Larry White Jr. (better known as Lo-Lo) has big plans for the original Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles, the hugely successful business he opened in a tiny house in downtown Phoenix 10 years ago. By Labor Day weekend, the fried chicken king will have moved the original operation to a larger building next door (1220 S. Central Avenue), which he is in the process of renovating.
The original location will remain open until the new one is up and running.
White says the new location will feature concrete floors, red brick walls and a small stage, where customers will be treated to live jazz and live gospel. A separate banquet room and a private VIP room are also in the works, the latter featuring a glass wall overlooking the activity in the kitchen.
Famous for his cornbread and red velvet cake, White is also planning a large bakery for the new building. Customers will be able to watch cakes being iced and pies (a new offering) coming out of the oven.
But that's not all. He may be a fried chicken lover first, but White, who also has a soft spot for a hearty breakfast, plans to offer full-fledged breakfasts -- and open earlier -- once operations at the new location have found a groove. That really isn't much of a stretch, given that waffles, eggs, biscuits, home fries, grits and breakfast meats are already on the menu.
The man famous for his cinnamon-flecked, vanilla-scented waffles is also considering "getting into the pancake business," and to that end, he's purchased an eight-foot griddle.
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There's just one little glitch. White is considering getting a liquor license, but his grandmother Mrs. White -- the family matriarch who founded Mrs. White's Golden Rule Café and gave her grandson his start -- isn't happy about the idea at all. We'll see how that one shakes out.
White's business really took off when he opened a second Lo-Lo's in a South Scottsdale strip mall in 2009. Customers who'd been unwilling to drive to downtown Phoenix for lunch have since become chicken and waffle fans.
For all his big dreams and plans, White admits, "I'm going to miss the little store. It's all I could afford when I opened my doors with a small following. The atmosphere, the brick walls, just knowing this is where I started from . . . "