Just beyond the bustle of the SouthBay Pavilion in Carson, Evan Angelo’s Gelateria & Coffee Bar is a local oasis that entices you with artisanal gelatos and house-roasted coffees. Then it surprises you with an internationally inspired spread of pastries, pizzas, paninis, and more.
When Drs. Richard Butlig and Evangeline Roxas-Butlig opened their restaurant in 2014, its focus on gelato and coffee carried memories of their first trip to Italy with their son, Evan-Angelo. The menu has since expanded to include tastes from family trips to Europe, Asia, and across the US.
“Everywhere we visit, it’s all about trying new foods and experiencing the culture,” said Evangeline. “We wanted to bring back the family setting of being able to sit down together and enjoy the gelato, panini, crepe, and pizza that is like no other locally.”
Motivated by their travels, Evangeline and Richard spent time outside their medical practice to study the nuances of artisanal foods from classes, experts and culinary trips. “We wanted to learn the trade,” Evangeline explained. “We didn’t just want to become business owners and buy a franchise. We wanted to make this our very own.”
As a result, Evan Angelo’s now conducts a three-ring circus of specialty food-making, all performed in-house. On one side, a freezer case is checkered with colors of overflowing gelato. On the other, bubbling pizzas spin slowly inside a brick oven. And a parade of coffees, desserts, and savory snacks create a spectacle in between.
“A lot of people come for the gelato because that’s what they see or that’s what they know, and then they see that we also have crepes and pizzas,” said Megan Miller, who doubles as a pastry and gelato chef.
Megan works alongside Gelato Chef Alan Roxas to refresh the restaurant’s weekly gelato and dairy-free sorbetto selections. To distinguish between similar colors, each wavy sculpted mound is dressed with toppings that beckon you to guess the flavor before you read the labels. Piña Colada is marked by cherries and a tiny umbrella, Rocky Road is dotted with mini marshmallows, and Cap’n Crunch is sprinkled with cereal. Strawberry Cheesecake and Ferrero Rocher are among the flavors churned out regularly by popular demand. Others may come and go, based on fruit ripeness, seasonal availability, or changing trends.
Megan and Alan often create experimental flavors for adventurous tastes, such as Lemon Basil, Jackfruit, and Pineapple Jalapeno Express. Latin-inspired Chamoy flavors have red flakes of chili pepper mixed in with fruit sorbetto for a sweet and spicy kick. And because the owners are Filipino, along with many Filipino staff members and customers, Evan Angelo’s also rotates flavors of the Philippines, including Halo Halo, Buko Pandan, and Taro.
You can enjoy your gelato and sorbetto in a cup, waffle cone, or mixed in a shake. Or for novelty, have it pressed into a warm panini with a brioche bun, or scooped into a beer float. “You pick one of our draft beers, and we put the gelato in there. It’s like an ice cream float but the texture is smoother,” Megan described. “It’s a really nice drink to have with your meal or as a dessert.”
As for other desserts, Megan also makes a delightful array of macarons, cereal bars, s’mores trifle cups, and adorable mini cakes. Decidedly different from cupcakes, each mini cake resembles a full-sized decorated layer cake, shrunk down to 3 inches. The layered Crepe, Chocolate Raspberry, and Birthday Mini Cakes are all in high demand for any little celebration.
While it’s tempting to dive directly into dessert, your Evan Angelo’s experience wouldn’t be complete without dipping further into the full menu.
Customers perk up to find coffee drinks made from beans roasted on-site. Having intensely studied the art of coffee, Richard personally oversees the intricate process, monitoring the temperature and roasting time for light to dark roasts and flavored coffees, like cinnamon hazelnut or macadamia. Different beans are designated for drip coffees, espresso drinks, and the 12-hr Cold Brew, which is made in a mesmerizing drip tower on the counter.
To pair with your morning coffee, breakfast could be as simple as a freshly baked croissant, danish, or blueberry muffin, or as indulgent as Belgian Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, or a savory Crab Hash Crepe.
“Some people get dessert in the morning. Some people come just to get pizza. But it’s a whole experience,” Megan said. For lunch, dinner, or in between, the kitchen stands ready to assemble housemade pizzas, pastas, and paninis.
The pizza menu features Margherita, Classic Pepperoni, Meat Lovers, BBQ Chicken, Hawaiian Express, and Lobster. Or you can place a custom order, then watch the chefs make your pizza and shovel it into the Italian-made brick oven. Inside, the circular base of the oven rotates to give all sides of the crust equal opportunity to bask in the flames.
“We make the dough, the sauce, everything for it,” Megan described. “They’re made to order, so as soon as you order it, they stretch the dough, put the sauce and everything on it. The fire oven is going to give you an evenness, a crispiness around the crust and on the bottom.”
Though the pasta options are limited to Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Chicken Penne Alfredo, and Meatball Marinara, they’re all popular choices. And the paninis offer another way to enjoy melted cheese, sandwiched with smoked turkey, ham, vegetables, pesto chicken, or meatballs. The paninis are normally toasted in a French baguette, but you can opt to have yours made with a croissant or Hawaiian bun for a subtle change in taste and texture.
The menu of small plate tapas round out a meal as appetizers or side items, including Garlic Bread Puffs, Chicken Bites, Truffle Fries, and Homemade Meatballs. You can also enjoy these dishes for $5 each during happy hours, Monday through Friday from 3pm to 5pm.
For Richard and Evangeline, the menu and vision for Evan Angelo’s Gelateria & Coffee Bar continues to evolve. So they stay directly involved while still practicing family medicine full time at their clinic just around the corner from the restaurant. Likewise, their son, Evan-Angelo, pitches in to help while pursuing pre-med studies at USC. The family also owns Evan Angelo’s Flowers in the same complex as the restaurant. The three business have extended family ties, all managed by Evangeline’s sister, Emilie Mejia, with their cousin Marnie Fanega on the marketing team. Having multiple businesses so close together in Carson, the Butlig family feels deeply rooted in the local community.
“Being a local business owner gives us joy,” Evangeline said. “At Evan Angelo’s, we are a family. We build long-lasting relationships with our staff and our customers. We would like to continue and extend this family tree.”
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