Lolita in Tremont has been closed since a fire this past January ravaged most of the upper floors of the building.
Despite significant smoke and water damage, chef and owner Michael Symon vowed to rebuild the restaurant, even if it took a year to do so. Now the chef is saying that when the restaurant does reopen, it will not be as Lolita.
“It was an incredibly tough decision based on two things,” Symon explains. “I walk into that space now and it’s completely gutted and even when I say the word Lolita it’s just too emotional. There’s that and the fact that when Lolita opened 11 years ago it was really unique and different. Now, there are a lot of restaurants like Lolita. We want to continue to be unique and different.”
That new restaurant is tentatively being called Sherla’s Chicken & Oysters, named after Symon’s wife and partner Liz's mother Sherla, who is from Georgia.
Symon describes the concept as “very casual and fun.”
Early plans call for a menu filled with raw oysters, smoked seafood boards, charcuterie and cheese platters, and fried and wood-roasted chicken served with sticky buns. And something that will make all those vegetarians out there happy: Sherla’s will have a large number of veggie-based dishes.
“We’ll have a ton of wood-grilled vegetables,” he says. “I think a large vegetable selection is needed in this city – and there’s not a ton of great fried chicken in these parts.”
The rebranding also allows Symon and the team to completely redo the interior, which has been around in one form or another for 20 years.
“As awesome as Lolita was, now we get to come back and do something new, which is always fun.”
Look for Sherla’s to open in about a year, says Symon, which gives them time to plan, test and tweak the concept.