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Driving south on Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance there is a long stretch of car dealerships. If you pay attention to the other side of the street, you’ll see a number of different retail shops and a few small restaurants. Since the demise of Beijing Islamic Restaurant, I’ve been keeping close tabs on that location to see what it would eventually become. It recently opened as Capicola’s Gourmet Sandwich Company.

From the outside, the restaurant has a lot of signage. Combined with logos and the use of effective fonts, I initially assumed that Capicola’s was a restaurant chain. It certainly appeared that way. Walking into the restaurant, I discovered that customers placed and picked up their orders. Glancing about the restaurant, it was obvious that the owners had really thought about creating an experience for people that appreciated good food, but also sought good value.

I found out that Capicola’s was much more than a sandwich shop. Reading the menu, I quickly realized that I underestimated Capicola’s: salads, flatbread pizzas, house made soups, fresh bread and gourmet desserts. If you’re into browsing like me, it was interesting to walk the perimeter of their counter so as to gain a better understanding of everything they had to offer.

My wife ordered the Capi’s special sandwich. The Capi’s special came fully loaded: capicola, prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, shaved parmigiano reggiano, basil, Roma tomatoes and romaine lettuce. Unlike some restaurants where the bread is hard and difficult to bite through, Capicola’s bread is super soft. This prevented the insides from falling out as you take a bite. Fresh basil is not something I typically find in a sandwich, but that combined with the other fresh Italian ingredients made for a very satisfying sandwich.
My daughter’s margherita pizza was flatbread based which allowed them to assemble and serve it in a very short amount of time. It was topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and Roma tomatoes. What made the pizza was the fact that fresh garlic topped the tomatoes. At $5.99 per pizza, this is an excellent value.
I ordered the rotisserie chicken sandwich with Capicola’s special sauce. Fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes also accompanied the sandwich. I should have taken the staff’s advice and ordered it with BBQ sauce, but I opted instead for the CSS (Capicola special sauce). CSS is a house blend of sundried tomatoes, mayonnaise and some “other” ingredients. In my mind, the sauce was a bit too mild for the rotisserie chicken and would have probably been better served with their marinara or BBQ sauce.

I happened to meet co-owner Milan Vidovich. Since the restaurant was under a “soft opening”, he was there observing the details, listening to customers and making adjustments. We were fortunate that the Wine Station had just been installed and we were able to enjoy a glass of Frances Ford Coppola Pinot Noir and Jacobs Creek Shiraz.

It seems like Milan and his partner, Anthony Accetta, have done their market research and have executed on a concept viable for Torrance. Capicola’s combines elements of a gourmet sandwich shop, but has high end offering like Illy’s coffee and house-made gourmet desserts. In fact, they looked so good that we decided to order a slice of chocolate cake. It was a velvet chocolate “goodness” (according to my daughter), that definitely paired well with a glass of milk. Like a good Italian bakery, they even make their own cannoli.

Milan expects to have a grand opening during the week of February 18. Next time we’re there, we’re definitely going to order the pulled pork and meatball sandwiches!


Capicola’s is a newly opened gourmet sandwich shop on Pacific Coast Hwy in Torrance. The previous tenant was an Indian restaurant that seemed to struggle in this location. Parking is available in a large shared parking lot to the east of the restaurant and there are a few parking places on the west side of the restaurant. Capicola’s, like many of the new “fast casual” restaurants allows you to order at a lunch counter and seat yourself. The menu features sandwiches, panini, salads, and pizza. Staff is available at the tables for bussing dishes.

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Capicola’s Gourmet Sandwiches is located on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Located in Torrance on the bustling Pacific Coast Highway, Capicola’s Gourmet Sandwiches is known for its unique, fresh, one-of-a-kind sandwiches. (Yes, the type that is definitely sure to leave you feeling filled after a meal, not still hungry for more). Its menu provides many sandwichoptions—as well as pizzas and soups—for the hungry diner, including the famous “Rise and Shine Panino,” which features a savory medley of eggs, prosciutto, Roma tomatoes, melted Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and Capicola’s Special Sauce, and the “Capi’s Special,” a mix of salami, fresh Mozzarella, capicola, prosciutto, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, Roma tomatoes, romaine, extra virgin olive oil and Capicola’s Special Sauce.

