Open since March 2017, Cos&Pi may be fairly new to its South Pasadena neighborhood, but has quickly gained a steady fan base among locals and out-of-towners alike, who eagerly line up daily to order the restaurant’s made-from-scratch culinary creations. One of its “celebrity” dishes that took off on Instagram was its Avocado Toast, which people travel from far and wide to order.
Cos&Pi is the brainchild of Casey Wiele and Xochilt Perez, a husband-and-wife team. The couple, who just celebrated their six-year wedding anniversary, met while working in the restaurant industry, and eventually reached a point where they were ready to open their own restaurant. And when the space that was formerly Papa Don’s Deli became available in South Pasadena, everything just seemed to fall into place.
“When we had the chance to open our own place, we went for it,” said Wiele. “We wanted to get back to the basics where the food matters. We’re still putting in the hours every day, but at least now we know it’s for ourselves. We knew that if we served good food, the word would get out and people would come. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just trying to serve breakfast and lunch right.”
Prior to opening the restaurant, Wiele worked for the Patina Restaurant Group for more than 20 years, and was the former Executive Chef at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Descanso Gardens and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Perez, a trained pastry chef, oversees the restaurant’s breads and pastries, which are baked fresh daily and incorporated into many of the menu’s sandwiches.
“We have two kids, Cosmo and Pirate, so Cos&Pi is a short nickname for them,” explained Wiele. “We’re very family-oriented and hands-on with our business. My wife and I are here every day, and we’re focused on good food and good customer service. We’ve built a strong team behind us, and we’re like one big happy family here.”
Added Perez, “We try to make everything in-house as much as possible, and that extends to the ingredients that we use. For our Breakfast Croissant Sandwich, we bake our croissants fresh, we purchase the best bacon, and when Casey makes his eggs, he bastes them with good-quality butter, not margarine. And for our Turkey Club, we don’t buy a cooked turkey—we sous vide it for three hours for optimal quality and flavor. We focus on all of the little details so that our guests can really enjoy their food.”
They adapted their menu according to the dishes that their guests liked and ordered the most. Now, everything that they make is popular and in high-demand. The Corn “Sotto” Tostada was originally on the menu as a vegetarian, gluten-free option, but it ended up becoming one of the restaurant’s best-selling items. Two months ago, Wiele and Perez experimented with making their own spam, which has also become extremely popular, so now it’s a mainstay on the menu.
Most recently, the couple had the opportunity to lease the building next door, and has plans to expand their space to eventually offer dinner as well, in addition to opening a second location down the road. They also obtained their beer and wine license and have added several specialty drinks to the restaurant’s menu, including the popular Unicorn Blood—a delicious sparkling wild berry and citrus spritzer.
When they aren’t busy overseeing the restaurant, Wiele and Perez love to be involved with the local community. They donate meals to the non-profit Food For Thought, and when Mosaic first opened and didn’t have a space for its meetings, the couple let the church members hold their services at Cos&Pi on Mondays—the one day the restaurant is closed.
“We love South Pasadena,” said Wiele. “This is such a great community.”
Cos&Pi is located at 303 Pasadena Ave. in South Pasadena. It is open Tues. – Fri. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat. and Sun. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed Mon. For more information, call (626) 460-6030 or visit cosandpi.com.
The Cos&Pi Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 10.5.18.
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