SCHENECTADY — I had a very good sandwich at Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, on upper Union Street at Keyes Avenue. The service was quick and the staff well-informed and friendly, making my lunch with Lisa a most pleasant experience.
OK, it’s not fancy. A note from the founder on their menu admits as much, and adds that he only put Gourmet in the name to satisfy his mom. It’s not even locally based, with headquarters in Champaign, Illinois, or unique, as there are two other local outlets, in Guilderland and Latham.
But the place was gleaming and spotless, the food was tasty and reasonably priced and they deliver within a limited area.
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
WHERE: 1625 Union St., Schenectady, 346-0030, www.jimmyjohns.com
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
HOW MUCH: $17 before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover. Parking on street or in lot on Keyes Avenue
The inexpensive menu has something to satisfy most. Standard subs at 8 inches are $5.75, giant size is $6.75. You can build your own or choose one of theirs, like the Bootlegger’s Club ($6.75) of roast beef, turkey breast, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. There are Slims ($4.25), subs without the lettuce and sauce. You can get a lettuce wrap instead of bread and a Kosher dill pickle.
Speaking of pickles, the neighboring institution that is Gershon’s deli has nothing to worry about. You go to Gershon’s or Jimmy John’s for completely different reasons, which should be obvious to anyone examining both.
Order online and have your food waiting for you. We stood at the counter and studied the menu while the nice employee gave us suggestions. We put in our orders and they were ready in just a few minutes.
The place was empty, and we passed up a choice of booths with wooden seats for stools at a counter with a view of Union Street.
I examined my sub, the Vito ($5.75), a mix of Genoa salami, provolone cheese, capicola ham, onion, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing. The first thing I noticed was how thin the salami was, and that there was a lot of shredded lettuce.
But I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted oregano in my first bite, and found there was just the right amount of dressing. The salami and ham were each distinctly present and were complemented by the flavor of the thinly sliced onion. The roll was freshly baked and its crust had a bit of crunch. It wasn’t a lot of meat, but there was enough flavor to justify the price.
“I would skip the lettuce next time,” Lisa observed, of the Beach Club ($6.75). Our sandwiches were pumped up with a confetti of finely shredded iceberg lettuce, standard chain sub-shop procedure.
She enjoyed the combination of thinly sliced turkey breast and Provolone, avocado spread, crunchy cucumber, lettuce, tomato and Hellman’s mayonnaise. “I like the flavor of the roll,” she commented, and said “That was very good,” when she finished.
Pushing the chips
The loquacious employee talked up Jimmy’s chips ($1.50), so we each ordered a bag and can report that they are better than average. They are thick and crisp, like kettle chips, but not so hard to chew. The barbecue-flavored chips are sweet, with more seasoning than you’d expect.
We wrapped it up by sharing a soft triple chocolate chip cookie ($1.50). It had white and semisweet chocolate chips and chunks but was nothing special, no better or worse than what you’d get in the market.
The tab for our food came to $17, including a 60-cent combo discount. Small sodas were $1.75 each.
To sum up: It’s not fancy, but Jimmy John’s has quick service, friendly and courteous employees and the food was pretty good for the price. I’d go again.