Which wich to open in carlsbad
Which wich is going to be opening a new store in the forum. Taking the spot of chauo. Has anyone been to one of these? Going to be tough with panera literally next door.
I've been to one in Austin, which was great, and the newly opened one in Hillcrest, which was good.
For those not familiar, the "gimmick" is that there are several bags at the front of the store, which have pre-printed check boxes indicating the meat/cheese/add-ons. The customer picks up a marker and chooses their own adventure.
It's fun. A great sandwich if you choose it right. At the very least, it's fun. The main complaint I've heard from others is that the standard sandwich size is just a tad too small. But, I think some of that has to do with the Submay/Quizno/Submarina "foot long" mentality. Because if you order with a decent combination of fixin's in mind, you can get a great sandwich.
As for being next door to Panera, I think they'll do just fine. If anything, I get a feeling that Panera will be the one hurting a little, if for no other reason than the fact that Panera is a bit of an ambiguous place as it is. The customer halfway wants to get a cup of coffee and a pastry, or they want a sandwich/salad combo. Either way, they have to wait since Panera tends to not be the quickest chain in town. Whereas with Which Wich one can get in, create their own meal, and get out pretty quick.
This spot will be open Tuesday. Supposedly giving free samples on Monday. I'm not 100% on that though. Curious to see what they are all about
Here's my take... (Sorry, but it's going to be long!)
Which Wich? How about none. Woeful WW 'Wich' fell figuratively flat.
That's why I avoid chains!
I was in the area waiting on Ritz Camera to open when I remembered hearing some good things about Which Wich opening nearby, so I stopped-in for a bite.
Playful and iconic Yellow and thick Black-bordered graphics abound throughout, screaming of a certain "Simpson's" aesthetic. Matt Groenig, were you involved?
The WW "Ordering System"
One is first confronted with their ordering system, which kept one staff member 100% occupied as puzzled customers listened in. It was like watching a docent at a contemporary art museum explaining a piece to a bunch of Doubting Thomases... ...or perhaps more like a stewardess demonstrating what would happen to you and your loved ones should you not be paying attention to the pre-flight instructions. (I'm thinking, Oh Miss, I just came in for a sandwich...) How is this going to work?
So after her tutorial on WW Wisdom I carefully pick out my test card as if seeking the one lucky card at a BINGO game. Seeing that they offered something called a Reuben, I figured I would bypass their SAT-like test and simply check-off next to the Reuben box. (#2 pencils, thank god; were mercifully replaced by WW-branded Sharpies... But as I'll soon find out later there's a downside to this too...)
Well apparently I didn't do that well at their SAT-lite test and was given a redo by their staff member/docent/test administrator/Wich. (The staff are all called Wiches; I wonder why...)
Apparently one can have a Reuben on only White or Wheat bread, as there's no Rye, says the WW of the West. (This time WW stands for, well, you know...)
It's a Long Test
Wow, this is quite a long test... Did I walk into the right store? I didn't even study! (Tip: Some earlier customer must have left behind a WW-branded cheat sheet. Look for them. On it it gives you a hint with the Reuben, as it says clearly on the cheat sheet that a Reuben has Sauerkraut and 1000 Island Dressing...)
So I patiently copy these answers down from my WW-branded cheat sheet and now I'm faced with a dilemma - they don't give you all the answers, just these measley 2, and there's a whole ton of questions!
I wanted to peek at the other customers' tests, but that didn't look like a good idea as it appeared that they may have studied even less than I!
A lot of trick questions too, such as what kind of cheese do you want? Is there even cheese on a Reuben? Oh great! On the very first question that doesn't have a cheat and I'm already stuck... So I imagine what a Reuben tastes and feels like and in my mind's eye I picture some Swiss cheese. I'm not sure of my answer and with the dastardly substitution of the WW-branded Sharpies instead of a #2 pencil I no longer can use the trick of marking it grey...
So Swiss it is. I'm sweating bullets here just because I wanted a little bite to eat! So on and on the test gauntlet goes, and a simple lunch now detours into thoughts of "Will I lose my job if I score poorly and have to sit through 'Wich-ish as a second Wanguage'?"
Nervously I hand in my test and fork over some cash which the WW Wich brazenly asked for. But on second thought I figured that was a lucky turn of events as I'll probably breeze through with a perfect 1600 even though I marked my test for White in the bread section of the test... (It's a trick question! There's no choice for Rye, but you already knew that...)
Well my $5 bribe worked it's charm and the WW Wich even prepared me a little lunch to go when I gave her my test!
And My Take
So was it worth it? Well my little prize lunch didn't even taste like a Reuben, with the Pastrami tasting more like lunch meat ham and all. And of course no Rye to be found anywhere... And it must have been the wierdest tasting 1000 Island dressing that I have ever tasted! It must have come from the wrong island!
Although I'll never know what island these WW Wiches hail from, somehow I suspect that their little piece of home could really use a good sandwich shop or two...
I walk by the Garnet & Cass St. location in PB frequently and so far have not seen that many customers in there. I have to wonder about the site selection as well. Scully's and EZ J's are just one block away. Poor Boy is two and a half blocks. A third sammy shop, Sweet & Savory Cafe, has opened in the now defunct Belgian Frie location right around the corner on Mission Blvd. All this competition without mentioning Zanzibar, Cafe 976, and Olde City Grill, which all offer sandwiches as well. The ownership is either very confident in their product, or just plain stupid.
Yeah would love to see that too. That'll be the day! It seems that North County is so timid of authentic ethnic food. There's so little in terms of ethnic food choices up here that one needs a regional view of the food world and a willingness to drive some distance for one's meals.
BTW I like to go to Sorrento European Bakery on Mira Mesa Blvd for my VN sandwiches. Still a drive from No. County but not bad if you happen to work in the area like I do.
My SO went there on thurs and she saved half of the which for me to try. It was ehh. She thought the layout of the place was confusing. Try to find the chips in the store, and it is not a big place. We walked by there yesterday and there were lots of people in the store with glazed over looks. I guess Panera is breathing a sigh of relief. On the other hand I did see the burger Counter sign in the old Sushi on the Rock space, but it still looks like no action on the inside however. What year are they planning on opening?