DTLA’s upcoming Gusto Green, which will have a focus on healthy, clean eating, won’t be opening until winter 2020, but attendees at this year’s Summit were able to preview their food at the proposed S Hill St location. The ground-floor space is part of the block between 7th and 8th Streets, all of which is being currently overhauled with offices, event spaces and a cannabis industry-focused members-only club set for the future. Fittingly, Summit and Gusto Green partnered for the private event, as both parties are interested in the untapped potential of cannabis, terpenes, and adaptogens within the culinary sphere.
Positioning themselves as cannabis-adjacent or cannabis-curious allows the restaurant to be smoke-free within their walls, but able to dabble in marijuana-centric pop-ups and experiential events. Their collaborative event with Summit was a superb example. “The concept was to essentially create a moment where the culinary arts met culinary science, with cannabis in the center,” Joey Rubin (Owner of Parade Agency, the creative agency for Summit’s Culinary vertical) explains.
With David Heldreth (the Chief Science Officer at True Terpenes, one of the few regulated distributors of raw hemp as a food material in the US) helping with this one-time conceptual event, Gusto Green’s chefs and cannabis industry experts could collaborate freely. While they are pushing boundaries and experimenting, Gusto Green doesn’t want to be considered highbrow. Jeronimo de Miguel (Managing Partner at Gusto Green) says, “It’s is meant to be both accessible and everyday. There’s going to be this fine balance between experimentation and the science and the beauty of being able to go after new frontiers and the need to be a neighborhood joint—a place where people can come and feel like they can be there every day.”
de Miguel also wants prospective customers to know that the focus on clean, healthy food doesn’t mean the food will be bland or restrictive. “Even though we’re talking about being plant-powered, this is not a vegetarian scenario, and not necessarily a vegan offering. It will have all kinds of different items. So, when we describe it at a higher level without getting into menu items, we talked about farm-to-table and we talked about California fresh. We want to make it almost everyday and ritualistic versus a special occasion,” he explains. “It’s really meant to be multi-faceted.”
That multi-faceted concept runs through the entire building, not just Gusto Green. “We’re fully integrated, which blows my mind,” he tells us. “How easy it is for all of us to connect and make something like that happen and how we speak the same language and support each other as a community. I don’t take that for granted. I don’t think that that’s something that you can just assume is going to happen. The building is just so integrated, in fact, that I think it’s more united by common purpose—the purpose of reimagining this industry.”
Gusto Green also has plans to be more than a restaurant within the dynamic space. They have plans to continue researching superfoods, applications for cannabis, adaptogens and more. “We’re going to be the only real food supplier within the building, and we’re making room for tenants of the building to come down and have a good time too. The catering offering is a big part of the equation already—it’s really the only thing we’ve launched so far. [We’re also] launching a whole line-up of superfoods, too: honey, olive oil, and other things that will be infused or not infused depending on where we’re distributing. It’s the idea of, ‘How do we pave the way for the new frontier, and everybody that’s committed to it?’”
There’s an entire industry and years of innovation and development behind Gusto Green. If they can normalize the way we interact with cannabis and other plants with particular powers, there’s hope that their system can be replicated elsewhere—with a focus on their local greenery and produce.
Images by Caesar Sebastian courtesy of Parade Agency