Medford couple set to open second Southern restaurant, in Middle Island


Middle Island is getting a new restaurant — and it’s coming to a prominent location.

The husband-and-wife team behind Lola’s Southern Cuisine is taking over the former Cow Palace location along Middle Country Road.

The popular butcher shop is being completely renovated to turn into a full-service Southern restaurant. In August, Cow Palace consolidated its operations to the Rocky Point location, allowing co-owner Maria DiPiazza to shift focus and pursue a degree in American Sign Language.

“We’re calling this location Lola’s 2.0,” said Tiffany Darwood, who owns Lola’s with her husband Darrell. “It’s going to be a bit more updated and stylish (compared to the original location).”

The Medford couple first entered the restaurant business in 2021, taking over Carolina Kitchen, a Southern-inspired eatery, in Medford, located at 2717a Route 112 (formerly Quiznos).

Since the space was already set up and new, the Darwoods were able to get right to cooking — but, stylistically, it didn’t have their imprint. The Middle Island location will.

“This will be original, our own,” said Tiffany.

Cooking runs in the family for both Tiffany and Darrell.

Tiffany grew up in the kitchen, always helping her mom make meals, everything from breakfast to dinner. “I always had a passion for it,” said Tiffany, who is also a registered nurse.

For Darrell, he started a Southern-style cake shop in Brooklyn over a decade ago called Doc’s Cake Shop. There, he serves a variety of desserts he learned to bake from his grandmother, such as sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, banana pudding, and more.

“We stumbled upon this location in Medford; it was a great opportunity and we jumped on it,” said Tiffany. “From there, it has taken off.”

They named it Lola’s after combining the names of their two daughters: Londyn and Layla.

The Darwood family. (Courtesy photo)

At Lola’s, you can get everything from pork and beef ribs to fried catfish to traditional soul food sides, like candied yams, collard greens, and mac-and-cheese. They also serve up desserts from Darrell’s bakery.

After early success, they quickly outgrew the space.

The Darwoods get meats from Cow Palace in Rocky Point. That’s when they heard of this opportunity. It took one tour to sell them.

Darrell said, “We saw the space, as far as the refrigeration and freezer, and the kitchen is much bigger. We said, ‘Wow, this is something that we need,’ especially with our catering services. This was the right move.”

The new Lola’s will have a kitchen with refrigeration storage that is four times bigger than what they have now. It will also have sit-down service, unlike the Medford location.

The couple, currently transforming the butcher shop into the restaurant, is looking to open in Middle Island by early summer.

Check back with for updates.

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