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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

First Taste: Schodorf’s Luncheonette opens to satisfy Highland Park sandwich cravings

Story and photos by Valentina Silva

“Every time I want a sandwich, I have to drive to Eagle Rock.” That’s a common chorus for many Highland Park and Mount Washington residents. And while it’s not entirely accurate — they actually make great custom sandwiches at the Figueroa Produce deli counter — there aren’t too many alluring options. Unless you like Subway.

Café de Leche owners Matthew and Anya Schodorf have heeded the call with their new York Boulevard lunch spot, Schodorf’s Luncheonette. Rather ecstatically, I joined the steady stream of customers taking advantage of Schodorf’s soft opening this week. Without signage, the dinky blue Highland Park storefront is easy to miss, but after one visit, I can tell you it’s definitely worth finding.

The small, focused menu features four sandwiches and salads each.  All spreads and dressing are made in-house, which was evident upon first bite. The sloppy-but-satisfying Vegetarian sandwich, stuffed fat with hummus, roasted red peppers, sprouts, avocado and tarragon aioli, really made my day. The ingredients were high-quality — Schodorf’s stresses organic and locally sourced items when possible — and the fresh, crusty baguette was soft enough that it didn’t overwhelm. We shared a sizeable full sandwich ($8), but half portions are also available for half price.

We also tried the Citrus Salad, a combination of mixed greens, oranges, cucumber, chive goat cheese, toasted pecans and citrus vinaigrette. Though admittedly less dazzling than the sandwich, this salad was refreshing and generous with the veggies. The goat cheese was a flavor standout, and there was just enough dressing—none of the drenching that ruins many a good salad.

Schodorf’s Luncheonette is an exciting addition to York Boulevard. Other selling points include a large soda selection, featuring hip and fancy sodas along with bottled Squirt and Pepsi, and gourmet chips. Soups and hot sandwiches (they were experimenting with a panini press when I was there) are coming soon.

And with that, Schodorf’s brings Highland Park one step closer to being a worthy sandwich destination.

Schodorf’s Luncheonette
5051 York Blvd., Highland Park
Open 11 a.m. -4 p.m. daily
Sandwiches: $4(half sizes)- $8 (full sizes)
Salads: $4(half sizes)- $7.50 (full sizes)



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20 comments

  1. Galco’s used to be a great place for sandwiches in Highland Park but then both the owners died and left the place to their son who decided the only thing that mattered was soda. The sandwiches have all turned to crap and are now way overpriced. And there isn’t a single friendly employee in the whole place.

  2. I was looking forward to this place, but their smoked turkey/swiss sandwich was completely unremarkable. Bread was of medium/low quality and the turkey did not seem to be high quality either. I’d like it if they would put some more imagination into the assemblage of their sandwiches. Better bread, toasted perhaps, higher quality ingredients or interesting aioli for example. Food Lab in SL/EP has a pretty good handle on this. It will be great for the neighborhood if they succeed!

  3. I have to agree with busytimmy. The turkey sandwich I had was pretty blah. Turkey (Looked kinda processed not carved), lettuce, tomato, red onion and Vons-quality baguette. The only thing that had a little pizazz was the mayo. It really isn’t that hard to have interesting sandwich fillings. Please guys. I really want to keep on coming in.

  4. I live right down the street, and I can’t wait to try this new place out! It seems delicious and simple, a great combination for a neighborhood deli. I’m sure that with time they will have smoothed over the expected opening kinks. Give them a few weeks to sort things out before forming your opinions! The best restaurants are ever-evolving ones, and with the success of Cafe De Leche, I’m sure this place will do well.

    P.S. @Lord Rivas: Galco’s has always been owned by the same person- John Nese. He is there every single day, and his offspring have not taken over the business. I’m not sure what led you to believe that.
    I don’t know what kind of service you experienced there, but I have bought boxes of sodas there many times. They always greet me with a smile, are very helpful with suggestions, and they refuse to even let me carry the box out to my car by myself…which I consider both friendly and spectacular service!
    I also occasionally get their sandwiches, and I think they aren’t bad at all…pretty standard deli sandwiches.

    Why are comment boards always so negative? Oh well.

  5. @ Lord Rivas–Never had bad service at Galcos.

    @busytimmy/JStella–This week was their first week, so hopefully the issues you bring up will be worked out. I didn’t try any of the meat sandwiches, but I was really impressed with the veggie sandwich and was struck by the quality. I hope you’ll give them some time to blossom.

    @W–It’s really exciting to have Schordof’s in the neighborhood. Cafe de Leche is such a great place, I can only assume that this new spot is going to become something really great. I hope to be giving them my business for a long time.

  6. W – I don’t want to be negative, but the sandwiches at Galco’s are unimaginative at best and perfunctory at worst. At this point in HP, only Figueroa Produce serves a decent sandwich.

