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Good Food!

Jimmy John's — THAT's an Italian — But a Club is NOT a Club Is a Club

Restaurant: Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
Cuisines: Sandwiches
Location: 913 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale
Price Range: $0.99–$7.25
Grade: B — See Foodie Report

I had noticed Jimmy John's several times driving by the corner of 900 East and Fort Union, but always thought it was a delivery station for the nearby location of The Pie. (The JJ and the Pi symbol look pretty similar from a distance.) It wasn't until I was stuck at the light going a different direction that I realized it was something altogether different. So I went in, because I consider it my mission in life to try every sandwich shop I find. When I pulled up, I was surprised that they only had that slice of the building for their restaurant, which left me wondering about how they would make it with so little seating.

Inside, the dιcor was cool — lots of signage with clever sayings and slogans — all custom for Jimmy John's. Which told me that it was part of a chain, but the only location in Utah, so I didn't feel so bad.

For example, on their takeout menu, there's a little blurb in the corner that says, "Established in Charleston, IL, in 1983  to add to students GPA and general dating ability."

The booths were simple, but many of them needed to be wiped down. A sandwich place that served sandwiches with vinegar and oil should be far more on top of that than they were on that particular day. Wiping off the crumbs does not take care of the residual oil.

They were playing music a little too loud, which made it hard to hear the guy who took my order. He was a high-energy type, but he seemed more eager to get my order through than to answer questions about the food. In the end, I was left a little frustrated but, before I even looked down to choose a bag of chips, my sandwich was done. They say that they make sandwiches freaky fast — and they were right.

I paid at the counter, then walked from table to table, looking for one that wasn't oily. Finally, I decided on one with less oil than the rest, and wiped it down with paper napkins to keep from getting it on the cuffs of my shirt.

Plating was nonexistent. They handed me a sandwich wrapped in paper, taped shut and marked as no onions. Not even a tray for my bag of chips and drink cup.

The sandwich, though, was excellent. I got one of their versions of an Italian sub, the Italian Night Club, on a French-bread roll that they baked there on site. It has Genoa salami, capicola, smoke ham and provolone cheese. And it was good.  There was no shortage of meat or cheese — which so many sandwich shops are guilty of nowadays — and the mix of flavors was very nice.

First words out of my mouth: "Ah. Now that's an Italian."

They also have their own brand of chips, which included my favorite: jalapeno. And they were very good, a bit thicker, and well seasoned, somewhat similar to Schlotzky's chips, but heartier.

The size of the sandwich and the amount of goodies in it was about right, leaving me with that life-is-good feeling that I love so much when my stomach is full without requiring that I be rolled out in a wheelbarrow.

As I ate, I saw that they have a healthy business in takeout, which made me feel like they are not in danger of suffering from their limited table space.

Most negative thing about the experience was the way my order was taken — just shoving me through without any willingness to answer a question, even when I said I had never been there before — and how loud the music was playing. I love loud music — and I loved what they were playing — but too much is too much.

On my second visit, I went there during lunch rush, and the place was packed. They were still moving people through at unbelievable speeds, but the guy at the register was really going out of the way to greet people as they entered, and speak to people waiting in line, even four or five people back. And he did it without slowing the pace with the customer at the front of the line.  Impressive.

Since I was waiting in line, I looked around and was pleased to see that the tables were almost all clean (the ones that weren't full), and people were out and giving them a serious wipe down almost immediately when patrons left. Either they had learned something in the few weeks since I had been there before, or they had adjusted some employee attitudes.  And the music wasn't too loud.  All the voices of those in the place created more than enough background noise for any meal.

Although I really loved the Italian Night Club, I wanted to try something different, so I ordered the Billy Club, which has roast beef, ham, turkey and provolone on their French sub roll. Again, it was freaky fast, my sandwich ready before I had even picked up my jalapeno chips.

When I sat down (finding a place much more easily this time than last, despite how busy they were), I was only one bite into the sandwich when I was disappointed: it was unbelievably bland. I couldn't get much of a feel for the provolone, and I certainly couldn't taste any of the smokiness in the ham that I had so enjoyed on the Italian. Finally, three or four bites into it, I opened up the sandwich to see that there was no ham on it. There also wasn't any cheese. I looked up at the menu, wondering if I had misread it, then saw that they have a second club sandwich on the menu: the Bootlegger Club. And that was what I had in front of me. They had made me the wrong sandwich! Very disappointing, indeed.

Since I was so far into the sandwich, I didn't go up to point out the error to the staff. They were, after all, really busy. But it was hardly something to engender confidence in a restaurant when, first, they weren't keeping things clean; second, they serve the wrong menu item.


FoodUtah.com Foodie Report

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Thanks for The feedback on our restaurant. It is nice to hear a little honest feedback so we know from a consumers point of view where improvement is needed. We will make sure to discuss. — Jimmy John's Fort Union

     food·ie (fd)
     noun. Slang.  A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.