Chef and CEO of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Jonathan Rollo, may be one of the busiest guys in Los Angeles right now. New father to a three month old daughter with husband Joey Gonzalez, Jonathan has celebrated the openings of two of his restaurants this past month: the 6th location of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, now open on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and the much buzzed about child-friendly Au Fudge, a joint partnership along with his husband, Jessica Biel, Estee Stanley, Kimberly Muller, and Monica Saunders-Weinberg.
Greenleaf on Abbot Kinney is in a beautifully redesigned space that resembles a Malibu beach house. Filled with light colored marble and touches of greenery, the place is crisp and clean and will make for a great backdrop to Instagram your meals. I met Jonathan at the opening party for Greenleaf on Abbot Kinney where he told me all about the concepts behind the new restaurant and how he hopes to embrace the Venice community.
On choosing Abbot Kinney for his newest location of Greenleaf
I’ve always had my sights on Abbot Kinney, it’s such a special street. It has a great vibe and a great energy, it’s one of those rare locations in LA where there is a real sense of community and locals are what drive decisions here as opposed to so many other neighborhoods in LA. It’s quintessential Southern California, growing up here it’s always been in my sights.
On designing the new space
When I first walked in and started looking at this place it was dark and closed in, it had no connection with being on Abbot Kinney or being in Venice. My goal was to turn the inside into a beach house and the patio into a garden conservatory and it happened. There’s no reason a fast casual restaurant can’t be sexy. Everyone looks good in this light. The fact that you get your food quickly or at a lower price shouldn’t dictate the atmosphere.
On what is unique about the Venice location
~ Open until 11:00 pm nightly
~Cocktails all unique to this location, took 6 months to create cocktail menu
~During First Fridays, parking lot will be transformed into a Biergarten
~Bottles of wine available for purchase alongside grab and go items
On growing the Greenleaf empire
I made the decision a long time ago that I would rather use our own funds to grow Greenleaf, so yes I own all of the locations. Part of the ethos of Greenleaf is to create healthy lifestyles on both sides so we have great employee benefits. My husband Joey was one of my first cooks, he’d go teach his Barry’s Bootcamp classes in the morning and come put a coat on and jump on the line. He was a disastrous cook, but it’s so funny because it’s that level of intimacy that I know most of our staff with. It’s been an adventure to grow up with these people.
On being a co-owner of Au Fudge
Joey and I want to incorporate our daughter in our life, we don’t want to have two separate lives so Au Fudge was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We built it for people with families, but also for regular diners. We’ve been friends with Jessica Biel (also a co-owner) for a long long time, and she was involved with this project before she had children. The joke started that our friends with kids had no where to go where Jessica would come meet because none of us is going to go meet them at Chuck E Cheese, sorry. So then she had kid and we had kids and now we are all on the same page.
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
1239 Abbot Kinney
Venice, CA 90291
Monday – Thursday: 10:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday: 10:30 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Brunch: sat & sun: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Happy hour: 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, 9:00 pm – close
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop defies the boundaries of fast-casual dining by offering gourmet meals from a chef-driven menu featuring fresh, all-natural, organic and locally farmed ingredients with to order salads, tacos, paninis, pizza, healthy entrees, brunch, fresh juice, and kids options. Established in Beverly Hills, Greenleaf has built authentic, community-based dining experiences throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Greenleaf is fueled by a passion to lead a healthy life, touting “eat well, live well.”
9010 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Open daily at 8:00 am- 11:00 pm (midnight Fri-Sun)
Creative space for children 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Au Fudge is a community-minded marketplace, elevated dining experience and creative space where family and friends gather for nourishing, yet scrumptious meals and desserts, fanciful cocktails, and creative family-friendly festivities. Located in the West Hollywood Design District on Melrose Ave, Au Fudge provides an eclectic one-of-a-kind dining experience. With locally sourced, fresh ingredients expertly prepared by top chefs, Au Fudge serves up imaginative and tasty dishes, desserts and grab & go options that satisfy every palate.