Neighborhood

Spotlight Series:

Lauren Lemos

Wax Paper

 

Hello Neighbor!

 

I have many fond memories growing up (pre-kindergarten) and lying on the carpet in front of the TV in my childhood home, my unicorn (“Uni”) in one hand and an apple juice in the other, watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as my mom was in the kitchen either cooking or tidying up the house and my sister was at school. I LOVED everything about that show. Being that I was a very hyperactive kid there was always a certain calm that came over me while watching it. I loved how Mr. Rogers would get frequent visits from the postman and other folks in his neighborhood. At a young age this small detail instilled in me the belief that being part of a strong community is so important.

 

Flash forward to today, we are now lucky enough to have our office in sunny Los Angeles, which is such a treat! There’s so much talent bubbling in our own close-knit neighborhood, and in the spirit of Mr. Rogers’ spotlighting everyday standouts I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of the friends in our Los Angeles neighborhood and give you a peek inside their creative worlds. We hope you are as inspired by these incredible women as we are!

-Laura ODell

Get to know Lauren:

1. Wax Paper is such a hit in Frogtown. Can you tell us a little more about how you and Peter started it?

Thank you so much, and thank you also for having me here. Peter and I met working downtown back in 2012. We fell madly in love, and we got married a couple of years later. We both had this shared passion of food and hospitality, and after working for over a decade in the industry, we decided it was time to focus on our own concept. Peter has always dreamed of opening a tiny little sandwich shop for the community and also industry people on their day off. He wanted to take the classic sandwich and give it a little more flare/flavor/creativity! We wanted to create a place that felt like home. Peter left his job, and I kept my three jobs, and we got to work on Wax Paper, opening about a year later. We really just took it one step, one mistake, one achievement at a time. We learned a lot in the process, and ran out of money very close to opening…we HAD to get the doors open, so we did!

2. How did you come up with the idea to name your sandwiches?

We were driving in the car, listening to NPR, and we talked about how fantastic the hosts’ names were. With the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry gets a sandwich named after him still fresh in our mind from recently watching, it just clicked! We thought, what a fantastic way to celebrate these amazing journalists and not just have “ham and cheese” or “Italian” or “#?” be our menu. Many of the hosts on the menu have visited or frequent the shops; Kai, Hettie, and Larry to name a few. ;) Dee Dee Bridgewater wrote us the most beautiful letter, thanking us for having her on the menu, and likening Peter’s approach to the recipe as one she’d use to approach a song. Huge honor and moment for us. She is an icon in life and in the jazz world.

3. What’s your favorite Movie of all time? Something that you never get tired of watching.

Oh easy, Edward Scissorhands. A beautiful and perfect movie in my mind.

4. Owning a small business has its ups and downs as we all know.What’s the most challenging part of being in the restaurant business?

I think the most challenging part is accepting that we are human in all of this, that we aren’t perfect. That no matter how hard we work, how hard we fall, how much we lose or win, we are people trying our best at the end of the day. I also really struggle with wondering if every single person has had a good experience here, and my brain knows it’s not possible, haha, so I’m working on that.

 

 

5. If you could open another Wax Paper in another Country which country would it be and why?

I think Wax Paper Canada or Wax Paper Germany would be awesome. Many folks from Canada request us to come to Toronto or Montréal, and having lived in Germany as a kid, I can tell you there is a need for sandwiches there, haha!

 If you're in LA be sure to stop by either their Frogtown or Chinatown locations!

IG: @waxpaperco