May 10, 2013

May 10, 2013
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The panelle sandwich. Photo courtesy of Liza Shaw.

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Liza Shaw living the “happy to have the keys” moment, bubs tucked under her arm. Photo courtesy of Liza Shaw.

Liza Shaw—the talented powerhouse of a chef who has worked at A16, Acquerello, and most recently consulting in Wine Country on the pizzas at Redd Wood and Pizzando—is finally ready to formally announce her next venture: ~MERIGAN SUB SHOP~. I have been hearing about (and anxiously awaiting) her project for the past couple of years, and she just got the keys this week, so here we go.

The cheeky and fun name comes from what Italian immigrants used to call Americans; the Baltimore-born Shaw is a complete Italophile but not Italian herself (a bit like her sub shop). She is taking over a 1,300-square-foot raw space in SoMa, very close to the Chronicle Books building on Second Street. And yes, only one and a half blocks from the ballpark.

The menu is going to feature 10-15 sandwiches, both hot and cold, meat and veg. While she is using East Coast hoagies and Italian delis as her inspiration (she did two intensive research tours, with a lot of time spent in Philly), everything is going to have a very handcrafted approach. Shaw is no stranger to whole animal butchery, and will be working with whole hogs from Llano Seco. A highlight on the menu will be the roast pork Arista sandwich, with house-roasted pork shoulder and loin, sharp provolone, long hot peppers, and broccoli rabe (or spring onions). Uh huh, that.

There will also be a porchetta sandwich, a terrina with coppa di testa and pork liver terrina, housemade meatballs, spicy Italian sausage, and of course a killer Italian combo (all the subs will be on the same seeded Italian roll that strikes that perfect balance of sturdy but soft). Even classics like roast beef will have touches like horseradish ricotta, and the egg salad will be made with farm eggs. A special vegetarian sandwich will be the panelle: ceci bean fritters, plus fresh ricotta, pecorino, tomato conserva, and arugula. It will all be high quality across the board, from the house-pickled peppers to top-notch seasonal ingredients.

Additional items include antipasti like bean salad or potato salad, squash agrodolce, plus a daily soup made with beans, greens, and more. Oh yeah, and fried pork skins. For dessert, there will be freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with sea salt, lemon or almond Italian ice off the Japanese ice shaver, and zeppole (!). You’ll be able to order beer and wine on tap, and brewed coffee. There will be around 35 seats, although the space will be geared for takeout. Hours will be Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, with hours running a bit later on game days. She is also discussing hosting monthly Sunday family-style suppers. Look for an opening in mid-September. Congrats Liza (Ms. Merigan!), on your new venture! 634 2nd St. at Brannan.

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The future home of Brenda’s newest café. Photo courtesy Brenda Buenviaje.

Brenda Buenviaje writes in with some great news: she and wife/business partner Libby Truesdell are opening a new café on Polk Street, just two doors down from the current ~BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD~. Her blog mentions that it will be called ~LIBBY JANE CAFÉ~ after Libby (awwww).

Anyone who comes to Brenda’s for brunch on the weekend knows there’s always a wait. Well, now you’ll be able to pick up some coffee (including chicory coffee, of course) and espresso drinks from Ritual while you’re standing around, and you can also snag one of her famous biscuits if you’re really hangry. There will also be takeaway sandwiches, soups (hello, gumbo), and some canned items as well, like their jams and watermelon pickles. There’s going to be a short counter inside with room for six to eight, but otherwise it’s a grab-and-go kind of place.

They are shooting for a midsummer opening. Since their po’boy shop in lower Fillmore has hit some delays, this project will likely open before that one. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 644 Polk St. at Eddy.

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