We had the good fortune of connecting with Lori Driscoll and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lori, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
People. Without question, it’s all about the people. It’s the people sitting at the table, our guests and the people standing at the table, my team. I sometimes wonder which side of the table is more important and I believe they are equal in importance. My team, my family, are what make my restaurant thrive. My chef and his crew are passionate about what they put on plates. Everything is made from scratch and we strive to source as much as we can from local purveyors. My front of house are passionate about making our guests’ experiences special. Consequently, most of our guests are regulars. Some have been coming and celebrating special events since we opened seven years ago. It’s pretty cool to see kids grow up who have been coming in since they were born. And so it is these people as well, our guests and extended family that inspire us to keep on keepin’ on. They got us through covid. They know our names and we know theirs. It’s kind of like Cheers, but better. 🙂

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When I opened my restaurant 7 years ago, I had virtually zero experience. The last time I had worked in a restaurant was in college 30 years prior. But I believe that it was this lack of experience that necessitated finding ways to do things that weren’t necessarily the norm but that made sense. And I believe the one thing that consistently sets us apart is the team. When I look around at other restaurants who have to limit their hours of service because they don’t have enough staff, I am so thankful to the group of people I have working with me. We are in the unusual position of having to create more service hours in order to give people the hours they need.

This great group, however, was a long time in the making. I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I made choices that were unfair that I wish I could unmake. I struggled with being a leader rather than a friend, and still do sometimes but at least now I recognize it.

The thing that keeps me going, the thing that I constantly share with my staff, is this: I’m not doing this for the money. There are so many easier ways to make money than owning a restaurant. I do this for the people in the room. To have a place where people feel supported and safe being themselves is something special. And as long as we have that, then the struggle is worthwhile. And I believe that they see it and feel it and work hard to be a part of it.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I’m in LA, I’m staying at the Sunset Marquis. Even if we’re catching a show downtown at The Ace or The Novo, I’m still staying at the Marquis. Favorite places to eat: Republique, Felix, Bottega Louis, Birdie G’s and Rustic Canyon. Favorite venues: Hollywood Bowl, The Greek, Ace and Novo. Love walking Abbott Kinney in Venice or 3rd St in Santa Monica. But I always end up at the Marquis.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
That’s a tough one, because there are many. I would say my wasband, Chris, because without him I would not have a restaurant. But since he moved out halfway through covid, leaving me to run the shop alone, I’d rather not shout out to him. I could say our son, Ethan, who was orphaned by the restaurant when we opened and who now works with me making pizza, deserves a tremendous amount of credit and recognition. It’s pretty great to see our relationship flourish after having been close to failing. I could also say my older sons and my staff who supported me and encouraged me and got me through the last year. Without them, I’d be a puddle on the side of the road. But ultimately, I believe that Ethan is the one who has suffered the pains as fully as I have, and who somehow continues to be by my side.

Website: lavolatapizzeria.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lavolatapizzeria/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-volata-pizzeria-redlands?osq=la+volata

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.