With every bite, every guest can taste the heart and soul of Larry “Lo-Lo” White, who was born to continue his grandmother’s legacy of cooking and serving great food in a warm, homelike atmosphere.
Today, he celebrates 24 years in the food and beverage industry as the owner and operator of Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles with locations in Arizona, Texas, and Nevada and popular Phoenix eateries Brunch & Sip and Monroe’s Hot Chicken. Lo-Lo’s recently opened its newest location close to the famous Las Vegas Strip, and already lines are waiting out of the door
It took over 10 years, but White has tirelessly perfected his now-famous fried chicken and homemade waffle recipes. He has developed his own waffle mix, seasoned salt, maple syrup, and hot sauce.
In fact, the question “Which came first, the chicken or the waffle?” has been asked.
As far as White is concerned, “it doesn’t matter because one just isn’t the same without the other.”
His obsession is cooking the juiciest, most flavorful fried chicken and the fluffiest, most melt-in-your-mouth waffles. This has created something of an underground soul food revolution. In addition to its famous chicken & waffles, a full menu of scratch-made soul food favorites is available. Another choice is Uncle Brotha’s Shrimp & Grits, seven fried jumbo shrimp sautéed with mushrooms, scallions, bacon, a zest of lemon, a splash of hot sauce, and topped with cheddar cheese served over a bed of grits. ABC’s Shrimp Mac & Cheese is a classic mac & cheese served with seven grilled jumbo shrimp, bacon, caramelized onions, and a homemade buttermilk biscuit.
As a child, White was put to work bussing tables in his father’s and grandmother’s soul food restaurant, Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café, still serving Southern and soul food since 1964 in Phoenix. The experience sang to White’s being, and it wasn’t long before he would start experimenting with his own recipes. White would greet guests, run back to cook the food, and then don a chicken outfit and distribute flyers to potential clients.
As a young man, White first followed a dangerous path. After finding his way back, his father and grandmother gave him the opportunity to showcase what is now known as Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles on the weekends.
“My grandmother made the most amazing pancakes from scratch,” explains White. “I bought a waffle iron and tried her pancake batter as a waffle. It was just as good, but I needed to make it my own, adding spices. My waffles are so delicious; you can eat them without syrup.”
Since Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café was closed on the weekends, White would reopen the eatery at 9 p.m. on Friday and work until the early morning hours and did this for over five years. When he opened his first brick-and-mortar, it was only 800 square feet and could only seat 20 customers and operated that restaurant for over 10 years.
It started to gain traction in the community. It garnered the attention-turned-devotion of folks like Charles Barkley, Shaq, and Muhammad Ali, turning Lo-Lo’s into a destination for authentic soul food in Phoenix.
As for Brunch & Sip, White and his wife wanted to create a unique brunch experience.
“Food isn’t just our business; it’s our life,” explains White. “My partner in life and business is no stranger to the kitchen, either. I rely on her taste and honesty to create the recipes you see on our lassic brunch menu. If she doesn’t like a recipe, it’s back to the drawing board until I find something that’s taste-tester-approved and restaurant-ready. Nothing goes in this place that doesn’t get her seal of approval. As brunch lovers ourselves, we started to notice that restaurants seemed to compete with one another to figure out who could make the strangest variation of breakfast foods.”
“So, together, we set out to build a better brunch spot, one with a menu stacked with unfussy favorites made with fresh ingredients and a whole lot of heart. We pride ourselves on cooking up soulful sweet and savory classics that taste homemade but better. Each of our menu items is made with the utmost attention to detail, from our signature biscuits and gravy to our fruit-infused butter to our spicy Bloody Marys. Our comfort classics are made for lazy Sundays, celebrations, family get-togethers, and the morning after a long night out.”
Monroe’s Hot Chicken is all about the chicken Nashville style with temps from no heat to What the Cluck!
Photos line the walls of his restaurants. His grandmother Elizabeth White lives in San Diego, enjoying life at age 98. His great-great-great grandparents are featured, and generational photos honor his family. His great aunt is 107 years of age, and his great uncle is 94.