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Sandy’s

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Much-Anticipated New Orleans-Inspired Muffuletta Shop Sandy’s Parades Open on Haight

Owner and New Orleans native Peterson Harter hopes to bring a taste of the Big Easy to San Francisco

Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

As Peterson Harter is quick to say, Sandy’s is a labor of love and a tribute to the Bay Area community. The popular muffuletta pop-up grew out of pandemic necessity, as did many pop-ups that started in 2020, but it’s the distinct New Orleans flavors and vibes that made Sandy’s a mainstay on the local music festival and pop-up circuit for the last three years.

Now, Harter’s pop-up project will finally have its main character moment with a new shop opening at 1457 Haight Street on Thursday, April 20. And although San Francisco is Harter’s homebase, having worked in restaurants such as the Progress and launching previous pop-up Bread Spread Pickle and, later, Sandy’s, he’s looking to bring some of that Big Easy style to the Haight, a neighborhood he feels is a kindred spirit to New Orleans. “It’s like New Orleans, it just has that energy to it,” Harter says. “It has that funkiness that I really like, and I can’t imagine this being in any other neighborhood now.”

Sandy’s

In some ways, entering the clean, white-tiled space feels like walking into the New Orleans native’s home kitchen. More likely than not, you’ll be greeted by music from New Orleans radio station WWOZ playing a mix of jazz, blues, and more. The wall above the wooden benches displays photos, artwork, and trinkets from Harter’s friends and family, a timeline of sorts that celebrates where he came from and the big personality he’s bringing to the Haight. There’s the papier mache flower from a Mardi Gras float a friend saved for him and the Sandy’s shop; a tribute to his mother, Lee Barnes, comes in the form of a poster for the cooking school she founded, Lee Barnes Cooking School and Gourmet Shop; meanwhile, a New Orleans-esque sign for Harter’s father, the namesake of the business, spells out “Sandys” in tile across its face. It’s a personal space for Harter, as much as it is public, and continues that flair for New Orleans that he’s been seeking since starting Sandy’s — something he’s never been able to achieve before as a roving pop-up. “It’s just fun to channel that energy here,” Harter says. “We were never able to really do that anywhere else and I think that’s why it’s so exciting to finally have this place come together. I want people to come in and hear the music, maybe dance a little bit and just be weird.”

For food, Sandy’s is of course known for the muffulettas that will be front and center behind a glass display case, much like a slice shop. To start, Sandy’s will have a limited menu but expect Harter’s style of muffuletta available by the quarter- and 1/8th-slice, piled with prosciutto, mortadella, soprresata, provolone, and spicy olive salad, with Firebrand Artisan Breads as the base and muffuletta-appropriate spread, Duke’s Mayo — plus a roasted maitake version, for the vegetarians. Sandy’s also-popular brown chocolate chip cookies will also be on hand to sweeten things up.

Sandy’s

But as soon as things settle, there will be a few more customer favorites to look forward to, such as coleslaw or pickled egg salad sandwiches, as well as a muffuletta salad for those who want a lighter option, or who perhaps can’t have gluten. A seasonal salad will also join the options, and Harter is already plotting on a simple tomato sandwich during tomato season or a grilled pimento cheese sandwich that’s half pickled egg salad and half pimento. As Sandy’s evolves, there are also plans to do an occasional one-night-only special item, such as a jumbo lump blue crab roll with remoulade sauce. There won’t be any wine or beer to start, although there are future plans to add on a liquor license, but for now patrons can expect an array of drinks such as Mountain Valley sparkling water, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, and root beer out of a clear beverage display fridge near the counter. “I think the menu’s just gonna come as time goes on,” Harter says. “Like the space itself — and like everything that’s happened with Sandy’s — we’ll figure it out,” he adds, laughing.

Sitting in the shop ahead of opening, after months of pop-ups and then working to renovate the space with his neighbor (and now, first Sandy’s employee, Charles Grondin) Harter still hasn’t been able to process the journey it’s undertaken to get here. It’s been a wild ride, from the friends, family, and customers near and far who contributed to the deposit for the shop to the folks who designed shirts or contributed to artwork on the wall. It has him feeling grateful. “That’s one thing I love about this place, is that community,” he says. “That’s how it should be. It’s like, you should know the people that are coming in — and if you don’t, you should make them feel like you’ve known them forever.”

Sandy’s

Sandy’s (1457 Haight Street) debuts on Thursday, April 20 and is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

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