Everything we do, we do for our community.

Juan Ferreiro

Great White embodies the epitome of coastal Californian charm, offering a trio of inviting all-day cafés nestled in vibrant locales. From the sun-kissed shores of Venice Beach to the bustling energy of Larchmont Village and the iconic allure of Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, each location exudes its own unique character and charm.

Step inside any Great White establishment, and you’re greeted with airy, welcoming spaces designed to invite leisurely gatherings and relaxed conversations. Here, fresh, seasonal ingredients take center stage, prepared with a deft touch and served with genuine warmth and hospitality. Whether you’re craving a leisurely brunch, a quick coffee catch-up, or an evening bite with friends, Great White offers an inviting haven where every visit feels like coming home.

Q: How did your career start?

A: In 2016, I recovered from kidney failure, and food brought me back to life. I went to study at a sustainable cooking farm in Ireland, Ballymaloe Cooking School, French-cooking focus and highlighted on sustainable farming, the produce, and the land. For me, it was as much about the food as the service. I worked in a hotel or restaurant during my summers growing up. I always had that passion, so I always wanted to give back to what recovered me. Ireland felt like that place, so I certified myself there. Then, I decided to take 2-3 years and go and learn from the best people in the world. My favorite stint was with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. I built my repertoire, but if I’m honest with you, it is nothing until you are running a place yourself. I was fortunate to have two guys trust me with running something at 23 years old. Five years later, we have built something quite special—with a lot of trial and error, sweat, and tears.

Q: What are the origins of Great White?

A: In 2017, co-founders Sam Trude and Sam Cooper Sam opened a breakfast and lunch spot with laid-back vibes reminiscent of Australian and European cafes they grew up with – bring your surfboard and grab a coffee. At the time, there was no table service. It became very successful; there was always a line around the corner. There wasn’t much going on in the area before, but it has come back to life over the past 5-7 years, and I think a lot of the ways that Venice is thriving can be attributed to our love for the area and the local community.

Everything we do, we do for our community. Right now, we’re sitting at the flagship Venice Beach location, and so many people are out and enjoying the sun. Many of these guests come 3-4 times a week. That’s what we base this community on. Creating a familiar place where you can come and have a smoothie or burrito and return later for a pizza, curry, or ceviche. Having something for everyone is our specialty. We have additional locations in Larchmont Village and West Hollywood, and we are opening two more locations within the next year or so, that are currently under construction.

Q: What inspired the Gran Blanco opening?

A: Gran Blanco has always been Great White’s rebel sibling, I would say. It’s our nighttime bar where we regularly have an all-vinyl DJ spinning. It’s a really special place, and we have a lot of fun there. If you come on Thursday or Friday night, you’ll know what I mean by special. For me, it’s personal, because it’s where I started with the company, and soon, we’ll be switching up the offering a bit. I can’t share details now, but I’m excited for everyone to experience it.

Gran Blanco is also where we created the Tremendous Burger, which utilizes ground beef from Premier Meat Company – it’s one of the most ordered items on the menu.

Q: You became the Executive Chef in 2020, did you have a heavy hand in the menu creation?

A: The Great White menu already had several staples, including the burrito. It uses bacon from Premier Meat Company (a relationship sparked by a shared love of burritos…) and has been named the best in the city by various publications.

When I became Executive Chef, all I did was tie up the loose ends. Something we do well is collaboration. For example, Angelo is our pizza expert. We applied the skills needed to take that offering to another level. We love doing that and are so proud of our collaborations. “The Sams” [loving nickname for Sam Trude and Sam Cooper] love being a part of the menu creation, so we have an extensive process where we talk about it at length, then go and start cooking. We do a series of tests and tastings with them until we find something that works.

We have the same menu at every location, so it has to be sustainable for us every year. We have a small footprint kitchen, so we need to be consistent all day, everyday. We try our best to create something that can be approached our way.

View Great White Menu

Q: Is it an initiative you have at Great White to be sustainable and fresh?

A: Yes, that’s really what we do here. We source the highest-quality food that we can (as we’re in California, it has to be fresh and light, but also indulgent), from the meat to the veggies and even the coffee, and then we put it together with our Great White touch. And we want to eat it every day. I typically eat at Great White 5 times per week.

When the pandemic started and I took over as Executive Chef, I was overwhelmed. Places wouldn’t have this and wouldn’t have that, and I was like “we are in California, I can find fresh produce.” I started going to the Santa Monica farmers market, and the first day, I was so shy. It was hard to build relationships, and I started buying a case of tomatoes. Then I went back the next week and bought 3 cases of tomatoes and then so on and so on. It got to the point where I had my car all seats down, I couldn’t see, and I could only use the side mirrors just packed with tomatoes. That’s the most beautiful thing about this part of the world: there are so many curious people. I would bring the boxes of produce every day, and the servers go, “Hey, what’s that? Can I help you?” so we ended up building a team of 3 or 4 dedicated to going to the farmer’s market and getting produce. It was so much fun. Through the pandemic, Premier Meat Company were the most loyal; Andy always supplied us with what we needed.

Q: What keeps you passionate about cooking?

A: People. I love people; I love seeing guests here every day. Beyond the guests and employees, I love working on something that gives me passion. I love seeing the restaurants busy, whether it’s the morning, afternoon, or night. That’s what I love about hospitality – knowing that we have people who want to eat our food and enjoy what we are creating. It goes through the back of the house to the front of the house.

Q: Do you have a favorite dish that you make?

A: Honestly, I love meat so much. I eat about 3 steaks a week in my house, and as a Chilean, I grew up eating steak from charcoal or woodfire. So that’s where my true passion is. Every weekend, I meet with my brother-in-law, and we cook large, farmed meats that Andy [Andy Rocker at Premier Meat Company] has suggested. I have a personal stash of it set aside. My wife and I just had a baby, so I have two to feed. I cook all her veggie bowls, oxtail, bone marrows. In that way, Premier Meat Company has already been part of my daughter’s upbringing. 

I also love making risotto. It might be random, but there’s something personal about making risotto that I really enjoy. I also enjoy making burritos. I could make a burrito anytime, eyes closed.  

Q: Do you have any tips for a chef at home?

A: Spend time prepping, if you’re going to do a recipe, read the recipe before. That’s the best way, take your time and be prepared.

Thank you, Chef Juan Ferreiro and Great White! It was a pleasure diving into the culinary world with you and learning more about your passion for fresh, local, and quality cuisine. Your dedication to creating an inviting atmosphere and championing thoughtful dishes truly shines through in every aspect of Great White’s dining experience.