For those who pine for an East Coast-style sub sandwich fix, complete with the chunky pickled pepper spread known as "hots," the opening of Merigan Sub Shop from Chef Liza Shaw should be on your culinary radar. Shaw's SoMa project is opening next month on the same street as Chronicle Books and 7x7 Magazine's headquarters -- which happens to be around the corner from the Giants home stadium. Highlights aside from the menu of meaty and veg-tastic sandwiches include: meatballs (enough said!), red wine on tap from Unti Vineyards, daily whole animal butchery, and turkey and roast beef made in house.
Shaw lives in San Francisco and hails from Baltimore. She talked with Bay Area Bites recently about her plans and confirmed that East Coast hoagie shops were the inspiration for her shop—and yes, there are plans for more shops if all goes well. Recently, Tablehopper reported on Shaw's menu highlights including: “a porchetta sandwich, a terrina with coppa di testa and pork liver terrina, housemade meatballs, spicy Italian sausage, and of course a killer Italian combo” and Shaw told BAB about her plans to include sides of ceci bean fritters and Italian shaved ice and zeppole pastries for dessert.
The chef was on the opening team for A16, and is considered something of a pizza and pasta badass. While she waited and negotiated the perfect space for her sub shop to come about—the current location of Hard Water was almost a go for a bit—she worked as consulting chef up north on the pizza programs for Pizzando and Redd Wood restaurants, respectively. Shaw has also had stints at Acquerello and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. Her comments have been edited for clarity.
Bay Area Bites: What does Merigan mean?
Shaw: Merigano is a phrase that was used by Italians for people who aren’t Italian. I’m not Italian.
Bay Area Bites: Do you see the shop as high end?
Shaw: I don’t know. I wouldn’t say upscale for this shop. I think I want it to be sandwiches that are done restaurant style. We are going to be cooking everything here: grinding the meat, making the sausage, butchering the pigs. The same values I have at home or in a restaurant will be there, but put into a sandwich. So you’ll see upscale preparation, and my techniques and ethics. But still, it’s just a sandwich when you get it but you know some thought, care and love has gone into it. I’m still going to be going to farmers’ markets and sourcing locally from Llano Seco, a place that has great pigs and is getting a beef program going.