Driving south on Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance there is a long stretch of car dealerships. If you pay attention to the other side of the street, you’ll see a number of different retail shops and a few small restaurants. Since the demise of Beijing Islamic Restaurant, I’ve been keeping close tabs on that location to see what it would eventually become. It recently opened as Capicola’s Gourmet Sandwich Company.
From the outside, the restaurant has a lot of signage. Combined with logos and the use of effective fonts, I initially assumed that Capicola’s was a restaurant chain. It certainly appeared that way. Walking into the restaurant, I discovered that customers placed and picked up their orders. Glancing about the restaurant, it was obvious that the owners had really thought about creating an experience for people that appreciated good food, but also sought good value.
I found out that Capicola’s was much more than a sandwich shop. Reading the menu, I quickly realized that I underestimated Capicola’s: salads, flatbread pizzas, house made soups, fresh bread and gourmet desserts. If you’re into browsing like me, it was interesting to walk the perimeter of their counter so as to gain a better understanding of everything they had to offer.
My wife ordered the Capi’s special sandwich. The Capi’s special came fully loaded: capicola, prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, shaved parmigiano reggiano, basil, Roma tomatoes and romaine lettuce. Unlike some restaurants where the bread is hard and difficult to bite through, Capicola’s bread is super soft. This prevented the insides from falling out as you take a bite. Fresh basil is not something I typically find in a sandwich, but that combined with the other fresh Italian ingredients made for a very satisfying sandwich.
My daughter’s margherita pizza was flatbread based which allowed them to assemble and serve it in a very short amount of time. It was topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and Roma tomatoes. What made the pizza was the fact that fresh garlic topped the tomatoes. At $5.99 per pizza, this is an excellent value.
I ordered the rotisserie chicken sandwich with Capicola’s special sauce. Fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes also accompanied the sandwich. I should have taken the staff’s advice and ordered it with BBQ sauce, but I opted instead for the CSS (Capicola special sauce). CSS is a house blend of sundried tomatoes, mayonnaise and some “other” ingredients. In my mind, the sauce was a bit too mild for the rotisserie chicken and would have probably been better served with their marinara or BBQ sauce.
I happened to meet co-owner Milan Vidovich. Since the restaurant was under a “soft opening”, he was there observing the details, listening to customers and making adjustments. We were fortunate that the Wine Station had just been installed and we were able to enjoy a glass of Frances Ford Coppola Pinot Noir and Jacobs Creek Shiraz.
It seems like Milan and his partner, Anthony Accetta, have done their market research and have executed on a concept viable for Torrance. Capicola’s combines elements of a gourmet sandwich shop, but has high end offering like Illy’s coffee and house-made gourmet desserts. In fact, they looked so good that we decided to order a slice of chocolate cake. It was a velvet chocolate “goodness” (according to my daughter), that definitely paired well with a glass of milk. Like a good Italian bakery, they even make their own cannolis.
Milan expects to have a grand opening during the week of February 18. Next time we’re there, we’re definitely going to order the pulled pork and meatball sandwiches!