Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jimmy John's

Sandwiches the size of a child's head.

Today, Jerome and I were joined by our fifteen-year-old friend Danielle again. You may remember Danielle from such reviews as FiveGuys. Coincidentally, today’s restaurant, Jimmy John’s, is two doors down from Five Guys in the same mini mall. I fell in love with Jimmy John’s in my college days in East Lansing, Michigan and tooted a porcupine (not a real saying) when I found out one was opening (and subsequently opened) a few blocks from my house. Jerome fell in love with it too, and the wife tolerates it.

Our history lesson begins in 1983. Jimmy John’s namesake Jimmy John Liautaud just finished second-to-last in his preparatory school class. His father gave him a choice: he could join the military or start a business. So, in a garage in Charleston, Illinois, Jimmy John opened the first Jimmy John’s. To build up business, he offered free samples to local college kids. The company still uses this tactic today: I gobbled up all the free samples at my work when they arrived. Nowadays, there are over 1600 locations in 41 states. The 1000th location is up in Beaverton, Oregon.

Jimmy John’s is best known for its fresh ingredients and “So fast, you’ll freak” delivery. Their bread, baked fresh daily in house, is good enough to eat on its own. There are meat and cheese slicers right there at the assembly station. And, I’ve never experienced bad vegetables at Jimmy John’s. Their delivery really is incredibly fast. I’d say fifteen-minute deliveries are the average with less than 10 minutes fairly common.

Here's Jimmy John's on the outside.

Today, we chose to dine in at the West 7th location in Eugene, where there was no line at all at 2pm. I just realized I have not mentioned at all what Jimmy John’s serves. They subsist solely on serving calamari and escargot. Not really though. Jimmy John’s is a submarine sandwich shop. They serve sandwiches that are shaped like submarines that are missing their hatch and periscope and propellers and such. There might be a nuclear reactor if nuclear reactors are shaped like alfalfa sprouts falling off of the submarine.

Jerome’s favorite aspect about Jimmy John’s is that they serve “snow” lettuce, which is commonly referred to as iceberg lettuce in the Midwest. Jimmy John’s piles it on every one of their numbered sandwiches (1 through 17). There are plain submarines, which just have meat and/or cheese; regular submarines; club sandwiches, which have twice the meat and cheese of the regulars; and the J.J. Gargantuan. The Gargantuan features five types of meat, provolone (the only cheese they offer), mayo, Italian dressing, and various vegetables.

Typically, I order the Gargantuan at Jimmy John’s, which weighs in at 990 calories. But, I’m trying to trim off some of my pregnancy pounds (my wife is pregnant and contagious in her weight gain). Next month, we are heading to Las Vegas, Nevada, and I want to look good in a bikini. I ordered the more modest Turkey Tom (#4 on your scorecard). The Turkey Tom is only 520 calories and consists of turkey, tom(ato), cucumber slices, shredded lettuce, and Best Foods (also known as Hellman’s East of the Rockies) mayo. The kids, being horribly uncreative and failing to understand that a food blog should explore as many of a restaurant’s food options as possible, ordered the same thing.

The Turkey Tom: the sandwich all three of us uncreatively ordered.

Our tab looked like this:
Turkey Tom $4.95
Turkey Tom $4.95
Turkey Tom $4.95
Total $14.85

Danielle had never been to Jimmy John’s before, though she was familiar with the concept of submarine sandwiches. She was struck by the giant tubs of Best Foods, which served as the décor along with kitschy little placards with cute sayings like “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.” An unpleasant part of the décor on this visit was a worker mopping right next to our table. Nothing is quite as appetizing as mop water.

How We Rate It:
Danielle rated Jimmy John’s 20 out of 27 stars: “since they dance while working, don’t give you napkins, and want you to fall on the wet floors. But, I’d give the food 100%”

Jerome again refused to use the correct 27-star rating scale and instead went gave them the number of stars equal to “as much genes as is in my body, which is really, really really good.”

Jimmy John's provides service to people of all body types.

I give the overall Jimmy John’s dining experience 24 stars out of 27. I like that they are stingy with their napkins. I don’t like the décor or the mopping while I’m eating. I think in the future, I’ll just opt for having it delivered to my mouth. I know it won’t be an irresponsible decision, since this particular location has a cyclist make the deliveries.

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