  7. @W Yes John has always worked there but his parents owned the place. I believe his mom died first and then his dad a couple years later and once they both died, the quality of everything seemed to go down. However the majority of the employees have always been unfriendly. In the past 10 years I can remember 2 friendly employees and neither of them work there anymore. I have been going there for 25 years or as early as I can remember.

  8. the sandwiches at folliero’s are awesome too, and cheap!

  9. We tried the veggie and the turkey… Veggie sandwiches are often an afterthought for some places. Some tomatoes, lettuce, cheese?

    But Schodorf’s was the best I’ve tasted in a long time. You can see it in the picture above. Loaded with goodies.

    I too was disappointed that the turkey wasn’t carved, but still enjoyed the sandwich. The black pepper aoli was an inspired touch. Thrilled to have them in the neighborhood!

    Now if we could just get a place like this on Figueroa!

  10. @16letters–black pepper aoli sounds so delicious, especially with turkey.

  11. I wish them luck, i only hope they do have better customer service, i had a little rude shoulder tattooed female give me so much attitude i have refused to return to CDL.

  12. unfortunately for those of us who have loved this area for decades….we now have the hip, attitude laden trendy’s moving in and opening yet another coffee shop/cafe which are nothing special. For years I’ve driven by SWORK. Finally went in months ago and thought the atmosphere and coffee was grim. Fig. Produce has some of the worst bread I’ve ever tasted. For all you experts out there wanting good food, bar and interesting people, (it’s been there 10 years) there’s Barbara’s On Main. On 2nd thought, I’ll not give the address for fear it’ll be over run by transplants to the N.E. area.

  13. Blaze: Though I understand your need to feel protective…

    One of the owners of these “hip and trendy” places actually grew up in the area. It seems that there is pride among many folks who have spent “decades” in NELA (and HLP). They are happy that there’s actually some good stuff happening in the hood finally. Its not Silverlake or Echo Park, and its too far from Sunset for most of the “trendy” to know where it is. I bet that the owners of that said, “Barbara’s” would probably be stoked if they got more biz and would actually make a little extra cash in this crappy economy. Just sayin’…

    If there is a delicate balance that can be had between the horrific gentrification, (as seen in places like Williamsburg), and a solid community with a great culture, I think that the HLP will be able to accomplish it.

    Go sandwiches!

  14. Had my first Schodorf sammy 2 weeks ago. I’ve been back several times since. Bread was fresh and delicious bakery quality. I don’t know which Von’s previous poster “JStella” shops at but the one on Fig and Colorado doesn’t have bread even close to the quality of Schodorf’s. Admittedly, I’ve had the turkey all three times and it was addictively delicious. Perhaps I’ll branch out next time. As for the fear of the hipster — I’ve lived in HP for 8 years I say viva la hipster! Thank you for patronizing the shops in our area and inviting interesting merchants into the mix. Spend your money and drink all the coffee and buy all the records you can stand. Your presence makes my property values soar and ensures my liquor store will be stocked with designer beer, my streets might actually get a cleaning or two, and the cops will show up when and if I need them. Ain’t no shame in the good life.

  15. You can’t beat Dave’s “Chillin and Grillin” for killer sammies…

  16. Marillyn Robertson

    I am excited for this new place. I’m sure it will evolve. Meanwhile, what about La Abeja on Figuroa near Marmion? This great family-owned Mexican restaurant has had consistency excellent and affordable food since we moved into the area in the early ’70s. We take every guest we have there. I’m also excited about both Antigua places, one near Nightingale and the other on Fig and Ave. 57 or so (no the same). Also the new one, Good Girls, on 56 and Fig., if you can get in.

  17. @JPD – No offense JPD but I went to pastry school in Paris and worked and lived there for 3 years and the quality of bread had much to be desired. But most places in the US don’t know how to make baguettes to begin with so I don’t fault them too much.

  18. No offense, jstella, but i’ve been eating bread for 40 years, and it tastes good to me. The turkey is another story.

  19. Love the food! Bravo!
    Matt and his wife have put their money where their mouths are and we applaud them for that.
    Keep up the good work.

  20. The new mix of merchants are making York Blvd. more inviting and are helping the local economy; the hipsters are making HLP more interesting; my property value is rising; maybe now street lights will be cleaned and cops will come when I need them; blah, blah, blah, BLAH! None of this means *anything* to me as a 24-year resident of Highland Park, when the hipster wierdos look at me as if *I* don’t belong here.

    Do you hear that…? Silver Lake and Echo Park are calling you.

    By the way, neither Highland Park, Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, Echo Park, et al, are in the Eastside of L.A., hahaha! Attaching the false label will *not* make you hipsters cool. I grew up in Boyle Heights and East L.A. … the *real* Eastside.

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