On Saturday, February 11, 2017, I had lunch at Sweet Nola’s Southern Food Lounge at 688 North Loudoun Street in Winchester, Virginia. Its parking lot along the south side of the building is accessible from both Loudoun and Cameron Streets, and has handicapped parking. Nola’s is closed on Sunday and Monday.
Hours are Lunch, Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 PM-3:00 PM; Dinner, Wednesday & Thursday, 5:00 PM-8:00 PM; Friday & Saturday, 5:00 PM-9:00 PM. The telephone is 540-667-6652, and the Web page is www.sweetnolas.com. Nola’s is also on Facebook, which lists its monthly and other evening music events.
A patio on the building’s street side has four sets of metal tables and chairs. Entry is from the parking lot side of the building, near the front, where you can hear loud New Orleans Jazz before you go in. Retro items here include a pay telephone and gas pump, neither is functional. A scattering of oyster shells next to the building is part of the atmosphere.
There is no vestibule. The entry area is a small room with the cashier’s counter on your right. On the left a lounging space has casual seating with sofas, a table with games, and an overstuffed chair.
The main dining room is beyond this area and has booths along the front and side walls. Tables are also elsewhere in this room, and a honky-tonk piano is against the side wall to your right.
The walls have all sorts of decorations relating to Louisiana, New Orleans, and the Mardi Gras. Strings of beads are all around on the front door, and on the walls, this relates to the tradition of bead throwing to the crowds from the Mardi Gras Parade floats.
Lighting is by four small, mismatched retro chandeliers. The music I heard on the parking lot is also inside, but not overly loud. The place is somewhat noisy, but the overall ambiance is cozy.
The single-sheet, double-sided menu’s categories include Embarkations: Small Plates, Uppity Starts, Ala Carte & Salads, Artisan Soups, Gumbos and Beans n’ Rice. The flip side lists Po’ Boys, Assietes a’ Desserts, and Beverages.
Po’ Boys, the Cajun version of submarine sandwiches, are 7.5 inches; a Short Boy is half of a Po’ Boy. One item was Alligator Sausage. Beverages include assorted Bottle Sodas, genuine Luzianne Iced Tea, Coffee, and Hot Tea varieties in a pot.
Today’s Daily Special was a combination of any Short Boy and a cup of any of the soups. I chose a Hot Sausage Short Boy and a cup of Creole Tomato Bisque. My beverage was a 12-oz. bottle of Stewart Key Lime Soda, made with real sugar, with a glass of ice and a straw. It had 180 calories and no caffeine.
The sandwich was on a split half roll, piled high with slices of sausage, grilled peppers, and onions, over shredded lettuce and cabbage. It was too thick to eat by hand, and I used a knife and fork to tackle it.
The sandwich was very good, but the next time I order a Half Boy I’ll ask that the lettuce and cabbage be omitted. The soup was also very good, and neither item was too spicy.
I don’t usually have dessert with lunch, but Banana’s Foster Pudding sounded too enticing to pass up. It was served in a two-handled glass mug, with chunks of banana immersed in southern pudding, topped with a mound of whipped cream holding a buttery shortbread cookie. It was sinfully rich.
Sweet Nola’s is the eleventh food operation I have seen at this location. It opened in May 2015, and I first reviewed it a month later. Nola is an acronym for New Orleans, LA. When I moved here in 1982 it was a Bulgarian restaurant called the Café Sofia.
After they relocated to Valley Avenue, 688 North Loudoun became Jesse’s Place, and then a Mexican restaurant that didn’t last a year before it was replaced by an operation simply called Charlie’s.
Other eateries here were Carolina Pizza, followed by Anthony’s Pizza. Next was Jimbo’s, which opened in the fall of 2010. It was replaced in the summer of 2011 by Knossos, a Greek place that didn’t last very long. It was followed by the Old Town Diner, with the Seven Countries Family Restaurant as the tenth occupant. I rate Nola’s as a keeper.
Totally incredible! Events, family occasions or dinner for two. Great food and Cajun hospitality thanks!!! Cheryl and Sweet Nola team
We’ve been to Sweet Nola’s a number of times and have always experienced the best in hospitality and service. Coming from a New Orleans family, I’m always leery of those that claim to be experts at Cajun Cooking. Cheryl and her team at Sweet Nola’s never disappoint.
We recently decided to have a 50th anniversary party for my parents. They’re from N.O. and were married there. We also invited family up from N.O. for the event, so it had to be authentic and it had to be good.
Cheryl was a pleasure to work with. We crafted a menu with selections from the regular menu to other ‘special treats’. She went above and beyond in helping us prepare. On the night of the big event, everything was perfect. Props to Megan who took great care of our rowdy group.
Every person in attendance thought the evening was perfect. The combination of music, food, service, and southern hospitality brought us all back to New Orleans, at least for one night. Cheryl, thanks for making my parents 50th a night to remember. We look forward to seeing you soon.