Friday, October 28, 2016

Storefront Report: Echo Park sandwich shop with a medieval name to appeal to modern taste buds

Photo courtesy Hussein Katz

By Marni Epstein

On Portia Street  just behind Little Joy in Echo Park, sits the future home of  Trencher, a decidedly modern sandwich shop with a historical twist. Trencher?  Hussein Katz, one of the owners, explains the term “Trencher” is a Middle-Ages term for the open-faced predecessor of the sandwich. It is now also the name of the eatery where he and business partners, Danny Zackery and Justin Foster, will be focusing on creating flavorful  sandwiches to appeal to a wide-range of appetites. Katz says, they’ll offer their “take on some of the greats.” Those greats include their homage to the original open-faced sandwich, as well as a burger.

Other menu items  will include  a tender-braised brisket sandwich on toasted sourdough and the tofu banh mi sandwich, which delights in its street food comforts. Their pulled pork sliders also whet the neighborhood’s appetite for the shop’s opening when the Trencher crew handed them out this summer during Echo Park Rising.

Some of the menu items will rotate on a weekly or monthly basis in addition to the standard selections.

A native Angeleno, Katz has spent the better part of his professional career making foodies’ mouths water. Not as chef, but rather as a photographer shooting food for an array of magazines and chefs, alike. Having traveled the world and tasted its vast cuisine, Katz decided it was his turn to help create the kinds of culinary inspirations he’s spent his career watching from behind the lens. In partnership of his two childhood friends (one servers as Trencher’s chef and the other, an advertising professional), Katz is certain that they’ve got all the angles covered when it comes to the team’s first restaurant venture.

Glaringly absent from Echo Park’s shifting culinary scene has been a sandwich shop. It is perhaps fitting then that Echo Park’s first, sitting alongside neighborhood staples like El Compadre, is mixing together old world  and new. Trencher plans to open in December.

The interior features exposed brick walls and wood-ceiling rafters/ Photo courtesy Hussein Katz

Pulled pork sliders. Photo courtesy Hussein Katz

1305 Portia Street

Marni Epstein is a freelance writer and music journalist who has also worked in both the film and digital media industries.

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  1. Thank you for the update and explanation of the name. I am looking forward to trying this place out.

  2. Is this taking over Gloria’s? That was quick.

  3. Admittedly it’s not a sandwich shop, but Cookbook makes delicious “to go” sandwiches too.

  4. I hope they have at least one vegan sandwich on the menu!!~

  5. Well, if this guy’s an acclaimed “food photographer,” I’d say he’s not off to a great start to impress the community with his offerings.

    Also, $10 gift-card to Little Joy for the first person to name the god-awful font used by this restaurant.

    -Good luck guys!

  6. I wonder if they can restore the bricked up windows?

    BTW I don’t like eating a sandwich with a knife and fork.

  7. I’ve been saying for years, a proper sandwich shop is needed in echo park. Lucky me they are opening up around the corner from our office!!

    I hope they put as much love and effort into the veg/vegan sandwiches as the meat ones. Instead of a side note.

    Cookbook does make good sandwiches… but a fresh and assembled on the spot sandwich beats a premade and sitting in the fridge one anyday.

    Bring the noise!!

  8. Not all of us eat burned animal carcasses that support land degradation, carbon emissions and raised oil prices.

    Will there be vegan options?


    • I believe you meant DELICIOUS burned animal carcasses. I’ma eat one today, just for you.

      Besides, people like yourself are responsible for huge increase in SMUG levels.

    • and for some reason people think vegans are smug, holier than thou folks! no idea where that comes from.

    • Echo Park resident

      First of all, we haven’t seen a menu, so let’s not jump to conclusions about what types of sandwiches this place will or will not serve. Secondly, I missed the part of this post that says every Echo Park resident will be forced to eat here. If there isn’t a menu option that suits your “dietary needs,” there are plenty of vegan or vegetarian restaurants in the neighborhood.

      It sounds like you’re asking new restaurants in the area to either serve only meat-free options, or not open up at all. Get real, dude.

    • Q. How can you tell if someone’s a vegan?

      A. Don’t worry. They’ll tell you.

    • Adam, if burned animal carcasses support land degradation, carbon emissions and higher oil prices, then they sound pretty evil, and we probably should eat them. Incidentally, do the burned animal carcasses have a lobbying group where they advocate on behalf of all of those issues? I think I know the media outlet that the burned-animal carcasses use: Fox News.

    • @Adam

      It’s no wonder you are vegan if “burned animal carcass” was what you got when you ordered that yummy bone-in rib-eye medium rare. Perhaps you should have tried a different restaurant!

  9. What about Eastside Market?! That’s a sandwich shop if I’ve ever seen one.

    Admittedly not great for vegans, but it’s the jam for an actual sub.

  10. The east side needs a regular good old fashioned sandwich shop, not another pretentious “fancy” one, and trust me I’m all for the fancy sometimes. But a shop that concentrates on good fresh baked rolls, and flavorful compliments to old favorites would be just what we need. It seems that every place I go to is either terribly generic or over compensating for lack of a simple flavorful sandwich.

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