A shiny new location of Mario de Pero and Ellen Chen's locavore sandwich chain, Mendocino Farms, opened yesterday at Fairfax and Third, serving the usual suspects like pork belly banh mi, shrimp po'boys, and Judy Han's shifting sandwich specials-of-the-month and a few of the lunchable experiments from Downtown's Blue Cow. What's different is the space, arranged by (snicker) POON Design, who conceived past Mendo addresses in Downtown and Marina del Rey.
POON has left the new Mendo completely exposed, even down to construction jargon handwritten on its steel supports, while also expanding the mini-chain's grassy benches to the furry walls and furthering the etched phrase motif, found surrounding the owners' Blue Cow in Downtown, onto a street-corner patio. Bucolic details include chandeliers made of chicken wire and clothespins numbering in the hundreds hung above the dining room.
Unique to this location is a kid's area with a chalkboard for children and street-phobic teenage taggers to scribble on and a heavy-duty scale, presumably to test your weight before and after that ham and gruyere grilled cheese. The family-friendly romper room makes sense, given the new Mendo fits into the Gilmore Station complex, a new spread of mixed use buildings from the OG developers of the Original Farmers Market, where Trader Joe's just opened.
Mendocino Farms, 175 S. Fairfax Ave. Mid-City.