Meet Chef Allie Lyttle of LaLa’s Too

Chef Allie Lyttle of LaLa’s Too began her journey with food as a teenager who was just hoping for a paycheck. Lyttle, a wife and mom of two little girls, soon discovered a passion for cooking and baking that changed the course of her future.

“I actually got my first restaurant job when I was eighteen and in nursing school, and I just needed money to pay my bills. In doing so, it was like ‘Oh, this could be a career? I could do this for a living?’”

The news was probably a surprise to her parents.

“I come from a family where everybody went to college. I have five siblings that all have very serious jobs. A material science engineer, one of my sisters is in public health, a real estate broker, a bank broker, a child psychologist. I am definitely the odd woman out,” Lyttle said.

Rather than learn the craft through a culinary school, Lyttle got her education through hands-on experience. From Zingerman’s Roadhouse to Cornman Farms to The Standard, Lyttle was developing skills and finding her strengths along the way.

“I think a huge part of what we do is absolutely learned on the job,” she said. “The structure of culinary school is so not real life in any capacity. Having on-the- job learning or education is so much more real.”

Chef-made meals to go

During the spring of 2020, when the pandemic was wreaking havoc on the food industry, Lyttle was transitioning at The Standard, trying to pivot from inside dining to outside dining and finally, to a pop up model that offered carryout. In the process, LaLa’s was created.

LaLa’s was bred out of the questions ‘What kind of restaurants do we like to go to? What kind of foods do we like to eat?’ I would classify it as aggressively scratch progressive new American, which is a fancy way of saying comfort food done really well.”

Two people at a desk.

The pop up concept became so successful that they began offering their menu Wednesday through Sunday. Soon,  LaLa’s Too in Brighton opened, allowing the offerings to continue after the Ann Arbor location closed.

LaLa’s Too in Brighton is our grab and go concept. For the people that are sick of take out and drive thru, but also really don’t want to do the Hello, Fresh thing. We do a new menu every two weeks. Soup, salad, sandwich, entrees, snacks. It’s all handmade by chefs. We package it up specifically with the thought in mind that you will reheat it throughout the week, and be able to have chef made food at home in a much more reasonable capacity.”

Grace for the moment

Lyttle understands the needs of busy families. As a mother and chef, she manages to strike a balance between her roles.

“For me, there’s an acceptance that you are never doing it all. The priorities are always shifting. My daughters are always number one for me, so everything else has to bend around them,” she said.

“You can’t give everything 100% every day and then have grace for yourself. No one is doing that. No one owns multiple businesses and is parenting young children, and has a perfectly kept up house, and has a well curated social media presence and is dieting, and is exercising, and is drinking all their water. Nope! It is giving yourself the grace that you are doing what you can when you can. That’s a lot, and that’s enough.”

LaLa’s continues to look for a brick and mortar restaurant. In the meantime, they offer catering and pop ups at local events.

“We are always doing pop ups. We are going to do Taste of Brighton in July. I have a cooking class at Angela Hospice in April that is free and open to the public. It’s for folks that are trying to get excited about cooking for one.”

Get to know Allie Lyttle

Where did you grow up?

A family picture.

Michigan, born and raised.

Tell us about your family!

Husband Benjamin, and two daughters, Eleanor (5) and Olive (1.5). We also have a dachshund named Vienna.

What do you like to do on a day off?

Spend time with my girls and read.

Any hobbies?

I’m an avid reader!

Are you a book person or a movie person?

Book person, for sure.

When your family requests their favorite meal, what is it?

My husband genuinely eats everything you can imagine (but salmon isn’t his favorite!) and Olive follows closely behind. Eleanor, on the other hand, pretty much always has buttered noodles. It’s humbling. Ha!

What’s your favorite cookie, and what Starbucks order do you pair it with?

I love a brown butter chocolate chunk cookie. My Starbucks order is pretty specific: a venti latte, sometimes hot and sometimes iced, blonde espresso, 5 shots, oat milk and three pumps of caramel.

Do you have a playlist on rotation when you are cooking or baking?

I’m almost always listening to Beyoncé or old school rap.

What’s your favorite season in Michigan?


Dream vacation?

I’d love to go all over Europe with my girls.

Favorite local gem?

Huge fan of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Cardamom, BTB Burrito (the quesadilla is an unsung hero, or get a ½ and ½ burrito, always add queso!). I always love Roos Roast.

Advice for mompreneurs?

You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t expect that you can. Ask for help. It’s never a weakness. You’re doing great!

Recent Articles