We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanna Lynn Milazzo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shanna Lynn, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When I was 23 I showed up to my shift as cocktail waitress too early so I decided to get a tattoo on my wrist to waste time, because at 23 that seemed like a logical decision. It was in this little shop on 6th ave in SoHo & I couldnt decide between the word chance or risk, they both seemed to have the same meaning to me. I settled on chance bc it has a more positive feel to it. I’ve always left my life to chance which in itself it a huge risk. I left New York at 25 and moved to Los Angeles, I maybe knew 2 people. I knew I wanted to cook professionally, I grew up on a stage as a dancer back home, I felt Los Angeles housed all the feels I was looking to feel. I knew it was risky to start a career in which I was never fully educated in but I’m also aware of the determination & discipline I have, and thats what drove me then and still drives me now. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2011 I started a small pop up in the back of one my favorite dive bars on Fairfax called The Dime . I cooked out the kitchen 2 nights a week and changed the menu weekly. Pop Ups werent a huge thing then and I didnt really have a clue what I was doing. I had two friends join me in cooking and we carved out a little following. Eventually I ran my little pop up alone and landed some small catering jobs for a production company, all the while waitressing 4 nights a week. I had no one to hold me accountable for my work except me & I experienced a self discipline I hadnt known before. Eventually one of the chefs I waitressed for left to run her own kitchen in North Hollywood and a few months down the road contacted me to replace her as she was moving up. That was a huge deal for me, I had never been in a professional kitchen as chef or even a cook before. It was extremely overwhelming & I blinked back tears most days. Conquering this kitchen was a monumentos feat. We’d have 300 covers and a wedding all at the same time, mastering my expo line felt incredible. I eventually was asked to reopen an old favorite gastropub on LA Cienega as head chef which challenged and taught me a completely different side to being a chef. The technical, number, office side of everything. The next 2 years of my life was intense. I owned that kitchen and I put all of myself into. Once I realized I could handle all aspects of my role as chef I knew I needed a little more than what I was currently doing. I had an opportunity present itself to me and I leaped at it, opening my very own business. I always wanted a quaint little sandwich shop and it 2015 I got it. I mirrored my menu after favorite delis I’d grown up going to back home in Queens, naming some items after family members & recreating childhood favorites. I pushed myself further than ever before, and grew into my role as an owner. After failing miserably I closed up shop and went back to running kitchens. Those next 3 years I learned a lot about myself. I was a business owner one week and a Sous chef, again, the next, I chose to keep my head held high and learn everything I could from any position I was in. When the pandemic hit my job went with it & I found myself recreating all kinds of family recipes. I have a New York Italian heritage & grew up in the era of heroes. I started slinging my favorite Italian sandwiches out fo my apartment. I reopened my Instagram page that helped run my sandwich shop, and so far so good. I have been popping up around Los Angeles from lunch bags in Beverly Hill Hotels gift shops to standing outside of markets and breweries on the East side. I’m honored and humbled that my customers new and old have welcomed me and my product into their homes and communities.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When we were open.. I’d head to Palm Springs and spend two days floating in the pool at the ACE sipping on pina coladas. A glass of wine on the rooftop at Perch while the sun is setting Dinner at Bar Ama or Terroni A nice float on the rooftop pool at the standard downtown Tacos at Taco Leo for the best Pastor Head to Mammoth and spend a weekend in the snow Pack some lunch and spend the day on the beach in Malibu

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My loving mom, family, friends & supportive boyfriend

Instagram: Picnicsandwich

Image Credits
Charles Volkens Ishonelle Chin Richardson GoldLine LA Chris Olsefsky

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