Earl's Gourmet Grub soft-opened this past Tuesday on Venice Blvd., just east of Centinela in Mar Vista. Neighbors know and love Earl's fresh, inventive sandwiches from the local farmer's market and are welcoming this independent, gourmet eatery just as it helps brighten their soon-to-boom stretch of the city. Co-owner Dean Harada tells Grub Street that he was actually preparing to open Earl's in a few weeks, as friends warned him to expect the usual endless rounds of health inspections. To Harada's surprise, the restaurant passed on the very first visit, leading to Earl's early debut, meaning it's still in very soft-open mode and staff is still being trained while the restaurant gets on its feet. So what's being served here?
The other half of Earl's, Yvonne McDonald, explains on the deli's website that the name references the legendary "Earl of Sandwich," while "gourmet grub" comes from a catering business her family ran where every staff member wore aprons reading, "Grub #1, Grub #17, etc." The late Earl would no doubt delight to see how his supposed invention is treated here, as the restaurant explores sandwich trends of the past and present with cult-like dedication and considerate sourcing.
Sandwiches here reflect the inspirations of the owner-chefs and highlight fresh-farm produce, specialized meats, and local, artisan ingredients in a selection of globally-inspired sandwich recipes. Expect plenty of new styles to pop-up among sudden seasonal surprises, as well as favorite Earl's fare like the "Pig and Fig" with prosciutto di parma, fig-arugula hash, and Verde Capra blue cheese, "Who 'Dat Po Boys" with crab and Cajun mayo on a French baguette, "Pigtail" with speck and black peppercorn aoili on a baguette, and "The Heart-ichoke," with hearts of palm and a jalapeno -artichoke spread. Earl's will also serve as a gourmet deli, selling salads (including with "one-ton" chips and smoked chile cesar) Chinese chicken and healthy sides, as well as fruit, groceries, bottled sodas, and vintage snack food like chips by Utz and Zapp's. UPDATE: Earl's has a selection of eleven cold sandwiches and four hot sandwiches. In addition, there are hashes, five breakfast dishes, pastries, and dessert like brownies and cookies. Sandwiches are priced around eight and nine dollars.
Earl's is currently in soft-opening mode and taking it slowly as they get on their feet. Check out our slide show of the clean, cool deli space and stay tuned for a menu, which we should have soon.
12226 Venice Blvd. Mar Vista