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Friends & Family, the highly anticipated passion project of Chef Daniel Mattern and Pastry Chef/Baker Roxana Jullapat, will open on May 9 in LA’s Thai Town neighborhood. The hybrid dining/takeaway concept developed with partners Ash and Niroupa Shah (Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Donuts & Coffee) will offer a market-driven, vegetable and grain-centric menu for breakfast and lunch to start and dinner down the line, as well as a bakery/marketplace that will feature a selection of Jullapat’s preserves, baked goods and retail items.
“I’m thrilled about the prospect of touching every single area of the pastry kitchen,” says Jullapat, who rose to renown in LA’s dining scene working alongside Mattern at Campanile, Lucques, AOC, and, eventually, the duo’s own concept, Cooks County. “In restaurants, the focus is on plated desserts and brunch pastries. But in this setting, my baking team and I can really go to town making breads, viennoiserie, specialty cakes, chocolate bars, and my favorite, ice cream. We were really lucky to find this awesome space that will allow us to do all this.”
Early risers will be able to enjoy items such as buckwheat pancakes (with house made preserves and barrel aged maple syrup), breakfast galettes, and heirloom grain viennoiserie, as well as creative options for the health conscious. Those stopping in for lunch can enjoy a selection of hot or cold sandwiches like the Hippie (which features pea mash, avocado cucumber, sunflower sprouts, and feta & herb dressing on sprouted wheat), seasonal farmer’s market salads and vegetarian dishes like the Bowl (with brown rice, sprouted legumes, avocado, egg, pickled beets, cucumber, nori, and yuzu-miso vinaigrette) in addition to responsibly-sourced meat and seafood mains, like the Dungeness Crab Quiche with Meyer lemon crème fraiche. Eventually, Friends & Family will also open for dinner, serving heartier items complemented by beer & wine.
“We’ve done tons of research inside and outside the kitchen for ‘Friends & Family,’ says Mattern. “And after a year of working on putting this project together, we’re anxious to carry out all the ideas we’ve written on the draft board.”
The counter will feature an assortment of morning pastries, breads, and desserts. Made in-house with heritage grains and largely locally-sourced ingredients, selections will include naturally leavened breads, Sonora wheat croissants, fruit danishes, tarts, pies, and cakes. A grab ‘n’ go case will offer a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, pickles, cheese plates, and more. Rounding out the marketplace will be bevvy of housemade preserves, handmade chocolate bars, and granola, amongst other things, as well as number of Mattern and Jullapat’s favorite local provisions and influential cookbooks.
Friends & Family’s concept is also thoughtfully reflected in the restaurant’s design, which incorporates a blend of classic and modern elements. Walls of aqua blue and gold ceiling tiles paired with quartz countertops and wood tables will welcome guests into the bright and airy 4,000 square foot space.
To start, Friends & Family will be open for breakfast and lunch from 8 am – 2:30 pm from Monday – Saturday; the restaurant will be open daily with extended hours by the end of May, and launch dinner service this summer. Opening day visitors will also enjoy a special treat when Jullapat and Mattern welcome QUIN founder Jami Curl, who will be signing copies of her new book and sampling her handmade candy from 3 to 5 p.m.