PLACE TO WATCH – AU FUDGE, LA
That’s what Au Fudge owners (among them Jessica Biel) promise children and parents alike – and it is a wonderful idea! We have met the founders of LA’s latest restaurant addition – a creative space for children and their parents.
It is a colorful, friendly, but most of all fun place, where kids can indulge themselves in chocolate, and we can get tipsy over amazing cocktails (you absolutely have to recreate the following two cocktail recipes at home!).
Meet 6 entrepreneurs and read what they have to say about their happy-place.
Despite some initial critics and setbacks, Au Fudge is here to proof that it is not just unicorn dust and dreams making it a reality.
First Base Cocktail:
1.5 oz. of your favorite vodka
0.75 oz. lemon juice
0.25 oz. fresh ginger syrup and 0.25 oz. demerara sugar syrup
1 oz. muddled strawberries
1 oz. sparkling white wine
1 sprig lemon thyme to garnish
Mix the vodka, lemon juice, syrups, and strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a chilled glass with the sparkling wine and garnish with lemon thyme.
Au Fudge Martini:
.75 oz Absolut Elyx
1.5 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
2 dashes Bitter Truth Celery Bitters
Olive, Onion, and Lemon Twist as Garnish. Stirred and served up.
WTL: Which three words sum up what AU FUDGE stands for?
ESTEE STANLEY: “Fun, family & fudge”
WTL: What has inspired you and your partners to launch AU FUDGE – how did it all come together?
JESSICA BIEL: The absence of safe, fun, and educational establishments where kids and adults alike can eat, play and learn inspired my partners and I to create Au Fudge. My partner Kimberly started working on a children’s book, based on the idea called, The Story of Au Fudge and the restaurant, the décor, the creative space and market place were born together from that writing experience.
We then spent years developing this concept for the modern day family, and trudged on looking for investors and like minded compatriots who believed in the idea as much as we did, amidst the numerous critiques we received from people who thought we were nuts and told us to stay out of the restaurant business.
Eventually, we raised enough money and found the right location and with a little bit of luck and some magical unicorn dust, we were able to open our doors.
WTL: What sets AU FUDGE apart from other LA cafés and restaurants?
JONATHAN ROLLO: Au Fudge is a unique dining opportunity for families that satisfies everyone’s palate. We’ve had a lot of fun combining comfort classics with new spins on our favorites menu items, reflecting the fun and whimsical nature of Au Fudge.
WTL: How would you describe your typical customer?
JOEY GONZALEZ: Our typical customer is someone with style who doesn’t take him/herself too seriously and loves to have fun!
WTL: Why did you pick this location in LA?
ESTEE STANLEY: We chose the location because it really felt nostalgic to us. It used to be a haunt of ours called Kassbah where we had the best times. And before that it was Cafe Figero, which was a staple in LA eateries years ago. But also the location is incredible for east and west siders alike.
WTL: Entering and competing in the restaurant business is not an easy endeavor, and there have been some critical voices – how has AU FUDGE adapted since its launch?
MONICA SAUNDERS-WEINBERG: We developed the concept of Au Fudge because we couldn’t find a place where kids, parents and adults could go and all be happy. It’s both adult and kid-friendly and caters to the modern notion of enjoying healthy delicious food whilst being fun, inviting and playful. We are constantly listening to our customers and coming up with fresh ideas for our creative space, activities, classes, events and menu items.
WTL: LA is the mecca of healthy food – from where do you source your ingredients?
JONATHAN ROLLO: We are really proud to say that our menu is completely organic, all natural, and devoid of any artificial colors, flavors, or dies. Serving ingredients of the highest possible quality is really important to all of us as parents; it is essential that everything that comes out of our kitchen (including cakes, pastries, and fudge) is food we are comfortable feeding our own children.
WTL: What is your signature dish and cocktail?
JONATHAN ROLLO: Have you tried Jessica Rabbit’s Rabbit (our spicy margarita) or The Houndog (our vodka with fresh grapefruit)? They are GREAT drinks! I love coming to Au Fudge with a group because then we get to order a lot of different items and try a little of everything. But, if I have to order one thing to eat now – I’m a huge fan of our Vegan Ceaser (and I add chicken) – it’s unique, fresh, healthy, and filling.
WTL: And what do the kids like the most?
KIMBERLY MULLER: Flatbreads, corn lollipops, burgers, chicken nuggets and dessert of course!
WTL: What can kids discover, experience and learn at AU FUDGE?
KIMBERLY MULLER: They will discover that it is actually fun to turn off your tech and get creative by getting their hands dirty with the craft of the day or the many art options available. They may experience everything from a relaxed family dinner to a karaoke dance party and learn from a wide array of classes and workshops.
WTL: How will the future look like?
JOEY GONZALEZ: The possibilities are endless as we’ve begun to explore potential partnerships and locations in several major US markets- as well as abroad. Currently, we’re focused on developing a model and programming that works best for our customers and is smart, scalable, and awesome!
Estee Stanley, Stylist & Designer
Jessica Biel, Actress
Joey Gonzalez, CEO Barry’s Bootcamp
Jonathan Rollo, CEO Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
Kimberly Muller, Author & Producer
Monica Saunders-Weinberg, Philanthropist and Owner of Terrace Tower, Australia
9010 Melrose Ave,
Picture Credit: Justin Coit