Spread Mediterranean Kitchen
High-end meets low fuss. It’s the alluring siren call of the burgeoning new “fine-casual” dining format, which aims to serve up quality, gourmet bites at the convenience of counter service. And at Spread Kitchen, a new addition to Downtown’s Historic Core on 4th and Main St., local eaters can now have their halva crumble and eat it too. Childhood friends and first-time restaurateurs Dan Coury and Brandon Parker take on a broad range of dining experiences, from quick-service lunches to plated dinners, all while having some serious fun with Mediterranean cuisine.
“Mediterranean concepts seemed like such a great fit for Californians, but Los Angeles didn’t really have anything like that at the time,” says Parker. “That was where the idea began to take shape. We wanted to become this modern Mediterranean option, done in our own way, but very chef-driven.” After searching for the right fit, the duo brought on Chef Brandon Weaver, who had worked alongside Parker for many years at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, before playing around and experimenting with flavors.
Spread’s mix-and-match lunch menu formula is deceptively simple. It takes just three steps: pick your base, your main, and your spread. The order process may smack of Chipotle, but the resulting combination of rich, herby flavors exude anything but chain. 1) Za’atar flatbread + 2) lamb meatballs + 3) the Smooth & Cool tzatziki and tabouli spread = a bold, bright, and aromatic delight of a lunchtime meal — one that won’t knock the wind out of your sails with a food coma.
Artisanship is a common thread throughout Spread’s culinary offerings. The kitchen boasts three flavors of in-house hot sauces. Large jars of homemade condiments, ground spice blends, and fermented vegetables sit proudly in a display glass near the counter. The Harissa Margarita is made of harissa sourced from chilis that the crew dries and grinds themselves in the kitchen. And of course, there’s the flatbread, which the crew calls “happy bread,” baked in-house daily. Powdered with Za’tar, an Israeli condiment staple made of oregano, thyme, citrus, and sesame seed, the bread is hearty and doughy and pretty much irresistible, even among carbophobes.
With its spacious, industrial-modern fixings and full bar, Spread is also looking to double up as a local watering hole for both the lunchtime crowd and the dinner/nightlife scene. Dinner options are similarly rich yet minimal, but the dishes, like the watermelon salad, vibrant and topped with greek yogurt labneh, are served with a more artful panache than the daytime fare. And of course, there’s also an arsenal of colorful craft cocktails to imbibe on.
“We wanna get the word out to the locals and to the neighborhood,” says Coury, who contends that the versatility of Spread Kitchen is what sets the spot apart from other fine casual eateries. “There was a lot of thought put into the different experiences that we could provide. So come out for dinner, and come out for drinks. Come hang out.”
Written by Sophie He
Photographed by Rozette Rago