On Thursday, Sept. 21, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m, Full of Life Flatbread will be celebrating 20 years in business in Los Alamos, California. A ticketed event is open to the public with lauded chefs from across the southland cooking up a feast in the garden and restaurant accompanied by Flatbread Pizzas and Salads.
Chef and owner Clark Staub founded Full of Life Flatbread in 2003 in the sleepy Central Coast town quiet town of Los Alamos and has become a worldwide destination restaurant with a 23-ton live-fire stone oven at its core, built by Staub himself. Staub would never admit this, but he’s critical to Los Alamos’ emergence as a food mecca. Sixteen years ago, the former professional skateboarder–turned record company executive–turned baker settled in town, built a pizza oven with local river rocks, white sand from Two Oaks Ranch in Los Olivos, and adobe from Central Coast wine legend John Alban — maker of world-class viognier — and launched what is now Full of Life Flatbread.
Chefs and Friends participating include Drew Deckman from Deckman’s, Conchas de Piedra, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, Staub’s wife of five years and co-owner of The Mar Vista, chef Jill Davie, Redbird and Vibiana’s Neal Fraser, Lunetta’s Emilio Cuyuch and owner Rafael Lunetta, Steven Fretz of Coast Range in Solvang and a long list of Full of Life alumni. Live music will include Money Mark of the Beastie Boys and Canyon Cody from Subsuelocrew.
“Establishing Full of Life Flatbread back in 2003, I had lofty ambitions but never imagined the impact that we have had in the Santa Ynez Valley and in particular the tiny town of Los Alamos,” the sourdough starter guru with plans to expand tells L.A. Weekly. “I’m proud of the culinary evolution that we have participated in and look forward to the next chapter.”
Staub looks back on the early days in a recent Instagram post:
“When I built the bar area 20 years ago my goal was to make it feel lived in. I didn’t have money for a designer and just went off things that made me feel like I lived there (which I have on occasion slept there). I wanted a big mirror like at @balthazarny, I wanted a zinc bar like at @zinccafeandmarket, I wanted hardwood floors and a black wainscot. I had high ceilings and thought of my very old friend @carmenabelleira and commissioned her to create heartstrings from upcycled tin. I had virtually no budget and Richard, Mark and I did all the work. Richard was a genius when a local rancher gave us old tree fence posts and we made them into bullnose for my zinc bar; quite an engineering feat from single pieces of tree branches!
Tonight I attended a town meeting for a new project that, ideally, will be joining us in @losalamos.ca. I rarely have the time to join these meetings and have always felt guilty about this. Tonight I went and @jilliana.davie was a driving force for me to attend.
Community is awesome and some will oppose growth and some will welcome it. Some will feel encroachment and others will welcome evolution. There were good questions asked. There were irrelevant rants. There was dialogue and that is always good.
At a point, a resident commented “Build it and they will come” and turned to look at me standing in the back of the hall. There were citizens there warning that there was no market for this project (I disagree). “Build it and they will come.” As we approach 20 years these words reminded me of my ideal building this bar. I BELIEVED that if I could provide good food (thus for years our sign in front of “Eat Good Food”) people would come.
While it did take time, people did come. They came and filled the bar I built. They came and filled the restaurant and food filled out the hearth and oven.
My restaurant was built with intention. This pic is from tonight just before I left for the town meeting. I believe if you have sincere intentions good things follow. I’ve tried to maintain our original intention. In 20 years obviously much has changed. Mostly for the good.”
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