I shop at Trader Joe’s nearly every day, alternating between one of three different locations with a five mile radius of my home. One of the locations is the one in Santa Monica on Pico which happens to be across the street from Bite, a newly opened bakery and cafe.

Even though Bite has not “officially” opened, the doors are open, the counters are stocked with luscious baked items, and they are offering breakfast and lunch specials until 2:30 pm everyday. Think of this as your chance to get an “insider’s preview” to the grand opening of the restaurant, which looks like it will be a big hit once the general public finds this place.

In the former Violet space, the interior has been completely redone to reflect a homey cafe, with shelves of books on one wall, artwork on another, and a beautiful display counter of breakfast goodies like croissants, scones, and muffins. For dessert lovers, they also have huge home made “Oreo” patties, brownies, bourbon pecan cookies, double chocolate cookies, and a lime shortbread.

The daily menu is on a blackboard behind the pastry display and along with upscale comfort food like Mumma BITE’s Chicken Pot Pie with Farmer’s Market Micro Salad, accessible gourmet choices like the Toasted Crab Sandwich with Paprika Aioli on Sourdough with watercress Salad, and vegan / vegetarian options like a chickpea “Naandwich” a sandwich with Cilantro and Tomato Salad (Veg+Vegan), they also have daily specials all for under $15 each.

Today’s special was “Death By Pig” or a PLT, made with wonderful chunks of roasted pork, bacon, cracklings, lettuce, tomato, and melted cheese on a fabulous fresh bun slathered with a thin coasting of freshly herbed mayonnaise. The sandwich itself was very hearty (I only finished half of it and took the other half home), but it is served with a nice coleslaw of red and green cabbage and fries that were overcooked to the point of being potato crisps. I would definitely eat only the sandwich if I only had limited stomach space. Service was very friendly and although everyone feels still a bit unsure of what to do, their good intentions outweigh any confusion (like forgetting silverware is needed to eat the coleslaw side).

Since I was smart enough to save room to taste a cookie, I chose the lime shortbread. With lime zest in the crumbly buttery cookie and a light glaze, it was a nice way to finish my meal.

Bite is definitely worth a stop for breakfast or lunch (they currently do not offer a take out service), and eventually they will open for dinner as well. I was very glad to have died and gone to pig heaven today.