What’s on the Menu at Jessica Biel’s New Restaurant? We Get the Dish

04/21/2014 at 11:31 AM ET

Jessica Biel Au Fudge
Courtesy Jessica Biel

Jessica Biel has been quietly at work building the menu for Au Fudge, the kid-friendly restaurant she’s opening in L.A. with designer pal Estee Stanley.

Every few weeks, a new photo from a menu tasting pops up on Au Fudge’s Instagram feed — with the latest few name-checking L.A. chef Vic Casanova as the culinary mind behind the mouth-watering salads, pastas, desserts and more.

“Get ready b***** for some delicious salads!!!” was the caption on this shot.

“Its happening again!! #aufudge #tasting #chefviccasanova #carbonara soooo divine!!”

“And #desert [sic] @aufudge tasting. #bananapudding #smashedcookies #chocolatemousse. Start drooling!!”

Casanova, who owns L.A. restaurant Gusto and is opening Italian spot Pistola in the next few months, says he didn’t know Biel very well when Stanley, a good friend, asked him to create the menu for Au Fudge.

But, as a young dad, he immediately identified with their restaurant vision: To create “somewhere that’s an oasis for families, a place where the kids can go do educational things and the parents can have a great lunch or breakfast or dinner,” Casonova tells PEOPLE.

The 120- to 130-seat restaurant will be set up with areas where kids can do art projects and other activities — but, of course, they’re also welcome at the table with Mom or Dad. “The purpose for me is to create food that can make a whole family happy,” Casanova says. “Comforting, approachable, relaxing fare that shows off [ingredients from] California.”

That might be a baby artichoke sandwich with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and lemon gremolata, or a peanut butter blondie topped with banana pudding, peanut butter budino, pieces of frozen peanut butter cups and vanilla bean whipped cream. (Half of the menu will be healthy and the other half will be “super indulgent,” Casanova says.)

Although the restaurant won’t open for another six months, and possibly not for another year, Casanova says the PB dessert and artichoke sandwich will make the opening menu, alongside plenty of others he’s been presenting to Biel and Stanley at tastings.

A bakery within Au Fudge will be making bread on site (we hope the rainbow loaf above, from the restaurant’s Instagram, makes the final menu cut!), and as much food as possible will be sourced from local farmers.

“Jessica insisted that everything in the restaurant has to be 100% organic,” he adds. “That was very comforting as a chef. I find a lot of people talk the talk [about going organic], but when it comes down to it, they don’t want to spend the money. But it really means something to her.”

Casanova says he’s enjoyed getting to know Biel: “I think the clincher was one day, Jessica hit me up with a text message. I guess it was her and Justin’s one-year anniversary and she said that Justin loves coconut and she wanted to get him the coconut gelato pie we make at Gusto.” The problem: The pie is made from scratch, and she needed it in two hours.

“We made it happen for her, and I definitely think that sealed the food relationship,” he says.

—Marissa Conrad

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Showing 25 comments

tammi on

Photos are “Courtesy Jessica Alba”? Really?

Tina on

She’s not even the chef. I don’t wish her any harm. But honestly, no one would be interested in this venture if she wasn’t Justin Timberlake’s wife. Just Sayin’

Guest on

“baby artichoke sandwich with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and lemon gremolata” – what kid would eat this?

Rolyat on

Kids want Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. They have no clue what a baby artichoke sandwich with fresh mozzarella, presciutto and lemon gremolata is. This place sounds like the pad locks will be on the front door in no time.

Christina on

My kids would eat this and I know plenty of others that would as well. Kids love Mac and Cheese sure, but they also love to explore their world and food is great way to do that. Will they love everything they try, nope but they will like some of it and as long as you don’t make an issue out of it they will keep trying new things. It is also how you put it to them, “baby artichoke sandwich with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and lemon gremolata” kid translation Ham and Cheese sandwich with a lemon icee. Now who wants it?

@guest on

This isn’t a restaurant JUST for kids so adults would eat the artichoke sandwich. They’re not trying to be a Chuck e cheese it’s just kid friendly. Anyway it’s sad that restaurants are to cheap to go organic it should be a given. Good for them for not letting money keep them from doing.

