Dan is the Man! I'm talking about Dan Spangler. Owner of The Press in El Granada, and mastermind behind El Granada's next big thing - Spangler's Neighborhood Market.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dan at the site of his new business and learn a little bit about him, what makes him tick, and his vision for Spangler's.
I didn't know much about Dan. I had seen him from time to time working at his other local business, The Press. He was always moving at a feverish pace, bussing tables, mixing ingredients for baked goods, or jamming on the espresso machine to keep up with the line that was usually out the door. He seemed to be a guy that could do it all, and, more importantly, was happy to. I liked that about him so when he agreed to talk to me about his new business I jumped at the opportunity.
First, a little bit about Dan. Dan grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska where he was raised by a blue-collar family that didn't have much time for cooking. As a result, his introduction to cooking came at an early age and out of necessity - to fill his stomach. At 14, he landed his first job as a restaurant dishwasher. For the next few years, he held a variety of restaurant positions in Lincoln until, at the age of 21, he decided to head to Southern California. He had little more than a duffle bag and $150 . Shortly after he landed in LA Dan's got a job working at La Brea Bakery under the now uber-famous, chef and author - Nancy Silverton. It was under her direction that Dan developed his love of food. He learned to understand, "really" understand, where food comes from and how to combine fresh, seasonal ingredients in simple, yet meaningful ways.
It was this intimate connection to food that set Dan on the path that ultimately landed him in our community. But before arriving on the coast, Dan spent a few years as the executive sous chef for The Park 55 Hotel in San Francisco where ran a team of 70 people. The Park 55 was challenging and gave dan the opportunity to learn how to run a bonafide restaurant business but it was only a stepping stone for him. His ultimate goal was to start cafe and bakery. This led him to El Granada where he purchased the then "Cafe Classique" and turned it into the now buzzing neighborhood cafe we know as The Press. After transforming Press into a successful local business, Dan set his sights on something bigger - something with greater community impact. Dan ventured to buy the old El Granada Market and turn it into something awesome.
Lets talk about the former El Granada Market before I get into what it will become under Dan's direction. When I was a kid, the El Granada Market was a decent little market that had friendly staff and even a deli. However, in recent years It looked more like something out of a post-apocalyptic world rather than what it could have been, should have been, what it WILL become. It was time for El Granada Market needed to be put out to pasture. We needed something that better-served our community's current needs.
Here is what's coming. In Dan's words, Spangler's will be 80% organic 20% practical/conventional. What does this mean? We all know the drill. New Leaf is awesome, but there are some things you just can't get there. As a result, you have to huff it over to Safeway which can be inconvenient. Spangler's aims to be a neighborhood market that provides both, high-quality, organic meets, produce, salads and other food items while still being place where you can grab some Doritos, Coke, or NyQuil. Because let's face it, while buying 100% organic 100% of the time sure sounds nice, its a utopian concept not practical for most of us.
As far as meat is concerned Dan has partnered with local grocer and meat expert John Chavez. He plans to put in 20 foot of coolers that will house mostly organic, locally-sourced meet products many of which will be marinated in home-made sauces. Tri-tip, flank stakes, rib-eye, hand-made sausages, free-range chicken, and local seafood. Yes, yes, and YES!
Its great to have quality ingredients at your disposal to cook but sometimes we don't have the time or energy for that. Sometimes we want to pick up something already prepared. For these situations Spangler's will have a complete DELI offering made-to-order sandwiches as well as a variety of pre-made meals and house-made organic salads.
And then there's the produce. The plan is to stock a ton of produce (organic, seasonal, and local if possible). A bar is being built right when you walk through the front door where produce and salads will be prepared for your viewing pleasure.
This sounds great but organic can be expensive, right? Well, this is true. To eat healthy and to treat your body with respect it does cost more. You can't feed a family of 4 for $10.00 without polluting your bodies with mass-produced, food-like items devoid of any nutritional value. And who wants to do this anyway? It's probably time to re-prioritize healthy eating for most of us and markets like Spangler's will help make this possible. Having said this, Dan is passionate about making healthy food attainable and vows to keep his prices reasonable. Dan's vision is more about providing quality food to the folks in our community than it is about building a profit-busting, commercial enterprise.
Quality meats and produce combined with practical and conventional items. Fully-equipped deli with prepared and made-to-order items. The convenience of a true, neighborhood market that is also reasonably priced - what's not to like? The only question remaining is: when does it open? The answer is mid-January(ish).
If you had been in the EG market in recent years, you know that it was run down and needed work. Dan and a team of contractors have been busy breathing new life into the building and getting it ready its next adventure. I spent some time touring the facility and can tell you that they are making major progress on the rebuild but still have some work to do so be patient and in a few short weeks and we will have this amazing resource at our disposal.
At the end of the day, our community was ripe for a quality neighborhood market. We love our other local markets but sometimes its just not convenient to make the drive. I am bullish on this new business as well as Dan's vision and his ability to execute against it. If Spangler's plays out as planned it will be a solid addition to our community and, as a result, be widely supported. I, for one, can't wait!
Author:Mathew Haugen Phone: 650-533-7989 Dated: December 14th 2016 Views: 5,516 About Mathew: Buying and selling your home are arguably most-important purchases of your life. It's time to elevat...
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