Alesha Sin Vanata lived all over the place until she fell in love with a boy and he brought her home to Charlotte. Sound romantic? You betcha! After having lived in LA for thirteen years, Vanata used her experience as food stylist, culinary producer, event designer, and set decorator to create littleSpoon, a restaurant based on an industrial design that allows for the mood and ambiance to shift based on lighting and music.
Kyle found the space on Selwyn and the two of them brainstormed, going round and round until they landed on the name littleSpoon. It refers to spooning, says Vanata. Most nights I am the littleSpoon. Living close makes it convenient for the two of them. There is a ton of foot traffic. We both spend a lot of time on Selwyn and now with littleSpoon, so it feels like an extension of home.
Starting out in the food industry as a hostess at age 15 (because a friend told her the boys were cute) has since led to a life of slinging steaks, working in food television and now the opening up of a restaurant whose ambiance and décor feel like LA, but is actually casual and inviting. Based on simple, honest food, honoring the hard work of the people who grow it, the menu changes seasonally. Sourcing protein and produce locally, littleSpoon also utilizes local and regional artisans for their bread, coffee, and design elements.
With a main focus on breakfast, lunch, and brunch, littleSpoon wants to elevate these often forgotten meals in service and cuisine. The open menu offers such items as a hot pocket for breakfast: scrambled eggs, country ham with a jalapeno mornay in a light crispy dough. A liver mush sandwich served on rye ciabatta with spicy egg salad and arugula is one of Vanatas’ favorites. Eventually, she plans on launching a mixology program sometime in early September, the cocktails of which will change monthly and focus on one spirit in different ways. She also plans on having dinner events 6-8 times a month. These events will be prepaid, reservations only and feature different cuisines prepared by guest chefs.
Miles Payne, Chef at littleSpoon, brings a lot to the table. Having worked corporate for most of his cooking career, he has learned a great deal about managing styles and systems, privately owned restaurants, and managing costs, and saving money. Working with Alesha has been a blast, says Payne. Her west coast style is something Charlotte hasn’t seen yet, and I am very fortunate to have been paired with her. Paynes cooking concept and delivery is based on wanting people to come in to experience good food. The ingredients that we are fortunate enough to get are beautiful; we just want to showcase them…keep things fresh and vibrant. The restaurants goal is to source locally but be inspired globally. We want to use our southern ingredients and make food from around the world. We want to introduce flavors that our guest can relate to and put a twist on them.
Both Payne and Vanata share the same dream, for littleSpoon to succeed. Paynes respect for his fellow Charlottean chefs like Bruce Moffet, Chris Coleman, Paul Verica, Ben Philpott, Trey Wilson and Clark Barlowall of whom he considers guys putting out some insane food–help hold his feet to the fire as he strives each day to be a chef in the same class as those he honors. At the same time, Vanata finds this opportunity to set down roots with the boy she loves while helping shape a young, growing city an incredible opportunity. I feel as if I have joined a movement that started long ago and is now gaining momentum, and I am very proud to be a part of it.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/littleSpoonEatery, visit them at 2820 Selwyn Avenue Suite 180 or call 704-496-9008.