Locals and tourists had eagerly anticipated the opening of Café Lola inside The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace ever since the new location was announced. The stunning pink cafés took Las Vegas by storm when the first location opened up in a quiet local part of South Summerlin back in 2018.
"With each location we have opened, there have been its own set of challenges," The pair told us. "However, opening our first Las Vegas Strip location definitely had its ups and downs. From converting a retail store into a café, the time of day we could work due to the mall schedule (hello, late nights!) to getting things on time and still dealing with delays from covid. Just to name a few! The challenges continued from start to finish and all the way to opening day! We can laugh at all these things now and say that we learned from it all. Even if this is our 5th location!"
Café Lola Forum Shops Entry (Courtesy Café Lola)
The menu of imaginative coffee drinks, comfort food favorites, and picturesque coffeeshop classics blended with the entrepreneurial know-how of two of the city's most ambitious women (Lin Jerome and Alexandra Lourdes) have turned the dreamy floral spaces into the ultimate Instagram destination in Las Vegas. The pair are the masterminds behind The Refined Agency and several other fantastic local concepts, including Saint Honoré Doughnuts and Beignets, Pizza Anonymous, and LolaXO.
The newest location on the Strip features some of the most beautiful decor you'll find at a Café Lola location—and that's a tall order. "The Caesars Palace is such an iconic staple in Las Vegas, and the Forum Shops is a part of that," Jerome and Lourdes told us. "Being a local Las Vegas business owner, it feels like such an honor being there. We have the perfect opportunity to continue to cater to those who know us and serve those who are visiting. We're inside such a popular destination for our first strip location!
Alexandra Lourdes and Lin Jerome at Café Lola (Courtesy Café Lola)
Though many local restaurateurs dream of a location on the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, the accomplishment remains a dream for many—but not Jerome and Lourdes. "As a local, you know how many amazing restaurants there are off the strip, but you also know there are such great places to eat on the strip," they said of their goal to open on the Strip. "We believe having a Strip location makes you want to elevate yourself. It's a completely different pace, experience, clientele and volume. It's amazing to be a part of the small group of local businesses that get to be a part of the Strip. Not to mention the exposure that a local, female owned café like ours can get. We get to bring Lola to so many more people."
The two have been opening and developing restaurant concepts for several years now; however, a high-profile location like the one at The Forum Shops did present a different set of challenges. So what differences came with a high-traffic tourist location? "From a business perspective, the cost and hiring," they explained. "We also wanted to incorporate menu items that really stuck out and that you felt you could only get at Café Lola. It's competitive, and there are so many options for guests to choose from."
Café Lola Forum Shops Menu Spread (Courtesy Café Lola)
Upon entering, you won't miss the enormous and stunning floral display that beckons visitors from the end of the corridor. "It is a labor of love! Being labeled an instagrammable spot, you have a certain reputation to uphold," Jerome and Lourdes said of the floral designs. "We have over 20,000 flowers, 4x the number of our other locations. They were installed by myself (Lin) and Tammy Porto with Wild Nomad Flower Co. We have an amazing, one-of-a-kind mural created by our dear friend Lola Sanchez from Oliver Gal Art. Also, being in The Forum Shops, we wanted to focus on details, from the light fixtures to the pink ombre wallpaper and the velvet chairs. Not to mention, we wanted to incorporate something special at this location. While each location has picture-perfect spots to take a selfie, this particular one has a secret room for photos!"
Café Lola Forum Shops (Courtesy Café Lola)
The Forum Shops location features some key differences as well—new menu items and different hours. "Our hours are different at this location; we stay open later. We have great brunch options, but we felt that it was important to incorporate dinner/late-night bites," the pair said of the changes. "So, we have house-made flatbreads, including a caprese and shrimp and garlic. They are also gluten-free! We are also testing a seafood dish, a mahi mahi filet. Plus, we have added a turkey burger, which has been a huge hit so far! There has also been the addition of some house-made pastries. We now have fresh baked cookies at the Forum location and bagels."
So, what's next for the dynamic duo? "That's a great question and one that we always ask ourselves," they told us. "We have grown so much and so quickly; we are always looking for our next opportunity. We have so big stuff coming up at Allegiant with expanding our pop-up location, and we would love to take Lola out of Nevada, where we aren't quite sure yet, but we see great potential in California, Arizona or even Utah. Much more to come, though!"
Café Lola Forum Shops (Courtesy Café Lola)