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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Fat Face sandwich store moves to the big city

Like her ever-expanding popsicle menu, the owner of the sandwich and soup shop Fat Face is making a big move to Sacramento this spring.

Opened in November of 2009, the L Street shop closed its doors on March 11. The location is still being used to produce “Aisu” fruit popsicle and sandwiches for the Wednesday and Saturday Davis Farmers Markets, where the store’s owner, Jaymes Luu, 32, has been selling her popsicles since 2005. She will continue to come to the market, even with her move.

The owner hopes to open in the new Sacramento location in May or June.

Luu is partnering with Olivia Coelho and Trisha Rhomberg, the owners of Bows & Arrows, a vintage clothing store in Sacramento, to open a mixed store that will include an art gallery, clothing and Luu’s café. Coelho and Rhomberg joined with her after they planned to expand their clothing line in a new space with beer and wine, but needed to serve food in order to do so.

The café will cover about a third of a 3,200 square-foot midtown Sacramento location, still carrying the name Fat Face.

Luu grew up in Louisiana and Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2000, where she received a business degree. Luu is the middle child of a civil engineer father and accountant mother, both of which she said are good cooks.

“I wanted to eat for a living,” Luu said. “The closest thing to that is cooking for a living.”

The store’s name comes from her nickname.

“My friends call me Fat Face because I just love food so much,” Luu said. “It comes from me being a little piggy.”

She names “yellow watermelon pineapple” and “mint Arnold Palmer” as her favorite popsicle flavors on her menu. She said she is working on an egg and bacon flavor, which she believes will be her new favorite.

The markings of her love of food have even manifested on her arms. Two years ago she was inked with a black pig tattoo and just last month she got the chemical makeup of the Japanese “umami”, or savoriness – one of the five basic tastes. She said the umami tattoo is a reminder for her to make her food as flavorful as possible.

When the store opened in 2009, Luu intended to primarily sell popsicles, but weather got in the way of her plans.

“I originally opened the store for popsicle production,” Luu said. “Since we opened the store during the winter, we ended up focusing on sandwiches.”

Luu enjoys photography and watching college football, but she said she spends most of her time and money on food.

“I eat out a lot,” Luu said. “I like Thai Nakorn and the taco trucks in Woodland. I love and hate how Davis is boring. It’s relaxing because I work so much. I don’t have anything to do after work and since there’s not much to do, I don’t feel pressured to go out. There’s also a great community feel to Davis, so I see customers everywhere.”

Her inclination toward popsicles is nothing new. She described how as a child she would freeze Kool-Aid with her brother for their lemonade stands.

“It took me six years after graduating from college to figure what I wanted to do with my life,” Luu said. “My advice to college students is you shouldn’t feel pressured to figure out what you want to do right way. I had no idea I would be making popsicles for a living until it happened. You need to find the courage to figure out what you want to do – what makes you happy.”

Though a couple of months away, the Sacramento Fat Face location will be open at 1815 19th Street Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached city@theaggie.org.

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