Well, it’s happened folks – downtown Harrisonburg finally has a deli! Lola Mo’s Delicatessen opened last month in the newly renovated Keezell building. Open 7 days a week from 10am-7pm, they offer a verity of classic sandwiches (as well as options for vegans and vegetarians) or if you’re feeling creative you can make your own signature sandwich. Want something in addition? Try one of their daily soups or sides, and don’t forget the dessert case! Lauren (representing the La of the trifecta) was kind enough to answer our questions – read below to find out more about their inspiration and background.
Lauren: There are three owners of Lola Mo’s: Logan, Lauren, and Mollie. All three had different reasons for wanting to open a deli–Logan had been in the food service business for a long time and owned his own food truck (Rocktown Slops), but had begun experimenting with smoking and curing his own meats several years ago and was interested in creating his own sandwich shop/European-style deli in downtown Harrisonburg.
Lauren grew up in Connecticut in the suburbs of New York City and missed the food and the vibe you get from an authentic New York deli. She currently owns Midtowne Market (a bodega-style convenience store) and Midtowne Bottle Shop (a craft beer and cider shop) downtown, and thought a deli was the one thing missing in Harrisonburg.
Mollie became passionate about baking ten years ago, and was interested in working with Lauren on a deli with in-house baked goods. Once Logan joined the group the trifecta was complete!
What sets you apart from the many eateries in downtown Harrisonburg?
L: I think the main thing that sets us apart from all the other eateries downtown is that we’re not a ‘restaurant’ per se. We are a delicatessen, so we offer a lot more than most restaurants can, because we aren’t dealing with table service. Our focus is on getting the sandwiches out fast, so if people have a short window for a lunch break, they can still get a great meal in a short amount of time. We also offer a large wine selection along with bulk meat and cheese from Boar’s Head, gourmet mustards, pickles, chocolates, crackers, etc. We’re basically going for a big city deli meets European-style market kind of vibe, and I think we’ve hit the mark.
L: We don’t have too many ‘unusual’ sandwiches on our menu; we’re going for the classics: the Reuben, the Pastrami on Rye, and the Strawdermanwich (our version of an Italian sub) are our three best selling sandwiches by far, but we do have one sandwich that might be unusual to find in a deli: The Smofu, which is coated with the same peppercorn and coriander rub as our pastrami, and then smoked, sliced, and served with spicy brown mustard on toasted seeded rye bread. It’s essentially a non-meat version of our Pastrami on Rye, so it’s very popular with vegans and vegetarians.
Logan does the briskets for the corned beef and the pastrami in house, which is why the Reuben and the Pastrami on Rye are such big hits. The desserts Mollie makes for her bakery case are rotating, but she has some staples that are always there, like a mini black and white cookie, chocolate salami (meat-free!, but made to look like a salami log), and there’s always a couple cheesecakes and various pies as well.