With their pop-up Sorelle, 2 sisters bring baked goods and sandwiches to Phoenix | Phoenix New Times

Meet the 2 sisters behind Sorelle, a pop-up bakery and sandwich shop in Phoenix

Two sisters are bringing a taste of their Italian heritage and Long Island childhood to Phoenix.
Sisters Melissa and Samantha Miola debuted their bakery and deli concept, Sorelle, in 2022.
Sisters Melissa and Samantha Miola debuted their bakery and deli concept, Sorelle, in 2022. Sorelle
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Tapping into their Italian roots and memories from a Long Island childhood, sisters Melissa and Samantha Miola created their own bakery and sandwich shop. Sorelle made its debut at the Downtown Phoenix Farmer's Market in August 2022.

"We always grew up with big holiday meals and food has always been something to nurture. It's a love language," Melissa says. "And as Samantha and I got older, we loved cooking together and someday we knew we would like to have a restaurant."

Their menu revolves around an assortment of sandwiches and baked goods. There is usually one vegetarian sandwich and a meat sandwich. In June, the sisters offered a meatball hero and an eggplant and portobello sandwich.

Baked goods in June included an orange creamsicle black and white cookie, pistachio rose tart and a semolina and ricotta brownie. The menu rotates and price points for sandwiches are between $14 and $15. The baked goods cost up to $8.

The sisters love that their offerings alter monthly and they try to get their ingredients from local vendors.

"We are very conscious of changing seasons. So we try to keep our menu seasonal and informed by what's going on in the world," Samantha says.
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Sandwich selections change monthly at Sorelle.

Nostalgia on the menu

They also had a chance to work with local chef Donald Hawk of the highly acclaimed Melrose restaurant Valentine.

"From the time we started the market in August 2022, Donny wanted to do a collaboration with us. We finally were able to do it on April 29. Not only did we get to collaborate with Donny, but pastry chef Crystal Cass," Melissa says.

On the menu was a focaccia fried bologna sandwich with marbled egg, pimento cheese spread, marinated iceberg lettuce and bread and butter pickles. With Cass, they made a honey rosemary snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich with goat cheese ice cream.

"It was such a blast having them at the market and getting to cook with Donny. We were really able to share both our talents and create a product that was true to both of our styles. We hope to do more collabs in the future when possible," Melissa says.

They also strive to make the "sentimental and nostalgic foods that we grew up loving," Melissa says. The sisters work to put their own spin on classic items they ate on the East Coast and bring them to Arizona.

Cooking from those memories and experimenting with modern twists is the trial-and-error technique they used with their black-and-white cookies.

"The black-and-white cookie is a basically big cakey vanilla cookie with a chocolate icing side and a vanilla side," Samantha says. In one of their experiments, they added real vanilla and lemon instead of chocolate.

"Usually these cookies are really sweet," Samantha says, "and we really brought down the sweetness and turned up the natural side of the beautiful flavors."

Recently, they've taken the evolution of the black-and-white cookie even further by adding orange juice and zest.

"It tastes just like a creamsicle and we don't use any artificial flavoring," Samantha says.

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Sorelle offers a variety of sandwiches and desserts inspired by East Coast classics.

How Sorelle got started

The sisters hadn't always intended to come together to create a sandwich shop and bakery. In college, Samantha studied to become a dietician and Melissa wanted to become a therapist.

After Melissa graduated with her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University, she decided to change paths and attend Arizona Culinary Institute. She graduated in 2017 and went to work for Kevin Binkley at Cafe Bink. She also did a stint at Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc in California for two years and then worked at Binkley's.

"I learned so much during my three years with Binkley's," Melissa says.

While Melissa was immersed in culinary pursuits, Samantha was finishing up her bachelor's degree in 2016 and moved to Chicago. She received her master's degree in dietetics in 2018 and established her own practice.

"It became evident early on that I was struggling and being a dietician was not all that I dreamed," Samantha says. To unwind from a day's work, she cooked meals every night and began to wonder if she could do so for other people. That thought served as an impetus to start her own meal prep business in Chicago which she continued through 2021.

When Samantha decided to move back to Arizona that year, both sisters knew it was time to start their business. Prior to the move, they used downtime during the pandemic to brainstorm and test recipes. By the time they were both in Arizona, they knew exactly what items they wanted to make and sell. They made plans to establish their business and started frequenting the farmers markets to scope out the competition.

When they applied to become vendors at the farmers markets in uptown and downtown Phoenix and in Gilbert, they expected to start quickly. Instead, they had to wait.

"These spots are hard to come by and you gotta be on top of it," Melissa says.

They waited their turn and debuted at the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market in August 2022. Since then, Sorelle has gained its first regulars.

"That felt like a huge moment," Melissa says. "It certainly gives us the confidence that we are doing something right."

During the summer, the sisters are taking a break from the market but are taking preorders for pick up at Dialog every Saturday through August. Their pastries are also available around town at Dialog, Strawberry Coffee Bus and Moxie Coffee Co.

They're also hosting a breakfast pop-up on Roosevelt Row at Dialog on Saturday, July 8 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. with a menu of sandwiches and sausage breakfast bowls. They also plan to set up at Teddy’s Preserve from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday, August 4.

The sisters hope that within the next five years, they're able to open a brick and mortar. But for now, they're focusing on building their name and brand through pop-up events and farmers markets, which they plan to return to on Labor Day weekend.
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