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Oh, Yes, Sandoitchi Is Back in North Texas

The famed Japanese sando pop-up returns this Friday, October 16 at Neighborhood Goods in Plano. Plus: what's next for the prominent pop-up.
Reed J Kenney

Yessssssssss. After decamping to Orange County, California, some six weeks ago, Sandoitchi has returned home.

The popular pop-up that made us fall in love with its Japanese sandos will have its first event in DFW since August. This Friday, October 16, for a one-day-only pop-up, Sandoitchi will be at Neighborhood Goods in Plano’s Legacy West. The sando crew will work out of the modern department store’s Prim and Proper kitchen space, serving $9–$12 sandos from 11 a.m. until they sell out.

Expect the classics you know and miss, like egg, pork katsu, matcha and strawberry cream, and hot truffle chicken katsu, which gets the wet koji treatment resulting in a hum of umami flavor.

Keith Tran, Sandoitchi operations manager, says they’re doing things a little differently this time. It will be first come, first serve. I’m guessing that will mean long lines of loyal fans who’ve been begging Sandoitchi to come back pretty much since they left. “Just by the nature of how we operate, things are going to move really fast,” says Tran. “It’s super-limited, so if anyone wants to get down with us, make sure you’re there early, I would say.”

For anyone hurting for a refresher, Sandoitchi is the brainchild of Tran, marketing director Andy Sirois, business partner Angel Acosta, and culinary force of nature Stevie Nguyen. Originally from Louisiana, Nguyen worked at Uchi in Houston, then moved to Dallas to work at Uchi here. After stints in New York City at Morimoto and David Chang’s Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko, he took a position at Niwa in Deep Ellum where the Sandoitchi story began. Hence, our summertime crush on Japanese sandos.

That is, until their multiweek run in California. “The first week was insane. … The response was amazing. Then, after that second week, when we went to Chrissy [Teigen] and John Legend,” says Tran, “we sold out in 10 or 12 minutes,” making it the busiest week they’ve ever had. (In case you missed it: the celeb and cookbook author had the Sandoitchi crew over to teach John Legend how to make their kewpie egg salad sando.)

The future is bright, if a little unknown for Sandoitchi. “Big pie in the sky dream: yes, we’d want a brick and mortar location,” Tran says, but it would no doubt still have that Sandoitchi je ne sais quoi. Instant cult following? A psychic connection with what everyone’s craving? A masterful way with seemingly simple food with incredible mass appeal? I mean, they’re just sandwiches—very, very good sandwiches, yes, but there’s perfection in between those slices of Japanese milk bread. “The sandwich is one part of a bigger concept,” says Tran. “That’s one component of a much bigger vision.”

We’ll have to wait to find out what that much bigger vision is or wants to be. Until then, appreciate the North Texas return.

Tran says they’re working on a securing a month-long residency either in Dallas or in Fort Worth. Iit’s a toss-up as they wait to confirm locations. When they lock some place in, that means they’ll be in the area at least through Thanksgiving, says Tran. Houston is also in the conversation. That is, if they can find somewhere to camp their sandos for the month of December. So consider this a pop-up bat signal, Texas: Sandoitchi wants to serve you fluffy, katsu-filled sandos if you have a good pop-up home for them. “We’re completely open to new ideas, so if anyone wants to host us and has the space, let us know,” says Tran. Otherwise they might just head on back to California for the last part of 2020 (noooooo!).

Again, the event details:

Sandoitchi Pop-Up at Neighborhood Goods
Legacy West, 7300 Windrose Ave, Plano
11 a.m. until sold out
First come, first served
All sando orders will come with a 10 percent coupon to shop Neighborhood Goods and 20 percent off Prim and Proper orders.

Neighborhood Goods is working with another local pop-up, 8 Mile Pies, slinging the ever-trendy Detroit-style pizza around Dallas. The foodie collabs make good sense coming from this Plano department store that takes in brands without brick-and-mortar operations. Watch the Neighborhood Goods website for more collaborations, pop-ups, and brands little-seen elsewhere throughout North Texas.