Words by Audri Pleas
Photo by Young Kim
Splashed in tropical colors, 3300 Spenard Road is the home of coastal-inspired restaurant Charlou. The vision of La Bodega owner Pamela Hatzis and Charlou Co-founder and General Manager Nikole Gordon, the restaurant has been open since May 2019.
For some in the community, the historic address will feel like a second home. Residents familiar with the evolution of Spenard will recall the building as Taproot’s second incarnation or the Fly By Night Club. More recently, the space housed the popular collaborative pop-up effort between La Bodega and McCarthy food truck-turned-restaurant The Potato — La Potato. That was an idea that never went away, Moore says.
“Charlou has been in our hearts for a long while. The need for La Bodega to have a tasting space was the largest spark,” Moore said.
Patrons can expect to have access to a curated drink selection curated by their sister store La Bodega that harmonizes with Charlou’s menu. The name of the restaurant also holds a special place in the owner’s soul. Charlou, a blend of each of their grandmother’s name, is a tribute to their humanity, maternal spirit and traditions passed down to them.
“The name itself incorporates our grandmothers. Char — comes from Charlotte, and Lou — Gisela Louise. Our menu represents our grandmothers by making everything from scratch, supporting local vendors, and putting love into every meal. Not to mention accommodating individual allergies and preference with care and excitement,” Moore
In the next year, Charlou intends to expand its hours to provide brunch and lunch service in addition to hosting a diverse and dynamic event schedule. Moore also acknowledged they are preparing an upcoming menu relaunch that they are excited to present to the community soon.
“We want you to feel like you are coming home when you walk into Charlou. We believe food is a universal language that creates a welcoming atmosphere when done with love,” Moore said.