Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop Opens First-Ever Los Angeles Restaurant

Life-Long Friends Open Doors to Van Nuys Location
Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop Opens First-Ever Los Angeles Restaurant
Photo: Official

Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop, a family of restaurants with a cult-like following across Northern California, has opened the doors to its first-ever location in Los Angeles County. The 1,500-square-foot restaurant, located on the bustling southeast corner of Sepulveda Blvd. and Sherman Way at 7070 Sepulveda Blvd. in Van Nuys and open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, is led by California natives and life-long friends Jason DeMayo and Eli Ilishah. The team, under their Hungry Hospitality brand, also own a location in Fresno and have plans to open additional locations in Los Angeles and beyond in the coming years.

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“Since 1995, Mr. Pickle’s has been a premier full service-sandwich shop specializing in innovative sandwiches, salads and catering,” says Mike Nelson, chief executive officer and long-time customer who purchased the brand in 2020 when original founders Frank and Michele Fagundes decided to retire in a statement. “During its first three decades, thanks to its company culture, incredible recipes, and all its fans, the brand grew from one to 54 locations across northern California and, in the past two years, opened six new locations in Arizona as well. The Los Angeles launch is the next step in our long-term plan to take the brand nationwide.”

Mr. Pickle’s is special in that it doesn’t turn to big-box vendors for its core ingredients, instead partnering with artisan bakers, regional farms and ranches to source its products, making every item unique to Mr. Pickle’s.

“You will not see six-inch and footlong sizing from us, more specialty breads than uniform options,” said Nelson.

The Los Angeles restaurant features all of the brand’s most popular hot and cold sandwiches, notably the Mr. Pickle, which is chicken breast, bacon, Monterey jack, avocado and the works as it relates to veggies; the Santa Maria Tri-Tip, which is actual tri-tip sourced from the famed Santa Maria region with the works; and Big Jake, a turkey sandwich with cream cheese, avocado, and the works.

“Of particular note: we are bringing the real Dutch Crunch to town,” said Nelson, referring the Mr. Pickle’s mouth-watering soft, freshly baked French roll topped with rice flour to create a slightly sweet and perfectly crunchy topping.

Beyond the long-time items and Dutch Crunch, the new location also has two wholly new sandwiches to the brand in the Goomba and the Mama Mia.

Italian for friend or confidant, the Goomba features capicola and pepperoni – new proteins for the brand across all of its locations – as well as salami, ham, red onion, pepperoncini, pickles, red wine vinegar, tomatoes, and lettuce. It can also be transformed into a perfect chopped salad with the works and a choice of dressings, to boot.

The Mama Mia is Mr. Pickle’s spicy twist on a traditional meatball sandwich that pairs warm meatballs with capicola, melty pepper jack cheese, pepperoni, and jalapenos.

“We also just enhanced our bread, adding new rolls to our expansive carb-lover section of the menu,” said DeMayo. “We partner with a premier brand out of San Francisco whose mother dough dates back more than 150 years to make these ultra-specialty rolls, as well as our new sliced sourdough, custom to us.”

Beyond this, acknowledging that Mr. Pickle’s has throngs of avid fans with custom orders whose popularity has spread over the years, the brand also offers a “Not-So-Secret Secret Menu” to sandwich lovers everywhere.

“Available as part of Mr. Pickle’s delivery program, the menu – accessible when clicking to create an order online or through Door Dash – boasts more than half a dozen items,” said Ilishah.

Among the not-so-secret customer favorites:

  • Spicy Bird with turkey breast, pepperjack, jalapenos, Baja sauce, and the works (unless otherwise indicated) 
  • Pickle Burger with roast beef, cheddar, thousand island dressing, and the works (unless otherwise indicated) 
  • Fast Eddy with roast beef, cheddar, barbecue sauce, and the works (unless otherwise indicated) 
  • Say Cheese with cheddar, Monterrey jack, Swiss, provolone, and the works (unless otherwise indicated)  
  • Reggie-Reggie with chicken breast, pepper jack, Baja sauce, and the works (unless otherwise indicated)

A leader in online ordering technology, Mr. Pickle’s partners with DoorDash and invested in Paytronix Systems, Inc., the most advanced digital guest experience platform, to provide direct order and delivery services straight from its website at www.mrpickles.com.

Mr. Pickle’s also has a full menu of catering options, ranging from small deli boxes with perfectly wrapped sandwiches and cookies to large-scale premium selections, salad boxes, and even health-conscious wholesome box offerings in a vast array of sizes.

“This is a full-circle moment for Jason and me,” says Ilishah. “We grew up in the Bay area, and just weeks from graduating from Los Altos High School in 2009, we sat in the school’s parking lot one night talking about life, and – oddly – sandwiches. We got it into our heads that night we would one day own a sandwich shop together. All these years and a million twists along the way, which is exactly what we are doing on what we think will become a massive scale.”

Though DeMayo grew up in hospitality thanks to his father, Woody – a veteran of Carl’s Jr., Wingstop, and other restaurant entities over the past five decades – the University of Oregon music major’s focus was music much of his life. Ilishah, similarly inspired by Woody, would graduate from UC Davis after studying communications and film and get into acting before the pandemic forced them to sit down and look at their priorities.

“While working in music most of my career, I did dabble in hospitality while living in Southern California prior to COVID-19,” says DeMayo. “When the pandemic hit, I began working with my father’s restaurants and fell in love with it. Eli – with whom I worked with in hospitality over the years in addition to our more creative pursuits – was ready to make a move as well, so we put wheels in motion the past several years to align with my father and take the next steps with a brand that we personally love.”

Ilishah was already a long-time fan of the brand, while DeMayo was introduced to by way of Nelson, a veteran of Carl’s Jr., Wing Stop and Subway who worked with Woody for decades.

“With the recent expansion into Arizona and now with the move to Los Angeles, we are poised to take the brand nationwide,” said Nelson. “And we just have one rule: to make sure guests enjoy every sandwich, every time.”

Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
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