With a childhood spent around smoked whitefish and pastrami at his parents’ deli in Cleveland, Jared Stein seems like an unlikely candidate to have started The Springs, the vegan-lifestyle temple that opened in a 13,800-square-foot warehouse in downtown Los Angeles this October.
“I turned vegetarian when I went away to summer camp,” he recounted on Monday. “I came home and told my parents “‘I’m vegetarian.” They said ‘give it two weeks.’ I never ate meat again.”
At first he phased out just red meat—then fish, then dairy—until he arrived at the raw veganism he serves on The Springs’ menu, abundant with green juices and salads, but full of rich (and really delicious) options, too. For spaghetti alla carbonara ($21) coconut does double duty: it’s pureed with turmeric to make an “egg yolk” and smoked then dehydrated for a convincing “bacon.” In other dishes, nuts are pounded and pureed into cheeses, creams, and butters while vegan staples tofu and tempeh don’t show up anywhere on the menu. “We’re breaking beyond the stigma of vegan food as flax seeds and carrot sticks and that you’ll need a burrito after,” Stein says.
Rather, Stein and his partner Kimberly Helms are hoping you’ll need some yoga, reiki, a massage or a colonic. All are on offer in the back of this cavernous space, which manages to combine what feels like every artisanal consumer trend under one roof: a yoga studio, a wellness center, a pop-up shop for eco-friendly designs, a “lounge” for live music. Across from the juice bar, freelancers camp out at communal tables as if it’s a co-working space, but many are “drinking a green juice instead of a cappuccino,” Stein says. “We’re stoked to be breaking the mold of coffee culture here.”
The Springs is the only place in the country that unites all of these offerings, “a full-spectrum experience” according to Stein. “People come in for the food; they come back tomorrow and book a massage.”