When Andy Kadin of Bub and Grandma’s started baking bread in 2015, his goal was to open a sandwich shop, the idea being to take over a closed Subway or Jimmy John’s and make about 100 sandwiches a day. The universe, however, had other plans: After giving some bread to a friend who worked at the Mediterranean restaurant Dune, Kadin started making square ciabatta for the restaurant’s beet sandwiches. “I thought, ‘Great, I can have a couple of wholesale accounts.’ That was the end of my previous existence,” Kadin says.
Fast-forward seven years, a beyond-popular stall at the Hollywood Farmers Market, and a wholesale business that spread like wildfire to include 140 accounts. Now, finally, Kadin’s sandwich shop dream is becoming a reality. As of Monday, the diner-esque Bub and Grandma’s Restaurant & Bakery is officially open at 3507 Eagle Rock Boulevard in Glassell Park, serving breakfast and lunchtime sandwiches, toasts, pastries (croissants, cookies, and donuts), desserts (including a highly Instagrammable lime custard pie from pastry chef Christopher Lier), and a handful of salads and side dishes. On day two, the restaurant was sold out of all but two sandwiches by the late afternoon.
Bread stars on the menu, with three new iterations created specifically for the restaurant: the Bub’s sub, challah, and a Kaiser roll. But to manage what goes between it, Kadin tapped Psychic Wines co-founder, Cosa Buona alum, and fellow northern New Jersey native Zach Jarrett to head up the kitchen. Kadin and Jarrett grew up close to each other in the Garden State. The Turkey Trot sandwich, which pairs turkey with coleslaw, Swiss, Russian dressing, and a pickle, is an homage to a sandwich served at Kadin’s hometown Millburn Deli, as well as one at Town Hall Deli in South Orange, where Jarrett grew up.
“There are plenty of great sandwiches in town,” Kadin says. “I wanted to connect more with the Jewish-Italian neighborhood that I grew up in. Tri-State-area sandwiches are really diverse, and it doesn’t feel like we have that here [in LA].”
For Jarrett, creating the menu meant digging into a backstory. “I made up a story for myself about people who had moved to the US from somewhere else, who desperately wanted to assimilate but didn’t know how to give up some of the flavors of where they came from, like pickled beets, and still wanted to fit into this window of Americana,” Jarrett says. “There’s sort of this Midwestern housewife that informed my thoughts around the menu, as well as a general fascination with 1970s health food stores.”
The sandwiches, which Jarrett calls “quietly technical,” are small feats of textural and flavor ingenuity, thanks to many of the ingredients being made in-house. The mayo in Jarrett’s tuna salad, served with an Apple Pan-thick wedge of iceberg and bread-and-butter pickles on sliced challah, is homemade. So is the brisket that’s paired with a sweet, tangy apple mostarda on a sub roll. Jarrett is especially fond of the vegetable-packed sandwich called the Rainbow, as well as the dilly, Ranch-inspired house-made cottage cheese, served with a punchy red wine vinegar-dressed tomato and cucumber salad, on the restaurant’s chop suey plate.
“Thinking about ways to make interesting vegetarian sandwiches without relying on fake meats was really fun,” Jarrett says.
As for the restaurant itself, Kadin secured the high-ceilinged space in late 2019, but a series of pandemic- and contractor-related delays and complications kept him from opening the doors until now. And although he shares a building with the live-fire restaurant Dunsmoor, which was met with anti-gentrification protests when it opened this past summer, he hasn’t seen any pushback. Kadin, who lives in the neighborhood, did outreach with community boards and points to a $9 “overthought” Arby’s-style roast beef sandwich as one example of items that he intentionally tried to keep at a relatively affordable price point. He’s also giving out branded keychains to locals, which gives them 5 percent off at the restaurant for life.
Kadin says, “I think it helps that we exist already and have a history — and you can see that our intentions are to feed people and give all our extra bread to the community.”
Meanwhile, the restaurant’s design — with its muted yellow color scheme, cream leather booths, marble-topped tables, and long counter outfitted with leather-topped stools — harkens back to old-school diners. Kadin called on Walk and Talk Consulting, which also worked with Russ & Daughters Cafe in New York City, to handle the aesthetics for the 70-seat restaurant, which also has around 20 seats outside.
There’s an outdoor takeout window outfitted with a classic blue-and-white letterboard menu, too, where folks can pick up online orders, while whole loaves of bread are sold at an ordering counter up front. Bub and Grandma’s is also roasting its own coffee on-site, a Bub’s Brew specially created by Pulley Collective (which Kadin describes as “un-watered-down diner coffee”). Dinner service will come at some point, as will live jazz in the evenings.
Bub and Grandma’s Restaurant & Bakery is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.