Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches

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Though it’s a local mini-chain, this sandwich shop has deep roots on the island. When the café opened in the slot next to Island Books, owners Brad Gillis and Ben Friedman called it a homecoming – Mercer Island is where they grew up. But some of the community-mindedness of the island comes into play at all of the chain’s ten locations – they look for local, organic products to stock, and all-natural meats to put into the menu of sandwiches.

With big letters “MI” dominating the long wall of the shop, it does its best to play to the local crowd, and the distressed metal that the letters are made from fits into the Pinterest-esque décor. It’s lovely, but not heavy on personality: wood panels, imitation Tolix chairs, and subway tile interrupted by shelves holding plants. But some of the best features of Homegrown can’t be seen by the naked eye: gluten-free options are available for the sandwiches, the aiolis, salad dressings, and sauces are all plant-based, and the sourcing aims for organic, non-GMO, and sustainability. Vegans and vegetarians will also find plenty of choice on the menu, among the sandwiches, salads, and bowls.

Za’atar Smashed Chickpea sandwich on gluten-free bread | Photo credit: Homegrown / Facebook

More of Homegrown’s unique spin comes on the menu, where the farm-to-table food brings a freshness and flavor to the often-ordinary genre of the quick-serve lunch. Za’atar smashed chickpea sandwiches with shredded beets and lemon harissa tahini, and a chicken salad sandwich studded with pecans and cherries show off the creativity – and farm greens. Bowls include matcha chicken avocado and chermoula roasted veggie. The breakfast menu – with a sunrise bowl of eggs and ancient grains, among others – shines, especially along with the well-curated beverage selection including such things as Spindrift seltzers and Olympia Coffee’s iced coffee. But the real treat comes after the meal: in the form of the small freezer filled with local favorite Molly Moon’s ice cream.

Homegrown is located at 3016 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA. Learn more at www.eathomegrown.com.

Written by Naomi Tomky