Sandwiches that don't rise above the rest
Special to The Seattle Times
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays.
141 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue; 425-646-9500.
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
Web site: www.jimmyjohns.com
No liquor license / major credit cards / no obstacles to access (the Seattle location is on the second floor, but an elevator is readily available).
Rating: Not recommended.
Jimmy John's, an Illinois-based chain that recently opened a location on the Ave and one in Bellevue, specializes in inexpensive subs. Everything at Jimmy John's is sliced daily. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate into a better-tasting sandwich.
It's not that Jimmy John's sandwiches are bad, they're just boring. I sat and ate my sandwich. When I was done, I was full. That's about as much as I can say about it — and this was a sandwich with two kinds of cured meat and allegedly hot peppers.
Perhaps the gimmick at Jimmy John's is the price; 8-inch subs are $4.25, or $5.25 for a "club" version with double the meat and cheese.
Other than the sandwiches I tried (see below), there's a tuna, a veggie and lunch meats in various combinations, including an overstuffed "gargantuan" sandwich for an extra couple of bucks.
As you'd expect from a chain, the Ave and Bellevue locations are essentially identical, other than the size (the Ave venue is larger). Your table at Jimmy John's may feature a poster with sappy motivational sayings. Or you could just get bad jokes, like the neon sign that reads "free smells."
You order your sandwich at the counter and they build it with admirable efficiency — it's quite likely it will be done by the time you're finished paying.
The U District has plenty of fast, cheap options. For that matter, it also has Quizno's and Subway. It's hard to see how Jimmy John's offers anything over either of them.
Except maybe free smells.
Vito: Served on fluffy and bland fresh-baked French bread, the Vito has sliced salami, coppa, lettuce, tomato and vinaigrette, with optional pickled hot red peppers. I took the peppers (which are not actually very hot), and it's a good thing, because they were the only thing in the sandwich with any flavor other than the too-sweet Italian dressing.
Club Lulu: The club features ultra-thin slices of turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo. The turkey essentially tasted like salt and the bacon strips were slightly soggy. "Club" sandwiches are more generously stuffed versions of the regular subs unless you specify seven-grain bread, which you should: It's sliced too thick, but the nutty whole-wheatiness of it makes it a lot more flavorful than the French.
Chocolate chunk cookie: This cookie is made with real butter and big chocolate chunks, and then it sits around in a cellophane bag until it tastes stale.
Itemized bill, meal for two
Club Lulu $5.25
Tim's chips $.99
Chocolate-chunk cookie $1.50
Matthew Amster-Burton: firstname.lastname@example.org
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