Recently, we had the pleasure of stopping by a delicious Los Angeles gem. Red Bread is a sustainable and organic eatery, and like their name says, they are very well-known for their fresh bread. The eatery was founded by Rose and David Lawrence and "True Blood's" Lauren Bowles is their partner. We were lucky enough to talk to both Rose and Lauren and now we're itching to come back to munch on more bread! Believe us, it's worth the trip.
Talk to us about why you decided to open the Red Bread in Los Angeles.
Rose: Red Bread, the brick and mortar, was opened in response to overwhelming support in the community. We had been functioning as a delivery service with our electric bicycle and attending the Santa Monica Farmers Market for a few years, with growing demand. The store allowed us a place to celebrate good food done right in all it's forms, from sourdough bread, traditional jams and pickles, and our favorite charcuterie. We wanted to create a community space where people could spend time talking over a good meal, learn about food making and engage in positive change in Los Angeles.
What did you have in mind when planning its interior? It's stunning inside and it just reminds us of a mix between New York City and Portland!
Rose: New York City is a place I leave my heart every time I visit. When we were designing the interior our ability to communicate was paramount. For us that meant chalkboard walls, so that we could continually update what was in season and we could fill walls with science when teaching classes after hours. It meant sourcing crates from our farmers so we could showcase their ingredients constantly, rather than keep them hidden from our customers. We worked with local craftsman for the tables and blocks, it was important that every piece have a story.
How long have you been baking and cooking? How did this menu come about?
Rose: I have been baking and cooking professionally for five years. Baking was my first love, it's hard to count how many pies and cupcakes I made over the years for my own school projects or elections. I come from a big cooking family and always gravitated towards watching people work in their kitchens when I travelled the world. People were gracious to share their family secrets, the cultural value of a particular food, the sense of warmth generated by simple cooking. The menu at Red Bread reflects these ideas. Almost every dish is a comfort food from a different area of the world I or my staff spent time in, interpreted through the bounty of California Agriculture.
What's the most popular item on the menu? And what is your favorite? What makes everything unique?
Rose: The most popular items on the menu are Llapingachos (Ecuador), Black Hash (Russia) or Buttermilk Soup (Nordic). My favorite item is the Llapingachos.I grew up eating these Ecuadorian cheese stuffed potato pancakes on weekends while in Quito, Ecuador. From the mashing of the potatoes to the sizzle of butter in the pan, it is all sense memory for me. At Red Bread we serve it with some of our house cured collar bacon. What makes Red Bread unique is our commitment to building our own pantry from only local organic California Farms. There isn't a jar or bottle opened in Red Bread we haven't made from the ground up, mustards, dressings, sodas, jams, etc. These are the building blocks we use to make our food great.
Lauren: My fave items at RED BREAD... dear, how to pick?! If I'm feeling something savory for lunch, the meatloaf sand which is off the hook. And this is coming from a sometimes vegan so that's saying something! For breakfast the fried eggs on her home made biscuits and house cured bacon make you feel like its 1943 and you could have a whole day of farm work ahead of you and you'd be just fine. Not sure why that makes sense but it does. And then of course there's the cracked cookies. Name says it all.
How often do you come in to the Red Bread? Was it difficult starting out? As we understand how hard it is just starting any type of business.
Rose: I am in Red Bread every day. There are so many components in running a business, especially food. Even having started many businesses in my time as a lawyer, Red Bread was a tremendous learning experience because we wanted to do something so different. Not only in our food but our corporate structure. We were committed to giving back to our community through a donation to fight hunger with every sale. Thankfully, so much of what we were trying to accomplish resonated with the Los Angeles community.
Lauren: I try to come in at least once a week. Me and my family usually head there for breakfast Sunday mornings before we hit the farmers market. Best church ever. I've also taken Rose's yeast class and bread making class. But I have a LOT more to learn.
Lauren, how do you balance being an actor, mother and Red Bread partner...etc ?
Lauren: As for balance... It's not something I think much about. I really enjoy all aspects of each of those things and just let my instincts prioritize.
Rose, what's the one greatest piece of advice you received for being an entrepreneur?
Rose: Pay attention. Stay flexible. Don't give up. I think this is great advice for life, and I try to keep it in mind. As an entrepreneur starting out new information comes at your constantly, unless you are paying attention and listening you'll miss it. Unless you remain flexible, you won't be able to adjust. You won't be able to redirect to something greater. So often it's the unexpected which can profoundly change and move your idea forward. Once you get momentum a lot of naysayers will come out of the woodwork, don't give up.
Photography // Jessica Castro