new sandwich shop debuts

Decadent California-based sandwich shop announces Rice Village summer open date

California-based sandwich shop announces Rice Village open date

Mendocino Farms group food shot
Mendocino Farms' sandwiches and salads are coming to Houston next month. Courtesy of Mendocino Farms
Mendocino Farms Chris Shepherd Mario Del Pero
Chris Shepherd with Mendocino Farms co-founder Mario Del Pero. Courtesy of Mendocino Farms
Mendocino Farms Chris Shepherd sandwich
The Charity Sandwich features Shepherd's bacon sausage topped with a wedge salad. Courtesy of Mendocino Farms
Mendocino Farms avocado and quinoa superfood ensalada
Avocado and quinoa superfood ensalada. Courtesy of Mendocino Farms
Mendocino Farms pork belly banh mi
The signature pork belly banh mi. Courtesy of Mendocino Farms
Mendocino Farms group food shot
Mendocino Farms Chris Shepherd Mario Del Pero
Mendocino Farms Chris Shepherd sandwich
Mendocino Farms avocado and quinoa superfood ensalada
Mendocino Farms pork belly banh mi

Houston's wait for Mendocino Farms will come to an end next month. The California-based restaurant known for its creative sandwiches and salads will open the first of four Houston-area locations on July 18 in Rice Village.

Founded by husband-and-wife duo Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen, Mendocino Farms offers a seasonally inspired menu that utilizes locally sourced ingredients. In Houston, that will include honey and herb-marinated goat cheese from Pure Luck Dairy (out of Dripping Springs, TX), breads from Slow Dough Bread Co., and local craft beers from Saint Arnold and others. The Houston restaurants will be the couple's first outposts outside of California.

“There is so much about Houston that resonates with our passions and our values and reminds us of home," Del Pero said in a statement. "The hospitality, the diversity, the respect for time-honored traditions like you see in barbecue.”

Located in the former Nao Ramen space in Rice Village, Houston's first Mendocino Farms will offer seating for 70 inside and 56 on the patio. The design takes its inspiration from a Napa Valley farm house. In addition to signature items like the pork belly banh mi and pink lady beets and goat cheese salad, the menu will feature seasonal items like the summer heirloom BLT that utilizes locally-sourced tomatoes.

In addition to using local ingredients, the restaurant has also collaborated with local chef Chris Shepherd on a special sandwich. The Charity Sandwich features Shepherd's smoked bacon sausage, “wedge slaw” (with fresh herbs and black pepper buttermilk dressing), red onions, tomato, and housemade roasted garlic aioli. All proceeds from the sandwich will benefit the Southern Smoke Foundation, the chef's charity that provides financial assistance to people in the restaurant industry who have emergency needs.

"Partnering with Mendocino Farms on a sandwich that gives back to Southern Smoke was a no-brainer for me," Shepherd added. "I fully support any initiative designed to raise money for this cause, and especially love that Mendocino Farms’ mission statement aligns so perfectly with ours.”

Additional locations of Mendocino Farms will open in Uptown Park, downtown, and The Heights in the coming months.