A popular sandwich pop-up has found permanent quarters in downtown Dallas: Sandoitchi, which serves Japanese "sandos" with creative fillings, will move into the space near the Joule at 1604 Main St., next to/under the Joule Hotel. It's the space that was previously occupied by La Tarte Tropezienne, the French bakery that closed in 2021.
Sandoitchi has already started to use the space for pop-up events, with a remodel in the works for later this year, says spokesman Keith Tran.
"We've had a great partnership with Headington Companies, who own the space, for more than a year, doing pop-ups at Midnight Rambler and at the Eye Ball," Tran says. "Their marketing team has been working to bring energy to their spaces and this gives us the benefit of having a permanent location."
Sandoitchi was founded in 2020, part of a wave of pandemic foodie pop-ups, but has persevered long past the pandemic both with its consistency and its ever-evolving menu of trademark sandos and other Japanese eats.
Their sandwiches are served on soft, rich milk bread, with fillings that include egg salad, Nashville-style hot chicken, pork katsu, and even Japanese wagyu topped with caviar, as well as dessert sandos filled with fruit and cream.
Their branding and packaging are sharp: The sandwiches are trimmed neatly, like finger sandwiches, and come in cute little boxes that display the ingredients winningly.
They also come with serious culinary firepower: Chef Stevie Nguyen worked at Uchi in both Dallas and Houston before heading to New York where he worked at Momofuku Ko, the two-Michelin-starred crown jewel in superstar chef David Chang's culinary empire. Nguyen shows off his techniques in a number of ways, including by using three different egg preparations to make his egg salad and coating the chicken with an umami-packed "wet shio koji solution."
They use social media skillfully and have won legions of fans, not just in Dallas but also at road-trip pop-ups to the West Coast and cities such as Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City.
They plan to continue doing pop-ups — for example, they have one this weekend in Orange County, California. But there's something to be said for having a home.
"Our model was built during and post-COVID, but with the return to normal, it's tougher to find spaces to host pop-ups," Tran says. "Our team includes high-end chefs with strong pedigrees who continue to evolve and remain creative, and we want to have a home base."
The location will definitely require some retrofitting; they'll start serious renovations at the end of the summer. In the interim, they're hosting pop-ups at the space, usually on weekends, over the next month or two.
"We've been experimenting, we recently tried doing breakfast — it's been a valuable opportunity to gather data on what does well," Tran says.
Eric Sandler contributed to this story.