"Life is really hectic and stressful. I wanted to provide an environment where people can stop and connect," she said. "The people of Charleston have been very supportive of me from the get-go."
Charbonniez hasn't changed much since she opened, except for developing relationships with local suppliers of seasonal products and changing the wall colors.
Originally beige, the walls are painted in warm shades of coral, turquoise and green and hung with Charly Hamilton's bright paintings and works by other local artists. Psychiatrist and art appreciator Gina Puzzuoli lends a changing selection of works from her collection.
Lola's does a bustling take out business, partially because of the limited seating. Customers pick up baked, or partially baked pizzas to eat elsewhere. For a piping hot pizza, customers pick up a half-baked pizza and pop it into their oven at home to finish it off.
All the produce used, except the artichokes, is fresh. She changes pizza toppings, salads and the beer selection according to the season, but doesn't mess with her most requested items.
The three most popular pizzas are Spicy Shrimp and Sausage with goat cheese and mozzarella; Spinach and Feta with roasted red peppers, sweet red onions and mozzarella drizzled in a balsamic reduction; and Artichoke and Goat Cheese with kalamata olives, roasted garlic and mozzarella.
Recently, Charbonniez fulfilled a goal she pledged when she first started Lola's. Once a month, she provides pizza for a party for women and children staying at Hope House, the YWCA shelter for victims of domestic violence.
"It started out as a party to celebrate those who have birthdays that month because no one really does that for them," she said. "Then I realized they don't usually stay there long enough to celebrate birthdays, so instead we're celebrating their survival."
Along with pizza, residents received presents. Charbonniez is looking for other businesses to partner with her on the gift-giving.
Lola's, 1038 Bridge Road in Charleston, opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call 304-343-5652.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.