When it comes to food, Los Angeles is well-known for its love of all things vegan, seasonal, and “clean.” Of course, in a city ripe with fresh local produce, gorgeous year-round weather, and laid-back vibes, it’s only natural that a restaurant and its coffee program would reflect these LA values and standards.
The Springs is located in the heart of the Arts District, an area on the outskirts of Downtown LA once barren except for warehouses and a few artist lofts. When it first opened, in 2014, The Springs was a raw, all-vegan restaurant that also offered yoga and an attendant community centered on health and wellness. The design was handled by Design, Bitches, whose assignment was “to turn an old warehouse into an urban oasis. We were very inspired by Palm Springs and Wes Anderson films,” says Jared Stein, the co-founder. Sublime as all this may seem, the neighborhood was changing and its people wanted more. Stein offers some insight into the process there.
“When we first opened, our kitchen was completely raw and vegan. While we produced incredible and inventive food, we wanted to expand our offerings and broaden our audience. Raw food can be a bit limiting, and a lot of the feedback that we got was for more options. Our mission is to serve the community, so we [took] that feedback very seriously.” While there are no plans to go back on the Springs’ principles of not serving meat and animal products, cooked dishes may be on the horizon. Stein continues, “We initially had [only] cold brew for the first year, but given the size of our space, it has organically become a co-working and community space, so we realized hot coffee is a big part of serving the needs of our guests.”
LA’s Arts District is a prime spot for specialty coffee. This is the area where Blue Bottle Coffee bought out one of LA’s original new wave roasters, Handsome Coffee; where Stumptown built out their own roastery, and where other caffeine hot spots like Blacktop Coffee, The Wheelhouse, and Groundwork Coffee now brew. So a new coffee program is a smart addition for a restaurant that wants to foster more than just a foodie crowd.
To that end, The Springs is equipped with a two-group La Marzocco Linea Classic, Curtis batch brewers, and Mahlkönig grinders, making drinks served in custom-made coffeeware by Clay + Craft. It’s also the only cafe in the area with Arcade Coffee Roasters at the bar. “We were introduced to Arcade through some customers and fell in love with their brand, their founders, and their philosophies,” says Stein. “We also love supporting other local small businesses. They are roasting right in Riverside and helped us get our entire program set up.” Along with Arcade, The Springs serves Sightglass Coffee and hopes to integrate a rotating roaster program in the near future. Not only are the roasters special, so is the “milk”: made every morning, it’s all plant-based, from almond to coconut, as no dairy is to be found here. The milks are key to creating equally unique coffee drinks. Stein explains that beyond the classic espresso variations, you can get a “dirty horchata, which features our house-made vegan horchata and a shot of espresso, and the soon-to-be-released ‘4 p.m.,’ which is six ounces of cold brew and six ounces of horchata.”
Matcha and other teas are also in the mix, supplied by August Uncommon Tea and AIO Tea Company. Vegan and gluten-free goods are provided by the local Coco Bakes LA, and the many wellness classes continue apace.
And with The Springs’ full food menu just launched (as of mid-June), the wealth of offerings here has only gotten richer—so long as you’re down with amaranth.
Tatiana Ernst is a Sprudge staff writer based in Los Angeles. Read more Tatiana Ernst on Sprudge.