Fresh-baked, football-shaped flatbreads cool on a wood rack next to a large griddle. Each order sizzles on the flattop until forming a light sear. Then the chef slices each steaming flatbread in half and folds them into rolls, revealing a bright green herb filling that’s flavorful, healthy, and in Zhengyalov Hatz’s case, full of nostalgia.
Zhengyalov hatz, the namesake flatbread in a Glendale bakery that opened this past November, combines 15 types of minced greens and herbs, including spinach, beetroot leaves, scallions, cilantro, onion, sorrel for a hint of sourness, and of course secrets. The owner tasked local farmers to grow greens and herbs to match the flavor back home.
“Would you like butter?” asks proprietor Jana Vallianos as the dish’s only option, saying, “Some people like to open it and put in butter if you don’t worry about cholesterol and extra calories.” The flatbread is innately satisfying, but fairly subtle. And since you might as well eat at Zhengyalov Hatz worry-free, just accept the butter.
Zhengyalov hatz is a regional specialty from the Republic of Artsakh, a hotly disputed region on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border that also goes by Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which has been the epicenter of repeated conflicts over the years. The late, great Anthony Bourdain visited Artsakh for a “Parts Unknown” episode titled “Armenia” that aired in 2018 and Azerbaijan promptly banned him.
Vresh Osipian grew up in Artsakh and devoted a bakery to zhengyalov hatz, the flatbread of his youth that’s also popular in Armenia’s neighboring Syunik Province. Osipian remains based in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, and runs the original Zhengyalov Hatz there. He opened this Glendale branch in November. Mother-in-law Jana Vallianos recently located from Florida after 30 years in the Keys to run this LA outpost.
People probably could live on zhengyalov hatz alone, since the flatbread makes for such a light and healthy meal, but the bakery does offer two other complementary bites.
Okroshka ($3.49) is a cool, tangy house-made yogurt drink featuring so much diced cucumber and dill that the drink might as well be called a salad. According to Food 52, a dish by the same name is a popular summertime soup in parts of Russia, and it’s easy to imagine Zhengyalov Hatz’s version working just as well in a bowl, eaten with a spoon.
Paxlava ($4.18) is a regional baklava variation, a judiciously sweet, fairly dense rhombus featuring phyllo dough and cinnamon-kissed chopped walnut filling, plated with a decorative honey drizzle.
The rustic space itself is a warm, welcoming place to enjoy Caucasus comfort foods, complete with a reclaimed wood façade and planter-lined patio. The dining room houses exposed wood rafters and brick walls lined with paintings that depict Old Yerevan village scenes — still lifes starring wine bottles and the region’s beloved pomegranate.
Showcasing a single vegan (without that butter) flatbread may seem limiting. In fact, Vallianos said that some customers have asked Zhengyalov Hatz to add flatbreads like khachapuri, but that cheesy, increasingly popular Georgian specialty simply doesn’t taste like home.
Zhengyalov Hatz. 318 E. Broadway, Glendale.