Mendocino Farms, Southern California’s beloved sandwich destination with a mission of helping guests “Eat Happy,” is pleased to announce the company’s further integration into San Diego’s dining landscape with the opening of its 16th and largest restaurant location to-date in the highly-trafficked Del Mar Highlands Town Center. The opening comes roughly eight months after the growing brand first entered the San Diego market with the debut of its La Jolla location.
Stemming from the recent success in nearby La Jolla, the Mendocino Farms team is looking forward to expanding their footprint into the North County market where residents are prone to continuously seeking healthy dining options curated with quality ingredients. Mendocino Farms features a dynamic chef-driven menu that changes with the seasons and offers guests a gourmet fast casual dining option at affordable prices. Devoted to partnering with local farms and food artisans to create inspired dishes, the culinary team specializes in adventurous sandwiches and salads using fine dining-quality techniques and ingredients. The new Mendocino Farms restaurant is located adjacent to Urban Plates in the combined space that formerly housed Carnitas’ Snack Shack and Nekter which has since relocated within the center.
The initial Del Mar offerings will consist of Mendocino Farms’ Summer Menu, featuring seasonal specialties like the Billionaire’s Heirloom BLT made with nitrate-free Applewood smoked bacon with spicy, sticky “money” glaze, thick-cut organic local heirloom tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette, smashed avocado, butter lettuce and vegenaise on toasted buckwheat, House Smoked Summer Cubano, which pairs hickory smoked Niman Ranch pork with caramelized nitrate-free honey ham, gruyere cheese, kickin’ mojo moppin’ sauce, jalapeno mayo and housemade bread and butter pickles on a panini-pressed soft roll, and the House Smoked Chicken Street Corn Torta with hickory smoked Mary’s organic free range chicken, grilled corn and cotija cheese spread, grilled poblanos and onions, shredded romaine, house-candied fresno chilies, cilantro and pickled red onion on a panini-pressed soft roll.
Guests can also expect signature Mendocino Farms sandwiches including the Pork Belly Banh Mi, a play on the Vietnamese classic made with rich, caramelized Kurobuta Pork Belly, bright pickled daikon and carrots, chili aioli, and spicy fresh jalapeño on panini-pressed ciabatta. Though the popular eatery has built its reputation on its innovative, chef-driven sandwich creations, their flavorful and unique entrée salad offerings have also garnered their fair share of fans. Choose from mouthwatering options like the Avocado & Quinoa Superfood Ensalada, a flavor- and nutrient-packed powerhouse featuring butter lettuce and romaine, kale, housemade “superfood krunchies” (a healthfully addictive blend of crunchy fried quinoa, millet, heirloom red rice, and nutritional yeast), Cotija cheese, and a black bean, roasted corn, and jicama succotash; or the Save Drake Farm’s Salad featuring Scarborough Farm’s greens, free range chicken breast, pink lady beets, dried cranberries, honey roasted almonds, and a generous portion of Herbes de Provence-marinated goat cheese from Drake Family Farms in Ontario, California, where every single goat has a name and is treated like a pet.
Amid the popularity of the initial chef collaboration in conjunction with the La Jolla debut with Chef Christine Rivera of Galaxy Taco that raised nearly $4,000 for her chosen charity ECOLIFE Conservation, for the Del Mar opening, Mendocino Farms has partnered with Campfire Chef Andrew Bachelier who spent much of his career cooking at Del Mar establishments, Addison and CUCINA enoteca to create a Smoked Carrot Charity Salad ($10.95) with Scarborough Farms arugula, hickory house smoked heirloom carrots, sugar snap peas, pickled red onion, everything bagel crunch spice, sheep’s milk carrot yogurt and carrot top pesto vinaigrette. All proceeds will go directly to the Encinitas Unified School District Farm Lab, a working farm and indoor and outdoor educational center that provides experiential science lessons centered around nutrition and the environment while supplying a significant portion of the ingredients for the school district’s lunch program.
Aptly timed for the summer opening, the Del Mar location will also serve artisanal, small batch soft serve ice cream from Chef Shiho Yoshikawa of Sweet Rose Creamery (Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants). Sweet Rose crafts their ice cream from scratch daily in their kosher and GMO-free kitchen in Santa Monica, CA using premium ingredients like 72% Guittard chocolate, hand-scraped vanilla beans, Clover Organic Farms dairy, and Chino Family Farms organic eggs. In addition to the classic flavor options – vanilla bean gelato, chocolate custard and swirl – Mendocino Farms guests will choose from two chef-driven sundaes: the Malt Chocolate Crunch Sundae, a decadent combination of vanilla bean gelato soft serve topped with malted cocoa syrup and chocolate malt ball dust, and Dottie’s PB&J Sundae, with vanilla bean gelato soft serve, peanut butter syrup, fresh blueberry coulis and peanut butter cookie crumble.
The fresh fare at Mendocino Farms Del Mar will be complemented by an expanded selection of eight all-local San Diego craft beers on tap along with four wines on tap and by-the-bottle options. Additional seasonal soup and deli salad specials will rotate weekly and include options such as a creamy, curried Israeli couscous salad with roasted cauliflower and carrots; and a raw shaved beet and carrot salad with black rice, ginger, citrus, and toasted hazelnuts. Weekly specials can be found online at www.mendocinofarms.com and through their social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Extensive and flexible catering options will be available daily for pickup and/or delivery, the ideal option for office and school functions or upscale entertaining at home. The catering menu includes a diverse list of Mendo’s favorite sandwiches arranged in signature blue trays, as well as flavorful hors d’oeuvres and sides like the Chili-Rubbed Chicken Skewers, the Charcuterie & Artisan Cheese Platter, mini cocktail sandwiches, a selection of seasonal green salads, and gourmet whole grain and pasta salads.
With a keen eye for design, highly-regarded architecture firm Blue Motif and design team VANROOY Creative Group conceptualized the space with a coastal bohemian aesthetic reminiscent of the restaurant’s namesake Mendocino County. The inviting, open atmosphere will boast such eye-catching elements as a fireplace, macramé air plant installment, 25- foot living wall and custom string art “Eat Happy” installation by artist Livia Soong. A combination of rough herringbone wood, Mediterranean tile, indigo tie dye and white Carrara marble provide a harmonious juxtaposition of colors and textures, adding to the interior’s warm, inviting atmosphere. In the restaurant’s ample outdoor space, guests will be able to take full advantage of Del Mar’s moderate climate year-round. Elements include a corn hole court and foosball table, providing entertainment for both kids and the kid-at-heart. Finally, a dedicated “secret garden” playground will provide a dedicated child-friendly section with a living tree, mirrored glass with mustaches for selfies, and magnetic chalkboard wall.
Mendocino Farms La Jolla is located at 12873 El Camino Real in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center. The restaurant is open daily from 11 AM to 9 PM, with phone lines opening as early as 8 AM for catering and takeout orders. To learn more about Mendocino Farms, visit their website at www.mendocinofarms.com.