In the Loop

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July Issue View more

By Annemarie Mannion 

It all started with a family recipe.Growing up in Mexico, Mayra Serna learned to make churros from her mom. With the April opening of Lola’s Handcrafted Churros in Lisle, Serna now has her own shop specializing in these fried-dough curved sticks that are crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth fluffy on the inside. 

The idea for Lola’s was born after Serna, who previously worked in the hospitality industry, became a stay-at-home mom and craved to do something on her own. “I wanted to feel like I could come home and talk about my day like I used to,” she says. “I wanted to feel empowered.” And the name Lola’s just made sense to her. “I feel like Lola gave the place its identity that I was looking for,” she explains. “To me, Lola is fun, pretty, feminine, but Lola is also a powerhouse—strong, great drive, positive energy, all that is needed to be part of great things in life and also make great things happen. So whoever walks in and feels the place’s vibe basically is Lola.”

Creating a menu featuring her personal twists on churros was not a quick process, however. “It took me five years to decide how they were going to be,” Serna says. 

Popular in Spain and across Latin American, churros are traditionally rolled in cinnamon-sugar and sometimes stuffed with fruit or cream fillings. But Lola’s doesn’t sell typical churros—as evidenced by the half-decade Serna spent perfecting the taste and presentation. For her interpretation, Serna puts the garnishes on the outside of the churros and offers a range of eclectic flavors, such as Cookie Butter Crunch, Birthday, and S’mores.Churro loops in any of these flavors are sold alone ($5) or dipped in a cup of soft-serve ice cream and surrounded by such sweet fixings as pieces of chocolate or cookies ($10). A box of six mini loop churros runs $11 for traditonal cinnamom and sugar or $15 for a variety. As for dunking fried-dough treats, Lola’s offers a range of both hot and cold drinks, including lattes, horchatas, and lemonades.

Serna says the feedback she gets from customers—especially the youngest—makes her day. “I love hearing little kids say ‘I love it. I can’t get enough of it,’ ” she says.

Photos by Jen Banowetz