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lolos resto

Lolos, typical restaurants of Saint Martin

The story behind “lolos” goes back to the 17th century and the days of colonization. It all began in the warehouses that were set up in the middle of plantations. Slaves and merchandise were stored there prior to being used or sold.

Lolo cuisine grand air

Over time, the slaves’ living quarters became whole districts. These districts gradually formed small villages. The warehouses remained and became local food outlets. Retailers used a sale unit called a “lot”. So the name of these outlets naturally evolved to “lolo”.

Lolo

The first lolos had bar areas which were very popular because they stayed open late. The owners would share local gossip over a drink and keep a tab open for their regular customers. Socially, the lolos played a vital role outside of working hours. These neighborhood hot spots became important drivers of social cohesion and are now deep-rooted in the heritage of the West Indies. It isn’t surprising then, that the bar side gradually developed, transforming yesterday’s lolos into today’s little traditional restaurants that draw many a visitor in.

Crab and rice

Saint Martin’s Modern Day Lolos

Nowadays, on Saint Martin and many other islands of the West Indies, a lolo is a small, traditional restaurant (about 300 square feet) centered around a barbecue. The kitchen is entirely open and the tables are arranged around the cooking area and along the vast terrace that generally spills out onto the street. This picturesque culinary temple oozes with authenticity and serves up all the local specialties. On the menu you’ll find chicken curry, conch stew, fresh fish from the day’s catch, spicy shrimp, oxtail, crab colombo, and the famous crab and rice.

First and foremost, a lolo is a meeting place where high spirits and modest prices are the name of the game. Saint Martin’s lolos have remained rooted in their land and traditions, and still fulfill a social purpose. They are the best place to experience the community spirit and hospitality that define Saint Martin. You’ll soon be longing to return!

Lolo vue jour

The Lolos of Saint Martin

They are located mainly in two parts of the island. In Marigot, the Creole capital, and the fishing village of Grand Case.

Journey Cake cuisine lolo
Cuisine bbq

Marigot’s lolos are right on the water, next to the ferry terminal.

They don’t take reservations over the phone. It’s first come, first served. They open daily.

  • Bruno’s Place 
  • Chez Coco 
  • Cisca’s Delicacy
  • Coconut Man
  • Les Délices Créoles – Rue de la République
  • Enoch’s Place 
  • Rosemary’s 

In Grand Case, the lolos are located on the main street in the heart of the town, which is also along the seafront. They are all together, next to one another.

They don’t take reservations over the phone. It’s first come, first served. They open daily.

Lolos Grande Case SXM ©ClémentLouineau

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