Sandoitchi brings the Japanese sando to Deep Ellum. (Photo by Reed J Kenney)
Sandos rotate, but include chicken, tofu, and fruit options. (Photo by Reed J Kenney)
Founded by four friends, Sandoitchi hopes to one day open a permanent shop. (Photo by Reed J Kenney)
The fruit and matcha cream sando. (Photo by Reed J Kenney)
All sandos at Sandoitchi are all packed to-go. (Photo by Reed J Kenney)
This summer, four friends quietly launched their new Japanese sando concept by just giving out 30 to friends and family for a bit of feedback. Today, the new to-go-only sandwich shop, called Sandoitchi, has over 6,500 Instagram followers and is selling out of hundreds of their fluffy, photogenic sandwiches each week.
Founded by chef and owner Stevie Nguyen, operations manager Keith Tran, creative director Angel Acosta, and marketing manager Andy Sirois, Sandoitchi is Ngyuen’s singular vision, Tran tells PaperCity.
“Stevie can throw anything together in the kitchen,” he says. Originally from Louisiana, Nguyen had his first big break at Uchi Houston. He then transferred to the Dallas location before spending some time at Iron Chef Morimoto’s Morimoto NYC, followed by two years with Momofuku (owners of the beloved Milk Bar bakery). “He always wanted to learn more — that is just his energy” says Tran.
Then, Nguyen moved back to Dallas eight months ago and the group started playing with the idea of opening their own brick-and-mortar setup for their sando concept. “It’s a commonplace, simple item there, but visually striking and offers variety,” he explains, though Nguyen has elevated the dish a bit for Dallas. “It’s fine dining packaged in a sandwich,” Tran says.
Though they hope to find a physical space eventually, the team realized they could launch Sandoitchi as a pickup and delivery-only concept for now given the rise of ghost kitchens and delivery-only concepts amid the pandemic. Having worked as a chef at Niwa Japanese BBQ in Deep Ellum, Nguyen had access to high-quality ingredients to experiment with. Owner Jimmy Niwa lent him the kitchen to see his vision through. “Jimmy has been a big helping hand with mentoring and access to the space,” says Tran.
So far, the menu has been rotating each week and they plan to keep it that way depending on seasonality. “That’s the chef-driven part,” says Tran. One week they had hot chicken katsu sandos, (perfectly in line with the recent hot chicken trend in Dallas), and have also started making a bread pudding from extra crusts, miso, matcha, and brown sugar. This week, they’re offering a truffle chicken katsu, egg salad, ham and eggs, vegan tofu katsu, and fruit and matcha cream sando.
As for that amazingly fluffy looking bread? It’s Japanese milk bread. Sandoitchi is procuring their bread from a variety of places right now, but Tran says that they want to create their own special recipe. “As an end goal, we’d like to have an in-house baker,” he says.
Currently open for pickup and deliveries three days a week — usually Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, sometimes Saturday — the incredible popularity of the sandwiches was hoped for, but still surprising. “No one can expect to have super growth, but we knew we had all of the components to be successful,” Tran says. “The surprise was the speed.”
Right now, Sandoitchi is taking as many orders as they can, but are still selling out each week. “Four weeks ago we were just an Instagram page,” says Tran. “We’re expanding as fast as we can without sacrificing quality and we want to serve everyone. It’s been great being able to see people being engaged and excited.”
Make sure to stay updated on Sandoitchi’s Instagram page for when you can order for pickup or get delivery next. Delivery locations are also rotating to different DFW cities.