A California-based "better sandwich" shop has set its sights on Houston. Mendocino Farms will open in Uptown Park next spring, real estate developer EDENS announced.
The Los Angeles-based restaurant is known for its decadent sandwiches like the pork belly banh mi and the hot Italian that pair high-quality ingredients with freshly baked breads and vegetables sourced from local farms. Those sandwiches, along with some entree-sized salads, have made the restaurant a hit.
Backed by investment money from Whole Foods, the company has been on a growth spurt with 25 locations in Northern and Southern California. The Uptown Park restaurant will be joined next summer by an outpost slated for the former Nao Ramen space in Rice Village, according to the Mendocino Farms website. Together, they'll be the concept's first locations outside of California.
“We've long had restaurant guests passing through California from Texas who discover our food and beg us to open in their home state,” said Mendocino Farms co-founder Mario Del Pero in a statement. “We're thrilled to have partnered with EDENS to join the Uptown Park community and provide a welcoming neighborhood gathering place for local foodies and families.”
Adding Mendocino Farms is only the latest step in Uptown Park's transformation. The shopping center recently renovated its public spaces with new walkways, wifi, and other improvements. Healthy eating restaurant Flower Child opened in September, and Uptown Sushi will reopen in January with a new design.
“We are committed to bringing new dining, fitness, entertainment, and shopping concepts to grow options for our customers at Uptown Park," EDENS managing director Tom Kiler added. "Our initial investment to redevelop and modernize the look and functionality of the property is essential to providing the experience we know our community and this world-class city deserves."
A certain segment of food-obsessed Houstonians love to complain about the city's lack of high quality sandwiches, but recent arrivals like East Hampton Sandwich Co and Rhotey Rotisserie are raising the game. Given its track record of success in the Golden State, Texans should be excited about Mendocino Farms' prospects.