After a week's worth of previews and charity events, the restaurant will officially open its second location in Uptown Park on Thursday, October 3. In addition, Mendocino Farms announced it will open a third location in downtown Houston.
Designed by Austin-based architect Michael Hsu, whose recent projects include downtown's Understory food hall and The Original Ninfa's Uptown Houston, the 3,600-square-foot Uptown location takes its inspiration from the northern California coast. The 80-seat interior incorporates farmhouse elements and features a mural dedicated to the purveyors who supply the restaurant.
Slated for a summer 2020 opening, Mendocino Farm's second downtown location will be in Two Allen Center (1200 Smith Street); the first downtown outpost will be in the 609 Main at Texas office tower. The Allen Center campus has been undergoing a comprehensive series of renovations that includes transforming the Doubletree Hotel into the C. Baldwin and the addition of Denver-based steakhouse Guard & Grace.
Both locations will feature Mendocino Farms' menu of decadent sandwiches and elaborate salads. In addition to Mendo staples like the pork belly banh mi and pink lady beets and goat cheese salad, the restaurant's new fall menu includes the Nam’s Schoolhouse Charity Banh Mi, a chicken sandwich that's raising money to build schoolhouses in Vietnam, and the Pachamama Cubano that's made with heritage pork.
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 includes honey and herb-marinated goat cheese from Pure Luck Dairy (out of Dripping Springs, TX), breads from Slow Dough Bread Co., and sweets from Cake and Bacon. Backed by investment money from Whole Foods and investment firm TPG Growth, the restaurant has grown to more than 25 locations in California.
"Ellen and I are both thrilled and humbled by the overwhelming community response we’ve received in Rice Village,” Del Pero said a statement. "We are eager to continue building relationships in Rice Village while seeing how we can expand our impact and serve our new neighbors in Uptown Park in new and dynamic ways," Chen added.