“Lo-Lo’s” means one thing in the Phoenix metro: hot, crispy fried chicken. So when a storefront appeared on Van Buren Street with a sign reading “Lo-Lo Jr’s”, the questions started flying.
Yes, it’s the same Lo-Lo restaurant family, this time run by Larry White III, the son of Larry “Lo-Lo” White and great-grandson of Mrs. White, the Southern chef and owner Mrs. White’s Golden Rule. Cafe on Jefferson Street.
“I just wanted to help carry on my family legacy,” says Larry Jr., sitting in a red cubicle inside his recently opened fast-casual restaurant.
The space, currently fairly empty, features a row of booths, a few bar stools, and a walk-in order window where Larry Jr. prepares chicken and fries for customers.
Lo-Lo Jr’s first day of operation was Wednesday January 29th and the restaurant is in a soft opening phase. Larry Jr. says he hopes to have a grand opening in about a month.
The Legacy of the White Family Restaurant in Phoenix
The White family has been cooking Southern fare in Phoenix for decades, ever since Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe opened in 1964. The restaurant quickly became known for its fried chicken, pork chops, oxtail, and catfish. Although Mrs. White now plays a more secondary role, the restaurant is still open daily.
His grandson, Larry White, known to friends and family as “Lo-Lo”, worked in the cafe, tending the tables until he was old enough to help with the food.
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In 2002 he opened Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles using lots of advice from his grandmother to create his own recipes. Now the restaurant has locations in Scottsdale, Gilbert and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Larry also runs Monroe’s Hot Chicken, which opened in downtown Phoenix last year.
The affinity for food runs in the family. Another of Ms. White’s grandsons, Christian Buze, has opened multiple locations of his southern Root and Soul restaurant in downtown’s DeSoto Central Market and another in Scottsdale. Both sites have since closed, but a third may be in the works.
Larry’s son, Larry White III, also worked at Lo-Lo’s as a waiter and then manager before branching off to create Lo-Lo Jr’s.
“I worked there since I was a kid,” he says. “I love serving people, making them smile.”
What to expect at Lo-Lo Jr’s
On a cold Wednesday afternoon, a worker wearing a helmet and an orange jacket walks into the new location. Looking at the menu, he jokes that he wants Mrs. White’s oxtails before ordering chicken.
“She was just here yesterday,” Jr. replies, talking about his great-grandmother while filling the customer’s take-out box with extra spicy sauce.
The new restaurant is in its early stages, but name recognition draws customers inside. Larry Jr. and an employee chat with friends through the order window of the new fast-casual restaurant while the chicken sizzles in the fryer behind them.
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Larry Jr. learned spice blends and recipes from his family, and soon, he says, he’ll be hanging their pictures on the walls. Currently, the restaurant is a work in progress, he said of the location just east of I-10.
“I love this place,” Jr. says of the area. “But it could do with a little life, some good Southern golden fried chicken.”
Here’s what’s on the menu right now
While Lo-Lo Jr’s offers an extensive menu on its website, Larry Jr. starts with a condensed version of the essentials.
The menu includes:
- Chicken sandwich, regular ($4.25) or deluxe with cheese, lettuce and tomato ($5).
- Chicken fillets ($2 each).
- Honey butter chicken biscuit ($3.50).
- Waffle Stixx ($1.50 each).
- Fries ($2).
- Sweet potato fries ($2).
- Mac and cheese ($3).
The restaurant is currently open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and Larry Jr. hopes to expand to include late-night dining to catch the “after-club crowd.” But for now, it sticks to serving lunch and dinner.
Details: Lo-Lo Jr’s, 2145 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix. lolojrs.com.
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