But Capicola’s is also the first shop that started the California Cronut craze, according to owner Anthony Accetta.

An assortment of flavors is always available for the hungry customer.

Accetta’s version of the New York-based pastry is called the “Croinut”—priced at $4.99 each—which the store started selling on June 1. Ever since, “Croinuts” have steadily been selling out.

“I modeled the ‘Croinut’ after the Zeppole [an Italian dessert],” Accetta shares.

Having an Italian mother, Accetta grew up eating dishes similar to the Zeppoli, cooked to perfection with homemade recipes. Once the Cronuts debuted in New York, Accetta asked his mom if she had a similar recipe to make an authentic, West Coast version of the best-selling pastry.

“When I asked her [my mother] for the recipe, she told me I grew up eating these [Cronuts],” Accetta laughs.

Different “Croinut” flavors are featured every day.

The rest, as they say, is history. Accetta bases his “Croinuts” off of his mother’s recipe, and he comes up with all the flavor combinations. The store sells up to 24 flavors of “Croinuts” at one time. Some of the many featured “Croinut” flavors include “Salted Caramel with Godiva Chocolate,” “Honey Pecan,” “Nutella,” “Banana Cream,” “Peaches ‘N Cream,” “Tribute to Elvis” (made with bananas, peanut butter and filled with Bavarian cream, of course) and “Pecan Honey Orange Glazed,” among many others.

Two of Accetta’s favorites are the “Toto Sicilian Grand Marnier” and “Cinnamon Glaze”.

The “Toto Sicilian Grand Marnier” includes soft, fudgy, brownie-like cookie pieces atop the “Croinut.”

“The ‘Toto’ is filled with Bavarian cream and topped with Sicilian brownie cookies crumbles that are made with coffee and chocolate,” Accetta explains. “It has a flaky and soft interior with a crisp, crunchy exterior.”

The “Toto Sicilian Grand Marnier” is definitely a work of art and delightful to taste. The Bavarian cream filling is light and complements the pastry perfectly. Meanwhile, the chewy, fudgy, brownie-cookie hybrid pieces that top the “Croinut” provide additional texture and consistency. With the unique taste of the “Croinut” itself—flaky and crispy on the outside; soft and doughy on the inside—combined with the rich, chocolate cookie bits (but not overwhelmingly chocolate), this “Toto” features the perfect medley of sweet flavors.

Accetta prides himself on providing the public with freshly made products.

“All of our toppings are fresh,” he says. “For example, we have chocolate and lemon wafers imported from Italy.”

Capicola’s features up to 24 different “Croinut” flavors at one time, with about 17 flavors featured during the weekends. “Croinut” flavors change every day—save for the most popular ones—so customers never know what they’re going to see.

“People line up really early [for the ‘Croinuts’] on the weekends,” Accetta says. “Our lines usually go out the doors. We sometimes sell out of ‘Croinuts’ by 11 a.m.!”

The store sometimes sells out of “Croinuts” so quickly because Accetta gives the delicate pastries a five-hour shelf life—to ensure that every customer receives a fresh product—and does not bake more once they are sold out. Accetta also recommends customers to not put their “Croinuts” in the fridge if they buy them to go.

“Some of my customers said they went to New York City and tried the original Cronut, but they liked Capicola’s ones better,” he states proudly.

Although we only sampled the “Toto” Croinut flavor on our first visit to Capicola’s, we will definitely be back for some of the restaurant’s gourmet sandwiches—and possibly new Croinut flavors—the next time we return. The cozy eatery is located at 3160 Pacific Coast Hwy. in Torrance.

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