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Walnut Creek Magazine

It’s a Farm-to-Sandwich Endeavor at Lafayette’s New Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches

Apr 13, 2017 06:46PM ● By Fran Miller


Restaurants find popularity based on several factors. One of the most important is, of course, delectability of the food. Another factor is location. Lucky is the spot that can claim both, and in taking over the former La Boulange location in downtown Lafayette, Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches finds itself serendipitously poised to not only become popular, but to also win ‘most likely to succeed.’

The Homegrown Difference

The Lafayette Mercantile location during its La Boulange years was the local ‘go-to’ for coffee, breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and light, early evening dinners. After its closure, residents were at a loss, and have been eagerly awaiting the space’s newest incarnation. Homegrown maintains the sunny outdoor patio, and the large, light-filled dining room with seating for groups large and small. The format is similar to that of its predecessor: place your order at the counter, find a seat, and pick-up when your name is called. But where Homegrown differs is in its food and drink, which is not only delicious, but sourced and grown locally.

Along with the opening of its three Bay Area locations (San Francisco, Danville, and now Lafayette), the Seattle based, eco-conscious sandwich shop has planted local roots with the launch of its new certified organic farm in Discovery Bay. The farm, Homegrown Sprouting Farms, supplies each of the three Northern California stores with local, organic produce for its seasonal sandwiches, soups and salads. Homegrown, with its fast-casual concept, is the first to open a farm in each state in which it operates, making it truly a farm-to-sandwich endeavor. 

Whose Idea Was This?

Homegrown founders Ben Friedman and Brad Gillis believe where their food comes from and how people, animals, and the land were treated along the way, has a positive impact on communities and the environment. Thus, they established two acre Homegrown Sprouting Farms Discovery Bay. “We are thrilled to have an organic farm to support our three new stores with hyper-seasonal produce, and we could not have found a better location or nonprofit partner to work with,” says Friedman. “This is a great opportunity for us to not only to grow local produce for our stores, but to also get involved in the local sustainable food community.  Plus, California’s growing season is much longer than Seattle’s, so we’re excited to finally get to farm year round in California,” he added.

The Philosophy

Friedman and Gillis started Homegrown with one mission – to not only create sandwiches with sustainable ingredients but also to make sandwich creation sustainable itself. Homegrown is a fast-casual restaurant with a conscience. Every element of the sandwich shop is thoughtfully curated and its impact on the environment evaluated: from the reclaimed building materials used to construct each store, to offsetting 100% of each store’s electric power usage with clean wind energy, to the hyper local ingredients in each sandwich, soup and salad.

Point Reyes Cobb Salad

To connect with the food and people of NorCal, Friedman and Gillis loaded up a 1986 (their birth year) Volkswagen Westfalia van with camping and hiking gear, a canoe, and of course sandwiches, and road tripped to the West Coast to meet with the local farmers and producers. Along the way, the pair formed relationships with Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Petaluma Creamery, Dick Taylor Chocolate, Sightglass Coffee and Glaum Egg Ranch eggs, the products of which are incorporated into their Bay Area menus. 

The Menu

Chicken Cherry Pecan Sandwich

Homegrown Lafayette’s menu features sandwiches such as chicken pesto, smoked pastrami, caprese, chicken/cherry/pecan, hummus/roasted red peppers, ham/jack, turkey/bacon/avocado, BLT, and grass-fed steak/bleu. The spring seasonal sandwich is the Nopalito Chicken Torta, featuring grilled chicken breast, Nopalito salsa, Oaxacan cheese, avocado, roasted garlic aioli and cherry tomatoes. Salads include grilled chicken, Point Reyes cobb, and BLT. Grain bowls feature hatch chili steak, chicken/avocado, beet/apple, and garlic roasted tofu. Be sure to try the self serve organic agave lemonade. Sightglass coffee makes caffeine lovers swoon. Additional soups, sides, desserts, drinks, all-day breakfasts sandwiches, and a kids’ menu including turkey & cheese, grilled cheese, and a PBJ round out the offerings.

Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches, Lafayette 3597 Mt Diablo Blvd.