Mean Sandwich

Mean Sandwich draws a great cross-section of people throughout the day. The generously-sized sandwiches are all served on Macrina’s Seeded Buns, and everything else is made in-house. The bun absorbs the juiciness of the fillings and keeps the generous pile of inners together. Kevin and Alex are usually there, and you’ll occasionally find their adorable three-year-old daughter holding court with the customers. If you love a delicious sandwich get on over there!


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Mean Sandwich

John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, is said to have invented the sandwich so he didn’t have to leave the gambling table to eat. Three hundred years after his birth, the now ubiquitous finger food ranges from humble to haute. At Mean Sandwich, located in Ballard, everyday street food and elevated cuisine find a happy meeting place. You can grab something to nosh on when you’re in a hurry, or treat your snobbiest foodie friend to lunch. They won’t be disappointed.

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Mean Sandwich is the brainchild of Kevin and Alex Pemoulie, formerly chef/owners of Thirty Acres, a critically-acclaimed restaurant that landed on Bon Appétit’s 2012 list of 50 best new restaurants in the country. Before that, they both worked at David Chang’s legendary New York restaurant Momofuku. After the birth of their daughter, they wanted to refocus. They shuttered their ode to fine dining and moved to Seattle, Alex’s hometown, to focus on casual, accessible food.

“We’re challenging ourselves in a different way entirely,” Kevin says. “Before we opened, I worked for a long time on the menu for Mean Sandwich. Obviously, everything here is going between two pieces of bread, but we make everything in-house, from the corned beef of our namesake sandwich to our sausage.”

Already high expectations for Mean Sandwich were elevated last fall when Eater put it on their list of 23 most anticipated openings around the country. Now, open nearly a year, the Pemoulie’s have backed up the hype, so much so that they made Bon Appetit’s 2017 list of 50 best new restaurants in the country.

The menu is simple: six signature sandwiches, a side salad, and Skins and Ins, an awesome combination of fried potato chunks and their skins. All sandwiches are griddled and served hot on a Macrina Seeded Bun.

The eponymous sandwich features tender thick-cut corned beef, pickled red cabbage, yellow mustard, mint, and a subtle dash of maple syrup. It’s based on a Thirty Acres dish and it’s worth a driving across town for—even at rush hour. None of the sandwiches feel too precious, but each has a special twist, that something you couldn’t do at home. You get the sense that the same care and effort they once put into each creative small plate at Thirty Acres goes into each sandwich. In addition to the standing menu, a special sandwich is offered every day, such as the Glazed Pork Belly with pine nuts, radicchio, and roasted tomato mayo. With the onset of the cooler weather, a fresh daily soup is also available.

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Behind the small storefront, the interior space is simple with a couple of booths and seating lining the windows, 18 seats in total. In warmer weather, the large backyard is an oasis of fun. Diners pack the eight picnic tables and many wait for a turn at the ping-pong table. Patrons of Peddler Brewing can order sandwiches through a pickup window located in the brewery’s beer garden.

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With a successful first year nearly behind them, Kevin and Alex are interested in opening a second location. “If the right opportunity came along we’d definitely entertain the idea,” Kevin says. “It seems that if you divide the city by a harsh north-south line, a lot of people wind up sticking to their neighborhoods during the weekdays, especially during the cold months. It’d be helpful to be in another part of the city.”

Meanwhile, to expand their reach, Mean Sandwich plans to make their sandwiches available through every delivery service in Seattle. “We just want to serve people great sandwiches,” Kevin says.“Right now we’re operating exclusively with Caviar, but we’re looking to use UberEats, Postmates, Doordash, Amazon Restaurants. We literally just want to use every single one.”

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Kevin and Alex have embraced Seattle and its food scene. They frequently take their daughter along as they try new restaurants or return to favorites. “The city is great,” Kevin says. “We live half a mile from Mean Sandwich, see Alex’s parents a great deal, and love our walkable neighborhood.”

Their gamble to leave fine-dining behind and take their talents West has given Seattle a chef-driven take on the old standby. They’ve kept the everyday convenience of the Earl of Sandwich’s pedestrian invention and made it tasty enough for the most discerning diner.

Mean Sandwich opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week. Check their website ( for evening closing hours and much more. 

