domitrovich sold the business to Doug and Leslie Hewson, owners of the restaurant Mediterranean. Then, in August of 2010, after Mr. and Ms. Hewson announced they were not going to continue running Mediterranean, Mr. and Ms. Domitrovich returned to the Island and re-opened Lola’s. Two years later the Domitroviches sold the restaurant to Atria owners Christian and Greer Thornton, who opened a new restaurant there called Hooked in May 2012.
This past winter, Ms. Domitrovich heard that Mr. and Ms. Thornton were not going to run Hooked for another season.
“I heard this and said to my husband, ‘You know, we should return,’ and I thought he would say, ‘Not again!’ But he said, ‘Yes!’”
Mr. and Mrs. Domitrovich never sold the real estate. “That’s how we were able to get it back each time,” she said.
Lola’s officially re-opened on Friday, May 2. Ms. Domitrovich greeted guests at the door and Mr. Domitrovich talked up patrons at the bar.
“I’m the steak and he’s the sizzle,” Ms. Domitrovich said. “I’m Lola and he’s Mr. Lola. Not too much has changed, except our ages. My husband is 80 now, but we’re still the young souls that started this place.”
“Some things are a little different this time around, but the soul is still here,” she added.
What is different? For starters, the napkins.
“Apparently nobody makes leopard print cloth napkins anymore,” said Ms. Domitrovich. “But we found these fabulous multicolored ones and I absolutely love them.”
Also new is the addition of chef Chad Ford. “He’s a great chef for the restaurant. I gave him all the old Lola’s menus and he put his own twist on some things.”
Rest assured, old favorites like Mussels ala Lola will still be offered, Ms. Domitrovich said.
Highlights from the new menu include magic dusted fried chicken wings served with a watermelon wedge, Georgia peach salad with grilled shrimp and Bad Martha’s Beer battered catfish with tiger fries.
Using DJs will also be new, Ms. Domitrovich said. “We’ll still have dancing and music seven nights a week but not as much live music. The age of live music is hard and just not in the cost. But we do have a couple of good local bands and some good DJs.”
“What I realized when Lola’s wasn’t open was that there was nowhere for people over 40 to dance,” Ms. Domitrovich added. “I like to fill that niche. At Lola’s someone who is 22 could be dancing next to a bunch of 80-year-olds.”
The grand opening and 20th anniversary party for Lola’s is Saturday, May 10 at 9 p.m.