Brothers In Business

By Margaux Farrell

Those who have visited the University of Southern California know that the neighborhoods around the university are extremely impoverished. Most of the food choices in the area range from fast food to prepackaged meals, so finding healthy dining options is not the easiest thing to do.

As the university has been striving to revamp the area, and bring in new businesses, the future for the Trojans dining selection seems promising. Nature’s Brew, a new café that opened up just outside of the USC campus last summer, is hoping to help pioneer that transformation with the types of food and beverages they serve.

Danny Kronfli, Robert Kronfli and Lior Hillel, are the owners of Nature’s Brew, and together this dream team of owners seem to be unstoppable. The three also own Bacaro LA, a popular tapas restaurant just two doors down from Nature’s Brew. In addition, they own a second location of Bacaro LA, and are currently in escrow for opening a third. As if that was not enough, they have recently launched a sauce line, which is currently sold in over 40 Whole Foods Markets.

Danny and Robert, both USC alumni, know firsthand the struggle of finding healthy food in the proximity of the university’s campus.

As a student, Robert remembers constantly feeling frustrated trying to find somewhere to eat that was not a stereotypical fast food restaurant.

“I like food, and when I was a student here I’d be like, ‘why can’t I go get good food around here,” said Robert. “We wanted to open up a place that serves really fresh and healthy food, really health driven.”

Danny first opened Bacaro LA, and then Robert joined in on the business after he graduated.

“I was an SC student, and now I’m a graduate, and I kind of understood the need for something good around here, so that’s really the reason why we wanted to open up around here,” said Danny.

Robert said they hope Nature’s Brew will be able to not only bring healthy food options to students and visitors, but also help change the face of the area in the years the come.

“We had a bigger vision of transforming the way USC students eat and enjoy food, because it was a constant complaint when I was at school,” said Robert. “Hopefully that will attract other businesses around here, because everyone knows that USC is a struggling neighborhood, and it’s slowly changing and we want to be a big part of that transformation.”

Most of the fruit’s and vegetables are purchased at local farmer’s markets. The pastries are baked fresh twice daily and the selection varies. “We wanted to focus on all local ingredients, local farmers, fresh fruit, freshly baked goods and all that good stuff,” said Danny.

Co-owner Chef Lior Hillel said the experience of working with the Kronfli brothers had made him grateful and thankful for the opportunities he has been afforded with in his career.

“I couldn’t ask for a better way to achieve my dreams through that partnership,” said Hillel. “They (the brothers) have a lot of drive and fire, and I bring what I got to the table, and I think that the combo, its honestly, I can say, I’m in the making of my dream.”

Quality and customer service are two of the most important values for the co-owners of Nature’s Brew and Bacaro LA.

Senior barista Olivia Gambino said that Nature’s Brew strives to make sure that customers feel that there is more behind their experience at the café than just a transaction.

“They want people to feel at home here, you know like a kitchen environment,” said Gambino. “You come here, and you’re at home.”

Nature’s Brew has been so successful in their first six months of operation that they recently extended their business hours to 10 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.

Additionally, the café hosts open mic nights as well as live music performances, and there is no telling just how much more the future holds for this quickly blossoming USC local eatery.