First Look: Sanguichitos Brings Peruvian Inspired Sliders to South St. Louis

The sandwich counter, from chef Andrew Cisneros, is located inside Perennial Artisan Ales' tasting room


click to enlarge Sanguichitos offered at Perennial Artisan Ales include a Peruvian style burger and braised pork belly.
Sarah Lovett
Sanguichitos brings Peruvian-inspired Sandwiches to Perennial Artisan Ales.

Andrew Cisneros is a busy guy. Between running his wildly successful Peruvian restaurant, Jalea, sketching out a plan for a forthcoming rotisserie chicken concept called Brasas and consulting on the recently-opened Casa de Tres Reyes in Des Peres, the in-demand chef has found the time to launch Sanguichitos (8125 Michigan Avenue), a Peruvian-inspired sandwich counter that opened inside of Perennial Artisan Ales' south St. Louis tasting room in September.

As Cisneros explains, the idea for Sanguichitos came to him well before his partnership with Perennial. At Jalea, his nearly year-old cevicheria on Main Street in St. Charles, Cisneros began experimenting with small Peruvian-inspired sandwiches, or sanguichitos, after getting a hold of some excellent pandesal bread from a local bakery. The pandesal, a soft, subtly sweet Filipino roll, was the perfect canvas for classic Peruvian sandwich flavors, so he created a few different varieties and put them on Jalea's menu. They were an instant success and made him realize he was on to something that could be as popular in St. Louis as they are in Peru.

"Just like how Mexico has taco carts, we have sandwich carts," Cisneros says. "We eat a lot of sandwiches in Peru, and I wanted to make something that wasn’t [a] big sandwich but has finesse and is easier to pick up for a quick bite; you can have one or two and everyone is full for the night."

click to enlarge Andrew Cisneros is excited to share his sanguichitos with St. Louis.
Sarah Lovett
Andrew Cisneros is excited to share his sanguichitos with St. Louis.

Cisneros drew inspiration, not only from Peruvian flavors, but from the street carts that serve them. Parked in front of bars and clubs where they provide sandwiches to merry-makers into the wee hours of the night, the carts are a staple of the country's nightlife culture. That's why things clicked when he got to talking with Perennial's owner Phil Wymore following a pop-up series they did together this past spring and summer. Cisneros noticed that Perennial's kitchen was not in use, and he instantly recognized that the tasting room environment would be the perfect place for St. Louisans to enjoy his sanguichitos. Wymore agreed, and in just two months, the two converted the empty kitchen into a bastion of Peruvian street food.

Sanguichitos' menu consists of five different styles of slider-sized sandwiches. The Peruvian Street Burger pairs a seasoned beef patty with smoked cheddar cheese, crispy potatoes, fried shallots and a piquant take on fry sauce, a mayonnaise and ketchup based sauce popular throughout Latin America. His smoked chicken salad sanguichito uses Peruvian style rotisserie chicken as a base, then tosses it with Cisneros' "chicken sauce," a dressing made with aji amarillo, black mint, mayonnaise and vinegar. A blue crab salad slider features hunks of the tender shellfish dressed with citrus mayonnaise and accented with smoked trout roe. Sanguichitos also serves a braised pork belly sanguichito, as well as a vegetarian riff on choripan, which consists of a chorizo seasoned impossible patty topped with mozzarella cheese and roasted red pepper sauce.

click to enlarge Sanguichitos is located inside the tasting room at Perennial Artisan Ales.
Sarah Lovett
Sanguichitos is located inside the tasting room at Perennial Artisan Ales.

All sanguichitos, except for the blue crab, are served in pairs, and every order comes with a side of house made chips and a cilantro lime ranch dipping sauce  that Cisneros likens to onion dip. He hopes to expand his side offerings, but for now, he's trying to nail down what he's currently doing in the hopes he can build upon it at additional locations.

"I love this concept," Cisneros says. "I'm still tweaking a lot of things, but I think this is something that can be replicated in a lot of small spaces. That's what is on the horizon right now."

Sanguichitos is open Wednesday through Friday from 4 until 10 p.m., Saturday from noon until 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. Scroll down for more photos of Sanguichitos.

click to enlarge Smoked chicken salad and blue crab with smoked trout roe are two of the restaurant's popular dishes.
Sarah Lovett
Smoked chicken salad and blue crab with smoked trout roe are two of the restaurant's popular dishes.
click to enlarge The dining area inside Perennial Artisan Ales.
Sarah Lovett
The dining area inside Perennial Artisan Ales.
click to enlarge Guests order Sanguichitos from a window inside Perennial Artisan Ales.
Sarah Lovett
Guests order Sanguichitos from a window inside Perennial Artisan Ales.


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About The Author

Cheryl Baehr

Cheryl Baehr is the dining editor and restaurant critic for the Riverfront Times and an international woman of mystery. Follow her on the socials at @cherylabaehr
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