After a brief closure due to the birth of their first child, Nick Rappoport and Melissa Johnson are back in Mountain View every Friday starting Feb. 4.

The Midwife and the Baker
The Midwife and the Baker bakes the sandwich bread for Rōzmary Kitchen’s pop-up and hosts it. The pop-up returns weekly Feb. 4. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

One year after launching their sandwich pop-up Rōzmary Kitchen in collaboration with The Midwife and the Baker in Mountain View, Nick Rappoport and his wife Melissa Johnson are planning a weekly Peninsula pop-up after closing in November for the birth of their first child.

Rōzmary Kitchen will be back at The Midwife and the Baker every Friday starting Feb. 4, serving up seasonal sandwiches made on the bakery’s bread. The sesame Dutch Crunch, hoagie-style rolls that the bakery began making especially for the pop-up will return, along with sandwiches made on sesame rolls and ciabatta. They’re also offering a salad option again, with the current Big Ol’Market Salad ($10) featuring pickled veggies, lettuces, cucumbers, citrus, chickpeas, crispy shallots and seeds and creamy red wine tahini vinaigrette.

“Every sandwich is unique,” Rappoport says. “Most of our product is housemade: the pickles, all the sauces, aiolis – just keeping it fresh and simple.”

Furloughed as Pinterest’s chef, Rappoport was inspired by bread

Rappoport, a chef who’s cooked at The French Laundry, Outerlands and other Bay Area restaurants, was working as Pinterest’s chef de cuisine at the start of the pandemic when he was furloughed and eventually laid off. He began working on baking rolls and creating sandwich recipes, and when Johnson, a catering manager at Stanford University, brought home bread from The Midwife and the Baker, it inspired an idea for collaboration. Rappoport already knew bakery owner Mac McConnell, and the two formed a partnership to develop the hoagie-style Dutch Crunch roll.

The Fanucchi sandwich, served on a sesame roll with pistachio mortadella, soppressata, capicola, sharp provolone, “shredduce,” cherry pepper relish, onion and aioli, is back and will be a menu mainstay, while other sandwiches will switch out roughly every three months. It’s partly seasonal, partly strategic, according to Rappoport.

“Down the road, we plan to open a brick and mortar,” he says. “We’re not sure where or when, but this gives us a chance to test out the sandwiches and see which ones people gravitate toward so we can get a collection of big-hitters for a menu when the time comes to open up.”

Besides The Fanucchi, the current menu includes Pork n’ Greens (Italian roast pork shoulder with broccoli di cicco, Parmesan, sharp provolone, pickled peppers and aioli on a sesame roll); Tam I Am, a vegan sandwich made with avocado, smoked oyster mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, pickled red onions, seeds and Calabrese bomba spread on a sesame Dutch Crunch roll; Mr. Tanner, with coffee-rubbed corned beef brisket, fennel-apple slaw, dill pickles, Gruyere and their special ROZ sauce on a sesame Dutch Crunch roll; and El Caesar del Diablo, a Caesar-salad inspired sandwich on ciabatta (all $16 except Tam I Am, $15).

“I had a Caesar salad over our break and I said, ‘Man, I miss the classic Caesar salad,’ so I’m going to do a rosemary turkey with a Caesar salad in the sandwich,” Rappoport says.

‘It was really sweet’: balancing a baby and recipe development

Rappoport says he takes inspiration from a collection of different recipes he’s developed over time, which leads to “mix and matching all these things I’m working on over time.”

“I have all these different ingredients I make homemade and put in different sandwiches as I go,” he says.

Johnson says she and Rappoport learned a lot during the first year of their pop-up, between tasks like operating in farmers markers and running online ordering, and are eager to return to Mountain View.

“It was really sweet: When people found out we were having a baby, people were congratulating us, giving us gifts, checking in with us as we’ve been on leave,” she says. “We’re really appreciative of all of our customers and really excited to see what’s going to happen this next year.”

Rōzmary Kitchen pop-up at The Midwife and the Baker, 846 Independence Ave., Mountain View. Every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., preorders only. Preorders start at 10 a.m. every Wednesday, Instagram: @rozmary_kitchen. The Midwife and the Baker, 650-336-7697, Instagram: @themidwifeandthebaker. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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