First Look: Split Bread, the New Sandwich Shop from Mixt Greens

[Photographs: Wes Rowe]

It's no secret that we love our sandwiches here at Serious Eats. So when we heard about Split Bread, the new sandwich-centric venture from Andrew Swallow and David Silverglide, we asked where we could sign up.

Swallow and Silverglide have made a lasting mark on San Francisco's downtown lunch scene with their wildly popular mini-chain, Mixt Greens. The seasonal, creative salads have led to lines out the door at multiple locations, and accolades for their farm-fresh ingredients, sustainable practices, and tasty combinations.

This philosophy, of good ingredients and great environmental practices, has been carried over to their new venture. Centered around carefully sourced ingredients (bread from Acme and Ledbetters, meat from Golden Gate Meat Company), local produce, and multiple varieties of spit-roasted meats, these sandwiches are meant to be savored.

"I wanted to reframe fast food for the masses," Swallow said, of his decision to leave Gary Danko and start Mixt. "I want to educate about seasonability."

As for sandwiches? "My first job was at the Chatham Sub Shop in New Jersey," he told us. "I fell in love with sandwiches then, and I always wanted to come back and do them."

This love of sandwiches shows in the menu, which features eight options, plus four salads, and a number of sides. The vegetables will be entirely seasonal, meaning no mealy, pink tomato slices come winter.

Also different is Split's no-cash policy. You can order and pay in advance or at the restaurant using your phone; metal-plated QR codes sit on all of the tables, allowing you to snap a photo and place your order without leaving your table or hailing a server.

The sleek, art deco-esque space opened in the Metreon movie theater complex earlier this month. In addition to drawing in the movie-growing crowd, Swallow intends for Split to be a more sit-down dining experience; a "sandwich bistro," as he described it.

"We have great sandwiches, good sides, and a great beer and wine list," he said. "I want this to be a sandwich restaurant with a high-end feel."

And the duo already has expansion plans. A second Split Bread location is forthcoming in the Financial District, with a third planned for the East Bay. Beyond that, Swallow would love to open a spot in Hayes Valley, or the Mission.

"The Metreon location is kind of a test," he told us. "There's a great lunch and dinner crowd around here. Ultimately, we want to create an awesome atmosphere."

More photos of Split Bread's sandwiches, sides and popsicles >>

Split Bread

145 Fourth Street, San Francisco CA 94103 (map) 415-603-2000;