Debuting on December 8 is Mendocino Farms' first location in the San Diego area. The Southern California concept, which has 14 other outposts throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, has landed at The Shops at La Jolla Village in a newly-remodeled, stand-alone 2,957-square-foot space that includes an 800-square-foot outdoor patio.
The counter service eatery was founded by husband and wife owners Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen, who have another Mendocino Farms slated to open in Del Mar by Spring 2017 and tell Eater that they will likely bring a third location to San Diego.
When it launches this Thursday in La Jolla, it will operate from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Featuring a rotating menu fueled by local and regional produce, Mendocino Farms' core offerings are affordable, chef-driven sandwiches, plus soup and salad specials.
Signatures, including the pork belly banh mi, with caramelized Kurobuta pork belly, pickled daikon and carrots, and fresh jalapeño on toasted ciabatta are joined by seasonal additions — this winter, they include a braised short rib and french onion melt with red wine-braised short ribs, "French onion soup" onions, havarti cheese, horseradish crema and arugula on a toasted pretzel roll and a winter Asian pear salad with julienned Asian pear, shaved fennel, crushed honey roasted almonds, heirloom red and wild rice, shaved Grana Padano cheese, Scarborough Farm's greens, butter lettuce and romaine with Jeremy's sherry vinaigrette and an applewood-smoked bacon option.
For the opening, the eatery partnered with Galaxy Taco chef de cuisine Christine Rivera, teaming up to create the Torta de Lomo, a pressed torta-style sandwich stuffed with braised pork, escabeche ensalada, black bean spread, avocado, and chipotle aioli, which 100% of proceeds from sales of the sandwich going to the ECOLIFE Conservation charity. The concept also offers wine and local craft beer on tap, with Bitter Brothers, Modern Times Beer, and Karl Strauss Brewing Company on the opening draft list.