Meet Our Family: Rebecca Early

Rebecca Early

What do Po Dog, Matt’s in the Market, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters have in common? These local favorites – in addition to hundreds more – use our breads and pastries to complement their own delicious menu items.

“We have over 480 wholesale customers, and it’s growing every month,” says our Wholesale Sales Manager Rebecca Early. “The secret of success is growing with your demand, and we’re doing an amazing job meeting that.”

Rebecca came to Macrina nine years ago when we were comprised of just two cafés, one in Belltown and the other in Queen Anne. At the time, Rebecca was working toward a degree that would place her in the world of radio and television, unaware that the future had something else in store.

“My sister lives down the street from our McGraw location with her three boys, and I would go over and nanny and walk the baby by Macrina every day. I had to get a part-time job to afford my quiche and latte every day.”

It wasn’t long before that part-time barista job at McGraw flourished into a manager position, with Rebecca overseeing both cafés and 35 employees. Years later, as we looked for opportunities to partner with other local companies, Rebecca’s love for our customers and products made her a natural choice to head up our wholesale department.

“We make close to 500 different products for wholesale, our wholesale customer service is parallel to no other, bar none, and our offerings make us a one-stop shop,” she says with a huge smile. “You can’t get the quality of pastries and the variety of bread anywhere else in the city.”

With her natural charm and finesse, Rebecca keeps our current wholesale partners wholly satisfied and welcomes new businesses with open arms.

“It really helps that this is such a great product and people really love Macrina. I couldn’t be more proud of who I’m representing. I feel like it’s what I was supposed to be doing all along.”

Meet Our Family: Fanny Alvarado

Fanny Alvarado, our phenomenal wholesale manager, found her way into the Macrina family when life took an unexpected turn. Shortly after earning a degree in business administration in Mexico, she made the fateful decision to enroll in a United States cultural exchange program as an au pair in hopes of improving her English language skills before starting a career. She never intended to stay in America once the two-year program with her host family was complete, but she also did not expect to fall in love with Washington, Macrina Bakery, and the man she’d eventually marry. Recently celebrating her five-year anniversary with the company, Fanny is sharing about the early days, what she loves about her role, and where you can spot her around town.

Fanny Alvarado

You were an au pair before joining the Macrina family. What brought about your career and life shift?

Being an au pair was never my end goal. However, I am grateful to have been involved in a cultural exchange program as an au pair for it gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons. It also connected me with many wonderful people, some of whom were directly involved with Macrina and led to my start with the company and contributed to my desire of staying in this country to work for an artisan high-end bakery in Seattle.

What do you enjoy most about working as the wholesale manager?

I really enjoy the level of human interaction. Our company has been growing since I started and this makes it a very fast-paced and always evolving environment. Keeping up with the fast growth is what’s kept me challenged, and for me being challenged is what I enjoy the most. I like never having time to lose and always being on the go.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The day goes really fast, from touching base with the delivery as soon as [I] get in, making sure customers are being taking care of by our [customer service representatives], figuring out solutions to problems we have never had, and setting up procedures to improve the way we do things in general. Lots of planning and procedure setting.

What has been the highlight of the past five years?

It’s hard to say. The first year working here in 2008, the biggest highlight was that we moved to a bigger facility – from Belltown to SODO. After that just the fast growth is impressive: going from 11 drivers and six delivery vans to 20 drivers and 11 delivery vehicles.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Wow! I don’t know where to begin. I love the beauty found in nature; it draws me to do adventurous things – anything from big beautiful mountains, large green forest to lakes and rivers. There’s much around us to enjoy! I like the outdoors, hiking, camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, kayaking, and rafting.

What is your favorite thing about Macrina?

The diversity in… everything! The products, cultures, and flavors; this place has become part of me! The people I work with are great. Our people-oriented culture inspires me. The difference in our bread is that we don’t have machines making products, but instead they are hand-formed by our bakers. This gives an authenticity to our products, and it’s something I love about our bakery. Just as every person at Macrina is unique, so are our breads. The owners are amazing people. Nowadays, it’s hard to find employers that care this much for each member of the company and also care to do the right thing. This is one of the reasons why I love my job here.