Remember when cereal bars were all the rage? Well, if the owners of SpreadPB have it their way, peanut butter bars will be the next big thing. Their new cafe, which opened this month in Studio City’s Times Square shopping center, is leading the charge with a nut-butter-centric menu of sandwiches, snacks, and smoothies aimed at the after-school set and adults nostalgic for a time when someone else was making their pb&js.
SpreadPB is not a fancy peanut butter and jelly boutique. It’s more of a kid-heaven kind of place, where sandwiches are served on paper plates with a side of carrots and celery. The menu is a three-step, choose-your-own-adventure deal that lets you pick your bread, spread, and toppings that include an assortment of jams and jellies, plus bacon, fruit, marshmallows, sprinkles, pickles, and much more.
There are plenty of bread options, from sliced wheat or white to tortillas and bagels, but they are just OK–none of the artisanal loaves that spoiled Angelenos (me included) have come to expect. That’s disappointing, but for the most part, the nut butters (including eight peanut and two almond selections, plus a monthly special) make up for it. All are made from scratch. Flavors like dark chocolate, coconut, cinnamon raisin, and even green curry are created by proprietors who clearly love peanut butter. The textures are pleasant, and the sweetness level is much subtler than most big-brand peanut or almond butter.
“My goal was to make peanut butters that taste amazing, are healthy, and still be ridiculously fun,” says co-owner Katie Kerr, who says they will eventually stock jars of nut butters for take-home. “Our chef Dante Cardone has been working tirelessly.”
The menu is rounded out with classic Ants on a Log (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, if you don’t remember these from childhood) and in-vogue Banana Sushi, for which a banana covered with peanut butter is rolled in a tortilla and cut into bite-size pieces–I saw two kids go nuts for it during my visit. There are also signature sandwiches, like the Berry Berry Nuts and Bananas, a gooey mix of chopped fruit and the spread of your choice on blueberry bread. The Give Me S’More sandwich, filled with graham cracker crumbles, mini marshmallows, and (ideally) dark chocolate peanut butter, is a sugar high waiting to happen.
SpreadPB, 12215 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 980-2472