With news that Lala’s Little Nugget shuttered temporarily and transferred owners, there’s been a lot of questions as to what it means for the iconic dive bar. Eater asked Max Moreland, one of the partners behind the new Lala’s at FBR Management Group, what regulars should expect once it reopens this week. Moreland used to go to Lala’s after playing hockey games nearby and appreciated its midwest atmosphere.
1. Christmas is safe at Lala’s. "The spirit is not changing," Moreland said. "We want the feel of the bar to stay the same." The interior will stay mostly the same and, yes, the jukebox will remain. However, they will make what he calls "TLC" changes to "expand" on the holiday atmosphere with an ornament wall, more tinsel, and vintage photos.
2. Frances Lala wanted to sell the bar to create retirement packages for herself and her staff, which means there will eventually be a different team in place with the new incarnation. She isn’t aware of any changes FBR plans on making to the bar.
3. FBR, which consists of Moreland, Matt Luckie, and Anngay Tenney, along with Stubb’s Ryan Garrett and Mike Levine, became attached to bar in early summer. Levine, who lived in Brentwood, and Kelly Chappell, co-owner of Galaxy Cafe, appreciated what the group did with the relaunch of Mean Eyed Cat. They wanted the same for Lala’s. FBR officially signed the papers to the bar on Wednesday, September 2.
4. The new Stubb’s BBQ setup will take over the empty retail space next door to Lala’s. The wall between the two businesses will become a ordering window. The menu will be similar to Mean Eyed Cat’s, with meat by the pound, sides, salads, and dessert available. Food is "another layer to offer customers," said Moreland. It also doesn’t hurt that the new owners also oversee Stubb’s.
5. As for drinks, the famed Bloody Marys will stay on the menu. They plan on eventually expanding the draft beer options to eight or ten, as well as more liquor. Moreland said they’re "adaptable and amenable to the neighborhood and clientele" — whatever they want, they’ll get.
6. A patio is in the works in the front of the building to expand the bar’s capacity and add some outdoor seating. "It’s Austin, having a patio is a great thing to do," he said.
7. At first, the bar will be open for its usual five days a week, closed on Sunday and Monday. Hours will eventually be expanded to seven days.
8. Moreland is happy that he and his colleagues are "able to protect one of the original institutions of North Burnet." He also appreciates the area’s changes, which "we’ve seen in the last ten years, in particular the growth and expansion of Burnet Road," he said, citing Pinthouse Pizza, Hat Creek, Lick, and forthcoming Barley Swine.
9. There is still no set reopening date, but it should happen by the end of this week.