Unbeknownst to most Isla Vista residents, a new must-see food shop has opened up its doors and is taking the sandwich scene by storm. Friday’s is a two-man, student organized pop-up restaurant operated out of an almost-hidden residential apartment just to the right of Little Acorn Park on Sabado Tarde Road. Every Friday, the business sells a signature sandwich and side that changes every week. As an avid foodie of I.V., I’ve been following Friday’s grow for a while now on Instagram, and finally had the opportunity to review one of their signature sandwiches on their milestone 10th menu drop before I sprinted off to my already-in-progress Spanish class — sorry, profesora.

Friday’s operates on a pre-order basis, allowing customers to order the weekly signature sandwich earlier on in the week via a Google Form. The sandwich anticipation builds as you watch the precious dollars you spent vanish into thin air for no immediate reward — and you wonder if it’s all worth it and how you’ll manage to get through the week  — all before it can be picked up at the designated time of your choosing on Friday! This week’s signature sandwich was a Breakfast Sando which I bought for $11.50. The sandwich featured “fluffy scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, turkey bacon, fresh green onions, and avocado on a buttery brioche bun topped with chipotle aioli, served with a side of crispy tater tots and aioli,” according to their Instagram. It’s worth noting is that customers also had the ability to make the order vegetarian with no turkey bacon.

As I pulled up at my designated pick-up time for my sandwich, I felt like I was about to buy class-A drugs: I was slightly hesitant about what I was getting myself into when I was directed to go to the back of the building to pick up the sandwich goods. To my surprise, I wasn’t met by some sketchy, ratchet parking lot, but rather just a somewhat frat-like front yard with a cute blackboard menu sign seen at most cafés with a Scrub Daddy-like smiley face drawn on it, letting me know that I was at the right place and that I am safe and secure in its non-existent arms.

“We both really love to cook, and our friends just said that anything we can make is probably good enough to buy so we decided to start selling it to people in .V.,” fourth-year economics and Accounting major Joe Mehdizadeh said when I asked him about what inspired the business. Mehdizadeh founded Friday’s with Adam Sina, a Biology major at UCSB. “The food options in I.V. in general aren’t that great, so I think we bring a good curated selection of food everyone likes.”

As I scurried outside with my sandwich like an ant that had just successfully located a measly crumb to bring back to the nest, the next round of people were already walking up to pick up their orders too. There wasn’t any seating provided, so I decided to plop myself right in front of the apartment complex by the vibrant green bushes and centuries-old bird poop and dug right in.

I have to preface my review by saying that the sandwich was really hard to hold and eat fluidly. The ingredients were like Jenga pieces and fell out of the tower that was my sandwich, because if I don’t offer any sort of criticism, I’m going to look like a chump after I ramble on about how satisfying this sandwich was. The Breakfast Sando was a perfect morning meal. The savory flavors of the egg and turkey bacon, combined with the fresh taste of the avocado blended together perfectly to make every bite full of flavor. The melted cheese and the chipotle aioli added a slightly spicy and creamy flavor to the already delicious combination of ingredients in the sandwich, which were held together beautifully in the warm, buttery brioche bun. Maybe it was because I was late for class, but I wolfed down my sandwich in the blink of an eye, relishing each quick bite with gusto. This sandwich definitely deserves a high rating; a solid 8.75/10 rating in my books.

The ‘breakfast sando’ with a side of tater tots.

After I devoured the Breakfast Sando at speeds not even Sonic the Hedgehog could match, I moved on to try the crispy tater tots. Having not eaten a tater tot in many months, I was especially excited to try these guys out. Friday’s tater tots had that signature crispy, potatoey crunch that everyone loves from one of America’s most iconic breakfast items, while also having a soft, flaky interior that melts in your mouth like wax to a flame. They were definitely the perfect sidekick to the Batman that was the Breakfast Sando. My one gripe would be that they could’ve used a little more salt; however, I must acknowledge that it seems pretty hard to put salt on those stubby cylinder potatoes and expect it to stay. It’s well deserving of a solid 7.5/10.

All in all, Friday’s asserts itself as a must on all I.V. food destination lists, especially for those students already struggling to manage their school workload on top of other day-to-day duties. In my expert medical opinion (I am currently undeclared), a Friday’s sandwich is the perfect treat to prevent all forms of depression and anxiety. Definitely don’t miss out on the rise of an I.V. cult classic.

A version of this article appeared on p.8 of the May 2, 2024 version of the Daily Nexus.