MUNCH COMPANY SOLD | Local Couple Buys Beloved Sandwich Shop

With now former owner, Michelle Hammond, setting her sights on City Council, John Cheng and Min Liu have taken over

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | Min Liu (L) and John Cheng (R), have taken over Munch Company as now former owner, Michelle Hammond, looks to run for City Council this year

South Pasadena’s Munch Company sandwich shop on Mission Street changed hands this month. Outgoing owner Michelle Hammond, who has operated the friendly shop for nearly three years, said the sale was in part preparation for her announcement this week to run for a seat on the South Pasadena City Council.

Known for decades for its delicious sandwiches, the shop has now been taken over by John Chen and Min Liu (a.k.a. Mabel), who have lived in South Pasadena for over 12 years. Hammond said the couple reached out to her. With the shop doing well now and Hammond itching for her next adventure, the time was right.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | The new owners of Munch Company, Min Liu (L) and John Cheng (R), with longtime employee, Meg Doherty (Center)

Hammond, a former executive producer, took over shortly after her involvement in the creation of South Pasadena’s community garden. It was as way to have more time with her children—one’s nearly 11 and the other about to turn 15 — and end her commute to the West Side, where she spent years as an executive producer. Purchasing the shop was also in concert with her involvement in the establishment of South Pasadena’s Community Garden.

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As it happens, John and Min’s son has built out a portion of the community garden, offering further resonance to the sale. Hammond said the couple will continue from where she left off and bring their own personal twists. They have also agreed to continue the meal donation program Munch has been organizing and other good works.


Ben Tansey
Ben Tansey is a journalist and author. He grew up in the South Bay and is a graduate of Evergreen State College. He worked in Washington State as a reporter in a rural timber community and for many years as an editor for a Western electric energy policy publication based in Seattle.