Lol on

@Tina. So what? It hasn’t stopped Jay Z, Eva Longoria and JT from opening a restaurant, or being an agent to athletes. They hired a successful chef to create the menu they’re not coming up with the recipes themselves. You do realize that a lot of chain restaurants started the same way right?

Lori on

Yea I don’t think her not having restaurant business matters. She has the money to hire experts and experienced people to help her get this off the ground. This isn’t any different to what every other entepreneur does

Jaymeson on

Will be a kid friendly place but yet a food captions reads: “Get ready b***** for some delicious salads!!!” Is foul language really necessary? So over the use of it all the time.

Jill on

Finally! For the past five years I have been hoping someone would see the huge lack of family friendly restaurants that serve quality “adult” food. I wish them the best of luck with this venture and hope they are so successful that they expand to the east coast!

Iri on

What a classy caption for a “kid friendly restaurant.”

Jaymeson on

Rolyat says: Kids want Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. They have no clue what a baby artichoke sandwich with fresh mozzarella, presciutto and lemon gremolata is. This place sounds like the pad locks will be on the front door in no time. I SAY: WRONG: I hated mac and cheese as a kid, we were raised with REAL food, not crap food or fast food, my own kids we raised to cook with REAL food, no junk or fast foods ever for us. SOME parents raise their kids eating healthy and good, just because you Rolyat didn’t or don’t doesn’t mean other parents are like you! Our kids would love the artichoke sandwich with fresh mozzarella, presciutto and lemon gremolata because WE cook like this at home! Try eating healthy food sometime!!

Tina on

@Christina, lol. That’s so funny. Ham and cheese sandwich with a lemon icee. Who wants it? I DO!

Tina on

@LOL, yes I do realize that. You missed my point.

anon on

People who say kids won’t eat this…that’s because you don’t introduce YOUR kids to foods like this. Otherwise, they would eat it! They grow up eating what YOU give them until they are old enough to make their own stuff.

David on

Wow. Her desperate need to “nest” is really showing through. Pushing and trying to talk Justin into breeding with her and now this kid-friendly restaurant. She comes across so needy and desperate all the time. Justin is all wrong for her.

Melbourne on

You can’t just open a restaurant with no experience with your stylist friend and expect it to work cause of who you are, you how many pro chef restaurant close and you all think this one going to succeed and kids don’t want fancy shmancy food, they eat it if it look good, if it doesn’t no one will make them not even jessica Biel Estée Stanley just saying

Pam on

“Get ready b***** for some delicious salads!!!”? Was that really necessary? Doesn’t seem very kid friendly to me. I hate when people say that.

savvysearch on

The dishes are for adults, but I can see kids eating them as well. Stop feeding your kids canned soup and Krafts mac and cheese and give them REAL FOOD for a change. I can’t believe there are commenters here defending feeding our kids crap. Parental laziness has got to stop. These are kids that grow up into adults who still eat crap.

The Frog on

An ‘organic’ restaurant that serves neon, rainbow bread made with tons of food coloring? Hmmm….

Ken on

@Tina. Why wouldn’t she get attention for the restaurant. Reality tv stars and teen moms get a ton of coverage of doing absolutely nothing except pimping their bodies and love lives. If they can get the medias attention so can she justin or no justin. At least she’s being productive

carrie lacy on

The pictures look yummy. Who cares if she’s JT’s wife or not. Good for her making a restaurant that has great, healthy food for parents and their kids. Hope she has crayons & plain, white tablecloths so everyone can get artistic while they eat .

Anonymous on

Insn’t she supposed to be an actress.

Anonymous on

You people are so negative – it’s pathetic! Every single people article has the same negative losers posting comments. If you don’t like her restaurant, don’t freakin go. Stay in your sh*tty house and continue feeding your kids sh*tty food. F’ing idiots…

Anonymous on

Jessica! I love the idea of a kid-friendly environment. My husband and I have brainstormed for several months of such a place. I pray that you are able to successfully get this restaurant into existence. The idea of kids and parents enjoying dinner altogether is exciting! I would love to initiate such a partnership in the south..

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