Lolita. [Drawing: Facebook]
Remember those exciting new openings headed Portland's way in the coming months? Well, today Portland Food Map filled in a lot of the blanks on one of them: the previously nameless restaurant from Guy and Stella Hernandez going into the old Hilltop Coffee spot on Munjoy Hill will be called Lolita. The Hernandezes closed their well-regarded Bar Lola a few months ago and moved their Hilltop Coffee a few doors away into the former Bar Lola space. According to Lolita's brand new Facebook page, "our mission will be to serve you thoughtful, modern American cuisine with a nod to the Mediterranean. Our veteran culinary team will make use of Maine's bounty from the land, sea, and sky."
PFM says the 28-seat restaurant is shooting for a May 2014 opening. Like Bar Lola, Lolita will be an intimate dining spot, but it sounds like the new place will be open longer hours and be more approachable for those who just want a drink or snack, rather than a multi-course meal. Here's the official description:
The demure yet elegant Lolita, atop Munjoy Hill, is decidedly modern American, but also embraces the flavors of the Mediterranean. Upon entering, guests are greeted with the warm glow of the custom wood-fired grill, and rough-hewn walls adorned with Lolita's thoughtfully curated wine collection. The setting is reminiscent of an Old World bodega.
Open late morning to night, guests are invited to take a seat at the long zinc bar or cozy banquette and enjoy a quick midday bite of plump, warm olives, a local cheese, or perhaps a rosy, ribbon of jamón sliced using an imported, Ferrari-red meat slicer. Guests might finish with a cup of rich, crema-topped Fair Trade roast, hand-drawn from the antique, lever-pulled espresso machine.
Alternatively, patrons may choose to linger well into the evening, enjoying hand-crafted cocktails and dishes meant for sharing – tender spit-roasted suckling pig, or game birds gently smoked on racks.
Day or evening, local bounty from land, sea or sky is prepared by hand with a thoughtfulness and care that harkens back to an era when source and sustenance were deeply connected and honored within the kitchen.
At the guest tables, emphasis is placed on the flourishes: glinting stemware, well-balanced utensils, and fine linen napkins.
The setting, cuisine, service, and attention to detail combine to elevate every dining experience, and round out Lolita's rustic elegance.