Taste | Pappas Artisanal
By: Chef Alex Rivas
Driving through the charming streets of Downtown La Verne, I realized the town had grown a lot since my days of socializing with friends while indulging in its restaurant and bar scene. I was still a young cook growing my roots in the business back then. Pappas Artisanal . . . was it Latin fair? The name intrigued me to find out the type of art going on in the kitchen. Walking in, I could see that the décor had a lot of beautifully handcrafted chalk artwork. As I continued through the restaurant, I was welcomed by an overall gorgeous space, which displayed a nice mix of the community, with paintings by local artists adorning the walls.
I met with owners Matt Fong II and owner/chef Travis Flood—both great gentlemen who were willing to share the history and promising future of Pappas Artisanal. I looked over the menu, and curiosity got the best of me. So, I asked Chef Travis how he came up with the dishes for Pappas Artisanal. He explained that they wanted to offer great, simple fare to the community. With a lunch menu that was stacked with craft sandwiches, burgers, salads and more. It became apparent that Chef Travis wasn’t just combining together a sandwich. Instead, he offered classics cooked and layered only the right way using the lessons he acquired along his culinary journey. After some discussion, the chef suggested we try a nice platter yielding a mix of all the sandwiches available for lunch, and I couldn’t agree more.
Chef Travis returned from the kitchen within a few minutes of our placing the order, delivering an array of sandwiches and a whole chuck burger with salt and pepper kettle chips and crisp onion rings. Conversation was brought to a halt when the platter arrived. As I glanced at the all the items, I could not wait to try each one. Chef Travis explained that every dish had a story.
The Signature Chicken sandwich consisted of a ciabatta simply layered with roasted chicken, goat cheese, caramelized onions, arugula and a truffle aioli, and it was part of a history lesson he picked up in San Francisco. It was easy to see why the Signature Chicken is one of the most requested sandwiches. It’s straight-forward, giving the guest a reason to come back later in the week (or even that same day) to try one of Pappas Artisanal’s other amazing creations.
A lesson from Chicago was the Al Pastor sandwich, which for me, was amazing with the slices of jalapenos and pickled red onions, beautifully marinated with the in-house pastor mix. The sandwich bursted with citrus and had plenty of tang that left a little heat on the palate, but left you wanting more.
The D Street Burger’s 5oz natural ground chuck patty was cooked beautifully, and everything always tastes better with homemade their garlic aioli. Another one of my favorites was the Loaded Salad that Chef Travis presented to me, although I’m still not sure if it was a salad or baked potato with lettuce. Either way it was amazing, because the blue cheese gave it a nice sharp and salty flavor, but paired creatively with the crispy potato pieces, green onion, cheddar cheese, beef sirloin and avocado, which was all drizzled with a delectable green goddess dressing. I would go back just for the salad on a quick lunch break any day of the week.
After hearing more about the vision that Matt and Travis have for Pappas Artisanal, their great bond is palpable. Their common story of passion for well crafted food and of losing their greatest influencers - their fathers - brought these two together to endeavor on the adventure of opening up a new gastropub-style restaurant in Downtown La Verne and name their restaurant in honor of their fathers.
One of the endeavors from Pappas Artisanal is an educational program that is trying to provide more business education to young professionals, using the restaurant business and resources found on the internet as part of the case study-based program. With this young professional development program, Pappas Artisanal hopes to build an education platform that addresses the challenge of providing more upward mobility to restaurant workers. This program is geared to not only build individuals, but to also grow the community. Pappas Artisanal is currently working with nearby schools and organizations like David & Margaret Youth and Family Services.
I see both owners reaching much more than just fame from serving great flavor at Pappas Artisanal. They are becoming an example across all industries, demonstrating that giving back to their local community should be an integral part of their business mission, and is truly one of the most important things when it comes to success and happiness.
It is clear why Pappas Artisanal is becoming one of the newest and trendiest locations to gather for a business lunch meeting or family dinner. You’ll feel at home here, letting the atmosphere and great flavors unleash your creativity as you sit in to enjoy a nice grilled cheese sandwich with flaky onion rings.
Pappas Artisanal is regularly updating their seasonal lunch, dinner and brunch menu, and hosting multiple events like art shows and their educational program. Check out the website and Facebook to find out what’s new. I unfortunately didn’t get to taste the more complex dinner menu, but that only means I have to come back soon to enjoy more tastes from Pappas Artisanal.
Chef Alex Rivas is the successful personal chef and caterer who passionately creates dishes for individuals and events throughout the Inland Empire and beyond. His dishes are locally sourced and crafted with love, and his Personal Meal Service will keep your healthy lifestyle on track with options for signature, paleo or vegetarian entrees. Stay tuned for more insightful tastes and recommendations from Chef Alex Rivas at IEShineOn.com. Click here to find out more about Alex's Personal Chef Service.
Did you find Alex’s experience to be helpful? Is there another amazing restaurant in Inland SoCal that Chef Alex needs to taste? If so, please share in the comments below!