Pork Belly's Sandwich Shop soft-opened just before lunch yesterday, July 15, on Abbot Kinney, fewer than half a dozen steps from Kreation Kafe & Juicery. The sandwich shop is more of a stop with a long counter and no seating, although there's a tall, wooden table placed outside near the curb as a concession. A small crowd of locals who lined up to try the one-page menu around 1 p.m. didn't seem to mind.
The Belly Up, an in-house smoked barbecue pork belly sandwich with coleslaw in a brioche bun, is the headlining menu item. "It launched this whole operation," co-owner Jon Swire says.
Eight other sandwiches -- including a 12-hour smoked brisket sandwich known as the Chop, smoked barbecue meatballs in a grinder roll, and a vegetarian sloppy joe called Kinney Joe -- complete the list of options. For sides, there are fried pickles, potato salad and tater tots (regular or sweet potato) that can come with either brisket or sloppy joe. The sandwiches can be ordered à la carte or with a combo of sides and drink. And there's a Coke Freestyle machine, capable of dispensing various fountain options -- the first installed in Venice.
The meats are slow-cooked by a 300-pound-capacity smoker, dubbed Peg, housed at the back of the shop. Co-owners Swire and Adrian Pujol brought in Eric Solcon, a competitive barbecue grillmaster, to consult on recipes and chef Paul Mojica, formerly of Taste on Melrose, to oversee daily operations, from cooking to crew management.
Swire says they intend to streamline the process so that orders can be made online and picked up curbside to manage the wait time. They also plan to introduce a ribs option to the menu in coming weeks.
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