Eric Greenspan Returns With Fine Dining, Grilled Cheese + a Latin Fusion Food Truck
Do you, as many of us do, mark the passage of time by restaurants that have opened and closed throughout Los Angeles? If so, you may have been flipping through your calendar, trying to figure out when in hell Eric Greenspan's grilled cheese storefront is going to settle in for business. And now, with the Foundry on Melrose undergoing a months-long revamp, you may have begun wondering about Greenspan himself. Where is the man, so loud and confident on your television and with his cooking, hiding out? These days, Eric Greenspan is a man of many questions.
Photo by Felicia Friesema Greenspan at the Foundry on Melrose
As Greenspan will be the first to tell you, he also has all the answers. From a corner booth at the chef's other L.A. restaurant, the Roof on Wilshire, he opened up about the past few months, his future expansion -- and a very personal reason for slowing down and doing things right.
But first, a lie. "I know everyone's been saying that Greenspan's Grilled Cheese has taken three years. It's really only taken a year," says the chef. "Because when I first started talking about it, I was lying. People would say, 'What are you doing now?' and I said, 'Uhh ... I'm going to open up a grilled cheese restaurant!' Then it went into print, so I guess I had to open up a grilled cheese restaurant."
That space, a slivery storefront next to the Foundry, has been under construction since John Muir first started exploring the California wilderness, but the ball is finally rolling toward a late-fall launch.
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"I'm not planning on opening up just one," Greenspan says of the grilled cheese concept shop. "The plan was to put together an Illuminati of investors -- the perfect people who have all the right synergies -- and as long as this first one is amazing, we're planning on growing it into at least a regional brand."
So what's with the Foundry, Greenspan's upscale-casual dinner spot where his award-winning The Champ grilled cheese was first put onto a menu? The gates have been locked since early summer, the website still promotes an August relaunch, and the phone is disconnected. Is the Foundry dead? Not exactly.
"[It's opening] soon. That's about as good as I'm going to give you." Fair enough.
"The original Foundry was very schizophrenic, because it was a representation of me. And it was me in all of my sizes. It was loud, it was fun, it was sophisticated, but it was also a grilled cheese sandwich and a band. Or tots and a burger. Or it was a tasting menu. It was a lot of different things, because I'm a lot of different things."
Now, it looks like the Foundry will go strictly upscale, splitting the space to create a side-by-side cocktail bar and refined dining destination. There will be a new name in the works to go along with both the intimate dining room and lounge-y cocktail atmospheres, now that bar guys Ian Shepp, Austin Melrose and Zach Patterson will be making drinks up front. The Foundry's amazing back patio will still belong to Greenspan and his crew.