5/31/2012 07:17:00 PM

5 Things You Need to Know About Mendocino Farms

Photo courtesy Mendocino Farms
Mendocino Farms debuted its fifth location today, smack-dab in the heart of it all across from the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax. This location is bigger and brighter than the others, with some unique design elements like faux grass and greenery on the walls and benches, beamed ceilings and clothespin chandeliers. As with the other Mendos, Judy Han's sandwiches and salads take center stage, and you'll find familiar favorites such as the Kurobota pork belly banh mi, the "not so fried chicken," and seasonal specials like a lamb carnitas Cubano. But also like all of the other Mendos, there are some things that make this location distinctly its own. Here's what you need to know.

1) It's super kid-friendly. The kiddies have their own area featuring a vintage heavy-duty scale where they can weigh themselves (no word about adults), an empty section of chalkboard so they can draw and a mini communal table sized just for them.

2) Be prepared for parking. This location shares a parking lot with a new Trader Joe's, and we all know TJ's parking lots are the ninth circle of Hell. There are two entrances, both off of Third Street (none off of Fairfax), which is good. And because the Peet's Coffee and Paper Source haven't opened yet, it's still tolerable. Best bet: go now.

3) Blue Cow menu items make their debut here. Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar has been serving as a workshop for all of the Mendos, so you'll see some menu items, like the Blue Cow Salad, at this location. Beer that's popular downtown is also served here, like Little Yellow Pils and Racer 5, both solid choices. This is only the second Mendo to serve something boozy (Marina Del Rey is the other).

4) No more milling about waiting for your food. You get a buzzer when you order, which means you can grab a table immediately and sit comfortably until it's ready.

5) The patio, which is literally on the corner of Third and Fairfax, isn't nearly as loud as you'd think it should be for that intersection. Thank the sturdy glass barrier. Your talking points: the foodist quotes etched in it, such as, "Life is a combination of magic and pasta," a favorite Fellini musing.

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