Being inspired by the street foods of Madrid, Spain, Bryce Rademan was introduced to the Döner kebab (a popular European street food of shaved roasted meat, usually in a wrap or a sandwich) while studying aboard. This translates to the ‘rotating meat,’ which refers to the spit and where the restaurant’s name and logo came from SPITZ.
After returning to the states, Rademan knew he wanted to bring this Mediterranean street-style food back to Los Angeles, but in his way. As he was entering his senior year of college, he started to write his business plan, with years of working different restaurant jobs, working his way up and seeing his mother run a successful business, he felt like this was something he was destined to do.
“This food that was so good over there, [and I] didn’t see it in that form over here in the U.S., so [I said], let’s take this street food, elevate it, put it into this concept and upscale — quick-service concept — add alcohol, add this cool street vibe and that’s what I brought back for my senior year and started to write my business plan,” he said.
Two weeks and 10 months after graduation, Rademan’s best friend and now co-founder, Robert Wicklund, opened SPITZ’s first location in 2006 in Eagle Rock. Over the next nine years, SPITZ expanded to three more Los Angeles locations: Little Tokyo, Los Feliz, and Studio City.
As SPITZ became more popular, Rademan’s hometown friends, in Salt Lake City, Utah, wanted him to bring SPITZ closer to them. Rademan and Wicklund are very selective about choosing partners, they either pick friends, family, or people who have worked with them, so instead of making it a franchise, Rademan believes they are creating a “famchise,” — people they know can translate the food from wherever they go. SPITZ has grown to three more states since the first opening in Los Angeles; Utah, Oregon, and Minnesota — a total of 12 locations.
I was lucky enough to try SPITZ for the first time at their Los Feliz location, as I parked across the street I was able to take in the bright, beautiful colors and funky style of the whole restaurant. Each wall covered in different shades of blues and pinks in fun, abstract, shapes, and black stencil work, such as a face with birds coming out of it. Not to mention, the pink neon welcoming signs on top of each entrance, one with a ‘spit’ logo and the other that says ‘SPITZ — Mediterranean Food.’
“The graffiti of Berlin, where diner kebab was popularized, to all the amazing murals and street art in Los Angeles where we first started Spitz serve as a constant inspiration to us,” Wicklund told Restaurant Business.
On my Menu: street cart doner, street cart fries, beef & lamb doquito, and red sangria.
Chicken Street Cart Doner
Of course, I had to try the famous street cart wrap — the wrap that inspired SPITZ. I ended up choosing chicken as my protein, the wrap also has garlic aioli fried lavash chips, romaine, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, onion, green pepper, and tzatziki inside. The wrap is a great size, when you look inside — all you can see is the colors you’re about to devour. The chicken was fresh, you get the crunch of the lavash chips with each bite, and while tasting the light fluffy cabbage and romaine. It also had a sweet and tangy taste.
Side note: with any of the doners — there are vegetarian and vegan options!
Street Cart Fries
Who doesn’t love fries with toppings? SPITZ makes their fries extra crispy, but yet still soft in the middle topped with garlic aioli, feta, onion, green pepper, tomato, olives, and pepperoncini. The veggies made the fries have a sweet taste, along with the homemade sauce slabbed on top and a kick of spice from the pepperoncini — a personal favorite of mine. You can also make this “the works” and add a protein of your choice to it, too.
Beef & Lamb Doquito
When I ordered this, I asked the cashier what the most popular one was and when she told me beef & lamb, I decided to go for it and be adventurous — I’m glad I was. The menu describes it as a Mediterranean taquito, but better, and I completely agree. They take a lavash bread rolled with meat of choice, zesty feta onion, aioli, fried to perfection, smothered with feta, aioli, onion, pepperoncini, green pepper, tomato, and olives. As both meats are blended perfectly together, there’s a little spice with the mix of veggies and the homemade SPITZ sauce is the finishing touch. I could see myself having one of these each time I order from SPITZ.
Red Sangria (to go)
Once Rademan told me they make their sangria, I knew I had to try it. I loved the fact they had it “to go.” After I ordered it I wasn’t sure what to expect it in and then when I got my take out bag, I looked inside to see a short round jug and saw the red liquid inside — genius. When I got home I took out a wine glass and realized for $5 you get about two glasses. What a deal! The sangria wasn’t too strong, but not too light and it’s a great flavor to add to your meal — loved the fresh fruit added in, too.
My overall thought of my meal was first, very filling. I could only finish half of the wrap and fries but, it makes the perfect leftovers for later. With the wrap and doquito — the meat, veggies, and homemade sauces had the flavors mixed perfectly together. I can see why Rademan wanted to bring something like this over to the states! And the fries — the perfect side dish with any plate! Also, for all my vegetarian and vegan readers — you can ask for those options, even their sauces are vegan!
SPITZ, like some local restaurants, decided to open a community store due to COVID-19, Rademan knew this was going to hit Los Angeles hard and wanted to help. SPITZ offers numerous things, such as toilet paper, paper towels, gloves, sanitizer, produces, coffee, beans, and rice. SPITZ is selling these items at wholesale, it’s their way to give back to the community, but the only way to access the community store is to download the SPITZ app. Along with the perks of the community store, when you download the app, you get 20% off your first order and you’ll be sent specials offers.
Since COVID-19 has happened food delivery apps have become even more popular — Angelenos feel like they are supporting local restaurants, by ordering through them, and in a way they are, but in a way they are not. What some people may not know is that restaurants have to pay a major fee to be on those food delivery apps. And SPITZ is one of them, such as DoorDash, Postmates, and more, but if you truly want to support them — it’s best to order directly through their app or the restaurant itself.
With still no set date when restaurants in Los Angeles can have dine-in again, some restaurants are trying to get an idea of what they can do to make customers feel safe when the time comes and Rademan has an idea for when this happens.
“There’s going to be space between tables, a full-time sanitation person, literally just sanitizing everything, the whole time on the floor — tables tops, etc. [We’ll have] plexiglass divers, all of our staff are already wearing masks and gloves. It’s a little interesting because there is going to be a cost to hire people to fulfill that role if we’re going to have people dine in-house. There’s also a risk to our staff, you know right now with people not dining in, we have less people in contact with our staff and we don’t want to open just to be able to open up if it doesn’t make sense — financially and getting our staff sick. So it’s tricky. We have to play it by ear a little bit, we want to, but we need to consider the financial and risk factors,” Rademan said.
SPITZ was such a flavorful experience — I would highly suggest on any day of the week, just make sure you have an empty stomach, you’re going to need it!
To see more of the menu, make sure you check out their website — SPITZ.
And for colorful, delicious photos, follow them on Instagram — @spitzpics.