After two weeks of test runs and pop-up services, baker Vivian Lee officially opens her sandwich shop and bakery Leftie Lee’s June 1 at the newly opened Olive and Pine complex in Avondale Estates.
Lee describes Leftie Lee’s as “equal parts pastry shop and sandwich shop” akin to the many Asian bakeries found along the Buford Highway corridor.
“I grew up going to Paris Baguette in New Jersey. When I think of bakeries, I think self-service along the front counter and people ordering sandwiches to go,” Lee says of the set-up at Leftie Lee’s. “My sandwiches are more globally inspired as far as flavors are concerned. I love having all sorts of different foods and flavors, and sandwiches make it all approachable.”
Lee has been baking professionally for 13 years and says bread has always been an integral part of her career, something she realized while attending bread school over a decade ago. She’s been at the pop-up game since 2013, first running Side Hustle Pretzels in New York City, then moving to Atlanta and launching her Korean-style bakery pop-up Foodcation Forever.
Lee recognizes Atlanta is in its sandwich renaissance era and credits people like herself who’ve come from other parts of the country (and the world) with bringing their sandwich culture here. But it wasn’t something Lee was thinking about when she signed the lease at Olive and Pine two years ago. Lee simply recalls fond memories of walking to the neighborhood bodega in New York City for lunch everyday to grab a sandwich, a city, she says, where “sandwiches are life.” Lee wanted to bring that fierce love for sandwiches to Atlanta.
Leftie Lee’s offers a tight list of sandwiches each day, including open-faced varieties like egg toast topped with scrambled eggs, American cheese, and kimchi during breakfast and the Italian bologna at lunch. The latter is Lee’s favorite sandwich on the menu made with mortadella, provolone, and caperberries on freshly baked focaccia. The most popular sandwich at Leftie Lee’s is the Korean braised beef garnished with shaved scallions and perilla ranch served on milk bread. The chicken salad is another favorite, with the mixture styled after the flavors of Moroccan tagine.
In addition to sandwiches, expect a selection of fresh pastries and baked goods for which Lee is known like croissants, yuzu and black sesame blondies, and pecan praline bars. The weekend sees a totally different menu during brunch, serving French toast and an egg melt on house-made pumpernickel bread. Lee also hopes to eventually open Leftie Lee’s in the evenings to pop-ups, giving back to the community that helped lift up her business.
Seating at Olive and Pine is available outside at picnic tables and throughout the building inside, which Leftie Lee’s shares with Wonderful World Coffee and forthcoming cocktail bar and slice shop Niteowl from the owners of Edgewood Pizza. The coffee shop should open next week beside Leftie Lee’s, while the slice shop and bar is expected to open later this fall.
“A sandwich is like having a meal between two pieces of bread. There’s an art to building a good sandwich. You need textures and different flavors,” says Lee. “I want to focus on bread, all made here. Bread is so important to a good sandwich and I think people forget that. But also, I want to have fun with these sandwiches.”
Take a look at the menu below:
Leftie Lee’s at Olive and Pine, 6 Olive Street, Avondale Estates.
Wednesday - Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekend brunch, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hours will expand in the coming months.