The Aussie Invasion Continues with Sangers & Joe in Pasadena

Old Town’s burgeoning food scene gets some coffee and sandwich goodness

Tucked away on one of the few streets where snagging a parking space is possible in Old Town, there’s a charming new hang out serving Australian coffee culture vibes and some down-under slang. Sangers & Joe (“sanger” is Aussie patois for sandwich) is the newest breakfast, lunch, and brunch entry into Pasadena’s getting-good food scene.

The concept, which opened its doors back in October, comes from Scott Kay and Dario Dell’ Anno, who worked together previously operating Hollywood’s Wood & Vine. For the new venture, the two have taken over the low-key space that used to house Market on Holly, maintaining the former restaurant’s layout of casual bar seating and communal tables while brightening it up with a mix of soft hues and splashes of orange and yellow.

The menu is inspired by the kind you find in coffee shops in Kay’s native Australia. The restaurateur says he’d been traveling back and forth to his hometown for the past few years and was struck by the changes happening in its food and drink scene. “I feel like it’s developed mostly in the last few years to be much more like we see here—more focused on high-quality products, farm to table, but also in creating an environment that’s isn’t formal.” says Kay. “It’s very casual, which I like to think is a trait of the Australian culture in general.”

When he approached Dell’ Anno, who is Belgian, with the idea, the two agreed that they wanted to bring some of their international perspective to Pasadena. Early consultation on the food side came from Claudio Dell’ Anno, brother of Dario and, as luck would have it, a Michelin-starred chef who had recently sold his acclaimed restaurant Ciccio in Belgium. Claudio helped to develop the menu, and even spent a few months in the kitchen to get things going.

The result is a big selection of no-fuss, all-day fare on weekdays, with a focus “sangers”, from the paninis to BLTAs, non-stop breakfast (you can grab granola or steak and eggs), and salads.  A smaller brunch menu, which includes the decadent-but-not-overwhelming Breakfast Sanger stacked with eggs, tangy tomato compote, bacon, and melted gouda, is available on the weekends. The full coffee bar serves the regulars, plus long blacks, flat whites, and piccolo lattes. Bring the kids, too, because they’ve got a babychino (i.e. frothy milk).

They’re also serving beer and wine, with a list put together by Spin the Bottle, Kay’s wine shop/bar in Studio City, and mimosas on the weekends. Kay says that as things progress, he hopes to host regular pop ups—they’ve already begun to dabble in the practice with a dinner from Dario on New Years Eve and an upcoming Keys to the City series with chef Marc Johnson, starting January 28. Quite excitingly, they’re also working on doing something with chef Laurent Quenioux, which could involve him selling his insane selection of cheese at Sangers & Joe.

Sangers & Joe, 57 E. Holly St., Pasadena; 323-553-0563