A new sandwich shop is joining the lineup of eateries near the Dallas Arts District on Wednesday. Hailing from California is Mendocino Farms, a sandwich restaurant committed to “selling happy.”
Mendocino Farms first opened in 2005 by husband-wife duo Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen. They have since been popular in California, utilizing ingredients from local farmers and food vendors. In 2015, Mendocino Farms received an investment from Whole Foods Market, thus growing their chain even larger.
The downtown location is the first in Dallas. It's a fast-casual shop bedecked with blue and white decor, an aesthetic that makes for a calming and comfortable environment.
For drinks, Mendocino Farms offers a selection of juices, soft drinks, wine and, on tap, local beer options.
Mendocino Farms isn’t your basic sandwich shop. Many of the sandwiches run more than $10, but these creations aren't found most places and are worth the price.
One of the most interesting sandwiches is the not-so-fried chicken sandwich, made with shaved roasted chicken breast and topped with Mendocino Farms’ signature “krispies” ($10.95). The sandwich also has a savory herb aioli, tomatoes, pickled onions and a crunchy mustard-pickle slaw between two pieces of toasty ciabatta.
Equally good is Mendo’s original pork belly banh mi, their take on the Vietnamese classic ($11.45). This one consists of panini-pressed ciabatta stuffed with braised and caramelized pork belly, house-made pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, jalapeños and chili aioli.
Even if you opt to get a salad, you can be just as satisfied as you would with a sandwich. A great choice is the Saved Drake Farms salad, which has an interesting backstory ($12.75).
Farmer Dr. Dan Drake was operating a goat farm to struggling success. One of Mendo’s original chefs discovered Drake’s goat cheese and featured it in a salad with chicken breast, pink lady beets, green apples, dried cranberries, crushed honey-roasted almonds, red onions, mixed greens and chopped romaine lettuce.
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The salad, which debuted on Mendo’s menu in 2010, proved to be so popular, that Drake’s partnership with Mendocino Farms ultimately saved his goat farm.
On the vegan side is Mendo’s smokehouse tempeh sandwich with house-smoked organic tempeh, mustard-pickle slaw, tomatoes, pickled red onions and vegan aioli ($10.45). It tastes so much like actual brisket that even your most ardent meat-eating friend wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Mendocino Farms is a simple concept, yet different enough to prove interesting. It's a perfect place to stop by and grab a bite before or after a show at the Winspear Opera House. It's also conveniently located near several office buildings, perfect for grabbing lunch in the middle of the day.
Mendocino Farms, 2000 Ross Ave., Suite 160 (downtown). Open 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; closed Saturday and Sunday.