BRENT MILLER, JAIME BENSON & CHEF ANDREW GRUEL
THE TEAM BEHIND THREE NEW CONCEPTS: BUTTERLEAF,
TWO BIRDS, & CENTER HUB BAR
TRADE MARKETPLACE | IRVINE, CA
The brand new concept of the food hall TRADE in Irvine is simple: shop, drink, dine, hang and be present. Two of the many concepts opening up are Two Birds and Butterleaf. Two Birds being a very simple chicken concept that will no doubt be more than simple; and Butterleaf-a long overdue plant-based vegetable diner serving up vegetarian dishes for the non-vegetarians. The creators behind this new, healthy and exciting concept is Andrew Gruel, Jaime Benson and Brent Miller. All three masterminds have a nicely curated resume and will no doubt bring uniqueness to the TRADE food hall.
Andrew Gruel, a familiar name in the foodie-universe, is the creator and mastermind behind Slapfish, a modern seafood shack. Now, Andrew has taken on new and exciting projects, opening up these two new eateries at TRADE. His idea behind Two Birds is simple: to bring a really good chicken sandwich to Orange County, free of all those additives you’d find in one from a fast-food joint. Andrew and his team pride themselves on the fact that they exclusively use farm-fresh, free-range Jidori chicken. Their goal with the menu is to to keep things as simple and flavorful as possible. Butterleaf celebrates the unsung glory of vegetables offering a satisfying bounty of fresh, plant-based options. Vegetables are gaining major popularity with many people taking on plant based diets, and Butterleaf is the place to go if you want a delicious meal, chock full of healthy, plant based options. Both Two Birds and Butterleaf are exciting projects for Andrew and his team, and Chef Gruel is more than ready to bring simple, delicious flavors to TRADE.
Brent Miller is a seasoned hospitality industry operator and consultant, and has been lifelong friends with both Andrew and Jaime. Brent has cultivated a thorough set of skills and knowledge that is unique to the restaurant industry. He began his journey 22 years ago traveling to different parts of the United States helping open concepts and generating impressive revenue. He helped co-develop a QSR concept-a quick service restaurant-and was the Chief Operations Officer and Controller for Zoom Holdings, LLC operating a QSR concept in an upscale urban lounge; the company generated $10 million annually and created a strong branding presence. He’s worked in consulting, including assisting restaurant concepts with their menus and recipe development, cost and controls, budgeting and procurement, staffing and training, and excelling in design and construction. To say he, “does it all”, would be an understatement. Now, with his team members Chef Gruel and Jaime, Brent is at it again with Two Birds and Butterleaf. This time Miller is bringing back the QSR concept, to help deliver a very functional, attractive, and cost-effective space at the TRADE food hall.
Jaime Benson, 20 years deep in the restaurant industry, has found his passion in working, managing and opening concepts in Orange County. Impressively, Jaime got his start at Mimi’s Cafe, working and climbing the corporate ladder for 8 years, where he became a corporate trainer and manager and helped opened more Mimi’s in other states. After working with Mimi’s he worked for fine dining restaurants in Orange County and developed a strong understanding of restaurant development and how to open and maintain a concept. With all his knowledge and experience, Jaime was finally able to open his own restaurant, Urban Grill and Wine Bar, a successful bistro and wine bar in Foothill Ranch. Urban Grill helped Jaime get his feet wet and understand the excitement behind opening a restaurant. He is now part of the TRADE community riding the creative, exciting wave with Andrew and Brent. He is excited to be the backbone of Center Hub Bar offering fresh takes on signature cocktails, a nice compiled list of top-rated wines and really good craft beers to drink with that delicious chicken sandwich at Two Birds.
The three of these talented gentleman will no doubt bring great things to TRADE. “We want TRADE to be a one-stop spot for the best food porn in Orange County -- in essence, a retail version of all the food porn on Instagram in real life.” - Andrew Gruel, Brent Miller and Jaime Benson