Every great food city has an “it” bakery—the spot that everybody wants to serve bread from, where you can find on menus and behind counters at the top restaurants and cafes around town. For the last few years in Los Angeles that’s been Bub & Grandma’s Bread, whose love affair with LA’s carb truthers (they’re out there) has gone well-documented by everyone from Thrillist to Los Angeles Magazine.
Earlier this year the team at Bub & Grandma’s opened its very own restaurant, in the increasingly to trend Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Now they’re stepping up their coffee game in a big way, with an assist from the brilliant minds at Los Angeles Graphic Design, Branding and Packaging studio CLUB. Bub and Grandma’s Bub’s Brew is now contained in a gorgeous reusable tin. The little details—especially a list of “unsolicited coffee advice”—really caught our eye, which makes this the perfect moment to dive deeper for another story on Coffee Design.
We spoke with CLUB Studio Manager Rae Eubanks as well as the founders, designers, and owners AJ Mercer and Noah Love to learn more.
Tell us about the collaboration! Brand identity, typography, interior direction, sign painting and more—how would you describe the look and feel of Bub’s?
Andy Kadin of Bub and Grandma’s came to us in 2019 to start talking about a project he was working on. At this point, Bub and Grandma’s was a well-established bakery, but Andy started to bake bread with the intention of creating a sandwich shop. Several years and a full-blown wholesale bakery later, it was time to get back to building the restaurant. As we started to put the pieces together at the beginning of 2020, the global pandemic hit and things paused for a while. We might be skipping over a few parts but the whole story can be read in the book we designed for Bub and Grandma’s and published by Some-Kind Press.
When we picked things up the bakery was going as strong as ever and the restaurant was well underway. What really excited us about the project was the community surrounding their bread and its devoted following. We created an identity for the restaurant and bakery that reflected the variety of inspirations Andy had in mind as we worked through the design process. The identity is just that, a reflection of Bub and Grandma’s, a ridiculously fun group of people that are very serious about the food and drink they make. Their website has been one of the best examples of translating all things Bub’s into a distilled representation of their personality.
With all our projects, we are interested in creating visuals that will both stand the test of time and still feel of the moment. This extended into the environment of the restaurant where we helped guide materials, construction, placement, and flow. There was also quite a bit of hand-done signage done at the restaurant, as it’s something we offer our clients with physical spaces. It’s always a joy to take what we create and bring it to life in the environment, which also extended to the packaging for Bub’s own custom roast, affectionately called Bub’s Brew.
Tell us about the decision to store and sell beans in tins!
In the same spirit of community, it made sense to reduce waste and offer customers refillable packaging that would keep them coming back. We pride ourselves on the physical production of the visuals we create and crave tangible items that serve a purpose beyond their original intended use.
We love the unsolicited coffee opinions on the tin—what other information is on the label?
Coffee is a world where everyone is right in their own head about how best to do it. The unsolicited advice offered some basic guidelines for coffee that feel true no matter how you brew. There are a couple of other elements on the tin that promote the reuse of the container, the roasting process, and additional pieces of Bub and Grandma-esque personality.
How long did the design process take?
The process was very collaborative as we wanted to personify diner culture as well as pay homage to what Andy had created. Overall it was around a six-month process (not including pandemic timing, of course).
Where is Bub’s Brew available?
At present, Bub’s Brew is only available from the Bub and Grandma’s restaurant located in Glassell Park, Los Angeles. In the future, Bub’s plans to expand into wholesale, offering roasted coffee in addition to the bread they supply to a robust network of existing partners across LA.
What kind of coffee is it?
When considering the roast profile and components of Bub’s Brew, the intention was to create an un-watered down, balanced diner coffee. That is, a coffee that could be enjoyed as espresso, drip, or cold brew without ostracizing any particular tastes or projecting a specific opinion of what tastes good. Like the can says, “it’s coffee we like.”
The medium roast blend includes varietals from Fincas Mierisch in Nicaragua, Genji Challa cooperative in Ethiopia, and the San Ignacio area of Peru, roasted by Pulley Collective in Vernon, California.
What’s next for Bub’s?
The restaurant opened back in September. It has been met with open arms and remains quite busy so for now the focus remains on establishing a solid community surrounding Bub’s.
What’s next for CLUB?
We have several new branding and packaging projects in the works for next year as well as some space build outs which is exciting. Alongside our client projects, we’ll be launching our website at the beginning of 2023, so stay tuned!