Back to Reviews

Sandwich city

Add the franchise with two first names to your lunch rotation

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

ANNOUNCER: Not too long ago Quiznos Sub Shop arrived on the scene and folks wondered if they really needed another sandwich shop (Subway had already dominated the local chain scene). Then Panera came to town, and again folks wondered — why? Earlier this year, in a not-so-convenient space, Jimmy Johns threw their name into the ring bringing one more sandwich shop to the area. Overkill? It seemed so … until the boys finally paid a visit.

JASON: I admit I thought another sandwich shop sounded like the most stupid idea. Before our economy took a header I wondered why we needed more tuna on a hoagie. If Subway and Quiznos were already mass-producing sandwiches, how could Jimmy Johns expect to make enough money to survive? What would happen to the established sandwich joints with a new player in town? Then I visited Jimmy Johns, took one bite of their sandwich, and gave them a hug. 

JAKE: Jimmy John Liautaud opened his first sandwich joint at the age of 19 in 1983. He struggled those first few years making sandwiches on a borrowed meat slicer and serving pop without ice (he couldn’t afford an ice machine). But operating in Illinois, Jimmy John hit the streets offering free sandwiches to college students, building his reputation one person at a time. Fast-forward to 2008 and 690 Jimmy Johns stores now dot the country. Their Web site sums things up like this: “Bread is baked in-house everyday and served fresh. Meat and veggies are sliced fresh in-house everyday. The turkey is real turkey, the roast beef is real roast beef — no additives, no vegetable-based fillers, no fake stuff. Nothing is delivered pre-sliced. Real Hellmann’s mayo, real Grey Poupon, real olive oil and red wine vinegar — it’s the best of the best.”

JASON: Fast and fresh is right — it is what sets them apart. You order at the counter and then one to three folks at a long breadboard build your sandwich almost as fast as it takes to walk from the order desk to the pickup counter. They don’t waste any time, nor are they probably operating at a profit-minded efficiency. I’ve visited four times and often the employees outnumber the customers. I appreciate fast but how long can they afford to operate like that?

JAKE: Their location is tough — sandwiched (sorry) in the parking lot with Red Robin and Verizon outside the Tacoma Mall. Sure there are plenty of draws to the area, however traffic can be unyielding. I hesitate to think about driving through that harrowing traffic and packed parking lot just to get a sandwich.

JASON: Beyond fast, Jimmy Johns is fresh — in fact, the crusty French bread far exceeds the quality of the competition. The sandwiches at Jimmy Johns, although fast, taste close to homemade. And it’s the bread, I believe that makes the difference — it is the right combination of chewy and crusty.

JAKE: The sandwich choices don’t pave any new ground, but the slices of meat and vegetables taste crisper, more flavorful, and less processed than the competition. Don’t get us wrong — we aren’t comparing Jimmy Johns to the MSM Deli on Sixth Avenue, or most of the sandwiches that made the Volcano’s top 21 list in August, but for a chain, this is the best.

JASON: All the sandwiches are good but I especially enjoyed the BLT, the Big John (roast beef and tomato) and the Vito (salami, capicola, provolone, lettuce, tomato and vinaigrette).

Jimmy Johns

4027 Tacoma Mall Blvd., Tacoma, 253.471.3000

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily.

Scene: Light and airy inside with low and high seats. Nothing fancy, basic with a clean feel.

Cuisine: It’s all sandwiches, no salads or breakfast items, no toys for the kids, nothing but sandwiches (and chips) on French bread or whole wheat.

Drinkies: Soda and such


Slim ham and cheese >> $3.85

Totally Tuna >> $4.85

Vegetarian >> $4.85

Gourmet smoked ham club >> $5.85

Read next close


Squeak and Squawk

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search