San Francisco’s fast-casualization continues as Sajj moves into the former home of Merigan Sub Shop, the whole butchery sandwich shop from chef Liza Shaw that recently closed. The location will be the first San Francisco outpost for the growing South Bay chain, which already has locations in Menlo Park and Mountain View, and two food trucks.
Sajj, which bills itself as “Mediterranean Street Eats” offers the step-by-step ordering style of restaurants like Chipotle. Here’s how it works: Diners choose from a selection of items like steak shawarma, falafel, or pomegranate chicken, then decide whether to eat it wrapped in sajj (a flatbread) or pita, or atop a salad or rice bowl. Diners can add from a selection of condiments and sides, and every order comes with lentil soup.
The restaurant is founded by Zaid Ayoub and two partners, one of whose family is the owner of several Bay Area restaurants that includes Crepevine. Ayoub told Eater SF that the restaurant concept launched three years ago, after he left the tech industry. The group has been eying SF for a while, after bringing their food truck up for catering and appearing at food truck gatherings like Off the Grid. “We chose this location because of the businesses and residential spaces surrounding it,” said Ayoub. “The space itself is really nice— Liza [Shaw] did a great job here.”
To that end, there will be a small remodel to include Sajj branding and colors, leaving the concrete and steel that characterized Merigan. Then the restaurant will open, likely next week, for lunch. It will also open for all Giants games, with dinner planned to debut in January and the possibility of beer and wine down the line.
The SF store will open shortly before another location in Sunnyvale. Ayoub says this is just the beginning, as Sajj hopes to expand widely throughout the Bay Area, and all the way down to Southern California. Stay tuned for more.