Grain Traders, a good food company originally founded in Singapore, opens its doors to its first US location just south of the bustling intersection of Fairfax Ave and Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. The expansive new restaurant is repurposed from an automobile repair shop and soft opened in the Fall of 2020. It has since complemented its produce-forward market concept with a coffee and tea shop with plans to include a forthcoming dessert bar.
Speaking to his decision to debut Grain Traders in Los Angeles, Founder, (Mr.) Javier Perez explains: “The Grain Traders concept was born through the experience of fresh ingredients and food I experienced in Los Angeles. The concept was presented with love to the cosmopolitan community of Singapore where it has since been interpreted and developed by an international team, absorbing culture and culinary inflictions from Asia to South America. Coming back to Los Angeles feels like we’ve come full circle.”
The restaurant offers an evolving menu of nourishing dishes composed of whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, plant-based and lean proteins inspired by the season’s bounty. Food is served ready for enjoyment and guests are empowered to compose their own plates from the day’s selection along with a variety of housemade pickles and sauces. Ingredients and spices are procured for their wellness benefits utilizing grass fed, free-range and organic where possible. Dishes are rotated seasonally, accommodating a variety of dietary preferences and sensitivities.
Signature dishes include the Yellowfin Tuna Tataki, perfectly seared and served in a citrus marinade, and the Gochujang Tofu Steaks, grilled and topped with tempeh crisps. The grain selection features a variety of organic whole grains including the Forbidden Black Rice mixed with Caramelised Leeks and Onions. Plant-based entrees include composed salads such as the Green Papaya Coleslaw, tossed with fresh herbs in an Asian-inspired peanut dressing, to warm hearty dishes like the Green Curry Casserole that’s studded with generous chunks of braised eggplants.
Helming the kitchen is Culinary Director, (Ms.) Gisela Salazar-Golding, a Venezuelan native who has built an international career working in restaurants across Europe and Asia. Her recipes pay homage to the bold flavours of South American and Southeast Asian cuisine.
“This is my first time living in Los Angeles and I really wanted to create recipes that celebrated the amazing produce and producers that make Californian cuisine the gem that it is,” explains Salazar-Golding. “The community here is so incredibly diverse, and the palate so worldly, that it feels like the perfect platform to showcase some of my favorite recipes from my heritage and travels.”
Complementing the all-day dining is a beverage program featuring sustainably sourced, locally-roasted coffee from City Bean, as well as custom blended craft teas from Taiwan. The breakfast menu features a variety of dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options such as jackfruit empanadas, coconut oatmeal porridge, quiche with sweet potato crust, and avocado toast made-to-order.
The brand also believes that nourishment comes in many forms. Perez is a huge proponent of art, design and culture who strongly believes in creating inspiring spaces for people to enjoy.
“We believe that every moment should be enjoyed with great intention and so much of our lives is dedicated to eating. Design is such a huge part of that and we wanted to create a space that people would appreciate,” says Perez. “Oftentimes convenient, healthful food is served in very clinical settings. We want our environment to mirror our food–vibrant and full of energy. We also wanted to surround ourselves with a community that was rooted in arts and culture, which made Fairfax the perfect destination.”
The spacious building sits on a 10,000 square foot lot with two different outdoor seating areas and onsite parking. It proudly displays features of its previous life, from its cavernous ceilings to the former garage doors. Inside, the space is home to three distinct areas: the market counter, dessert bar, and coffee shop. Art from Argentenian-born muralist Franco Fasoli fills the walls, complemented by natural materials and textures, and accented with pieces personally curated by Perez from Southern California antique stores.