(Florence, SC) This is the second in what we’ll call our Sandwich Series. It’s a look, prompted by you the readers of PeeDeeFoodie.com, at local sandwich shops — the good, the bad and (possibly) the ugly. This week it’s Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches on West Palmetto in Florence.
For a bit of history, we consulted the ubiquitous Wikipedia.com. To paraphrase that source, Jimmy John’s is a franchised sandwich restaurant, headquartered in Champaign, IL and owned by Jimmy John Liautaud. The restaurant was founded in 1983 and has since grown to over 1,000 stores. Growth has been somewhat focused on college towns. The first Jimmy John’s opened in a garage in Charleston (Illinois, that is) in 1983 with used equipment and no menu or outdoor advertisement, simply selling four types of sandwiches and 25-cent Coca-Colas. After giving samples out around town, Jimmy John’s business began to thrive. He especially catered to college students at Eastern Illinois University; and part of that success came from his willingness to deliver to dorms, which many other local establishments did not do. Brave man, that Jimmy John. After two friends backed out as managers, he ran the store himself for the first few years, working seven days a week from open to close. Jimmy John’s now offers 25 different sandwiches and has over 1000 stores in 38 states. Jimmy John’s has consistently opened almost 200 units per year for the last three years, with an additional 1,500 or so units in the pipeline. About 95% of the current restaurants are franchise-owned.
To prepare for this post and our review, we asked our Twitter and Facebook friends to comment. Here’s a sampling of the specific feedback we received:
Doreen said “We love Jimmy Johns. In our opinion they have the best subs in town!”
Joshua told us, “eh … Jersey Mike’s is so much better! I don’t mind driving to Sumter for something that good!”
Susan just states, “good sandwiches”
Rita zeroed in on one aspect that she likes, “love the toasted bread”
Becky tell us, “Good food but expensive for sub sandwich. May I add if they didn’t have 30 people behind the counter on each shift the prices of sandwiches could probably come down. At lunch one day I counted 18 people total!”
Heather later “Agreed with Becky”
John finds better alternatives: “I wasn’t that impressed with the food. I’d rather have Subs Plus or Firehouse Subs.”
Melissa states that Jimmy John’s has “Average subs” and that “Subs Plus has the best subs!”
Jimmy John's Italian Night Club(R)
So your comments were mixed and we must say that we agree. Jimmy John’s prides itself on being fast in its delivery service — we’ll add fast at the counter and drive-thru, as well. Fast doesn’t always equal value, however.
We like the subs themselves and we like the selection
from the regular 8″ subs and Plain Slims® to the the JJ Unwich®. The fresh, cold lettuce crunch and the soft sub rolls combine to add that something that only a fresh-made sandwich can deliver. The Italian Night Club©
(pictured left) is a personal favorite.
We also like the fact that our local Jimmy John’s is convenient when in the Downtown area. On-the-go doesn’t have to mean burger and fries, with Jimmy John’s and similar fresh sandwich shops in the area.
Taken together, however, one other factor is still … well, a factor. Price. This is not unique to Jimmy John’s however, as price was a concern we discussed Groucho’s Deli
in a previous post
. These days, great value means great food, great service and
great price. Price is reasonable, but not a deal. For that reason, we can’t give it our highest “three-gas-pump”
We will give it a “two-gas-pump” rating
however, because of the speed of delivery
, the freshness of the ingredients
and the friendliness of the staff
. It’s worth crossing town, at least once or twice, to give Jimmy John’s a try.
Category: Restaurant Reviews