Lush Lola’s is a culmination of many years of experience and experimentation. Shannon has been in the food business nearly all her life, starting with her mom’s concession business as a teenager. She has traveled all over Minnesota and North Dakota to nearly every major festival at some point in her life. At one point, she was working every summer weekend at a festival in addition to a regular job and planning her wedding! Since that summer, she has also managed her mom’s food stand at the Minnesota State Fair every year for nearly 20 years! Jim has also been a part of the enterprise for most of those years.
You could say that food and entrepreneurship run in the family because in 2009, Shannon and Jim created their own business selling organically raised pork and eggs (and sometimes baked goods), at Twin Cities area farmers’ markets as well as cooking their products at a handful of local events. They primarily sold their unique selection of packaged and frozen meats directly to consumers and even had a Twin Cities delivery route. It was a great family business because their three kids could travel with them and learn about business in addition to helping with the animals. 2011 proved to be a rough year for farming, however, and despite a high demand for their products and an expansion that moved them into the Lakes Area, the farm was unable to remain in operation.
A Star is Born
Fortunately, because Shannon has always had a passion for high-quality homemade food and experimenting with recipes, it was only natural that the farming experience helped her and Jim become quite skilled at cooking pork and knowing the various attributes of such a versatile meat. One recipe in particular, the Drunken Pig sandwich, caught festival-goers by storm the first time it was introduced and has quickly established itself as a menu staple at every event they have attended ever since! In 2011 they were at a festival in Excelsior near a cute little shop called Petunia’s. Shannon went in during a break and noticed a completely wonderful piggy bank tucked in a corner and when told it wasn’t for sale, proceeded to beg the store owner to sell it! Thankfully the owner did and Shannon called her Lola (to Jim’s eye-rolling), because when WE Fest called in 2012, they decided that not only would they bring their food to even more fun festival-goers, but they would officially call themselves “Lush Lola’s”. This was not only to honor Lola as a source of inspiration but to play with the fact that they were having fun cooking with alcohol! The Tipsy Cow and the Wobbly Chicken were added to the festival and catering menus in 2012, followed by plans and recipes for Hog Roasts, Grilled Bourbon Steaks and backyard cookouts for the 2013 catering menu. So 2012 really became the year that Lush Lola’s was able to expand into more festivals and events than ever before and Lola became famous in her own right! Since then, Lola has served tens of thousands of guests at almost 200 weddings and numerous lake parties, military trainings and corporate events. In 2016, Lola and her family moved into the Smokey Hills Wilderness Retreat in Osage, MN. Lola is serving up her specialties to the public at the restaurant for Sunday Brunch every Sunday Memorial weekend through Labor Day weekend and for on-site groups and weddings.
If you have never met Lola, you need to. She is a fun-loving, sassy pig that loves to be photographed and share her recipes with the world. You never know what she may be wearing or “saying” next! You can follow her on Facebook or Pinterest. If you want Shannon, Jim, Lola or any of the rest of their crew at your next event, let us know or sign up for our newsletter! We are always working on new and exciting ideas and recipes!