Drive-Thru: Jimmy John’s | An Ode to the Cold Sandwich

While I have always appreciated what a cold sandwich stands for, a week ago I would have told you that cold sandwiches are inherently not good. Melted cheese provides a necessary gooey element to most sandwiches, balancing the crispiness of toasted bread and the crunch of fresh lettuce. When Emory Village’s Jimmy John’s finally opened its doors in early January, I was initially skeptical of its lack of Subway’s menagerie of sauces and Dave’s Cosmic Subs’ array of distinctive toppings.

My initial cynicism mirrors how our culture has devolved. Gone are the days of the humble childhood sandwich, the type that sat reassuringly in the lunch box your mother packed for you, chilled under the elementary school air conditioner, the firmness of the Kraft Single contrasting the crispness of the lettuce. Culture is inherently monolithic, and the ads that plague our streets and Spotify dashboards conditioned us to rebel against minimalism and embrace the average fast food chain’s infinite, maltodextrin-saturated options. The plethora of sauces ubiquitous in most sandwiches only obfuscates the essence of a sandwich with vibrant hits of Chipotle Mayonnaise.

When the sandwich gods beckon, Jimmy John’s stands its ground and declares “Here I am!”

Jimmy John’s offerings embrace their existence as sandwiches more than anything else on the mainstream market, and I am the biggest of fools for shunning it until now.

I ordered the 8-inch vegetarian sub and, lo and behold, it arrived intact at my doorstep in 20 minutes. The sandwich contained avocado mash, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise. With one bite, my conception of an ideal sandwich dissipated. With another bite, fond childhood memories flooded back. Though the sandwich was only pretty good, its positive attributesit outshone its flaws, including the arguably careless distribution of the avocado mash. The tartness of the tomatoes;, the sweet starchiness of the bread as it melted in my mouth;, the pliability of the provolone cheese; and the refreshing crispness of the lettuce — all these flavors melded together into a muted fireworks display. What brought the sandwich home was the sparing spread of mayonnaise — just enough to accentuate the savory flavor of the provolone without overshadowing the quiet harmony of the vegetables with a cloying, ovoid egg taste.

But if one gave were to give an offering to the sandwich gods, the offering would have to be of the finest flour. Unfortunately, this is where Jimmy John’s falls short. Though each ingredient in the sandwich stands on its own, the poor quality of said ingredients sticks out when they are not doused in ranch like a conventional fast-food restaurant. The toughness of the bread made the sandwich difficult to bite, the tomatoes were more sour than they should have been and — as mentioned earlier — the measly amount of avocado mash had almost been scraped on. Though we must praise Jimmy John’s for the risk-taking behind its simple concept, the chain fails to compensate for its lack of additives with better ingredients.

That being said, at just $6.51 including delivery, a Jimmy John’s sandwich might be the most viable option for the student whose hunger is only equalled by their fiscal constraints.

3/5 stars

 

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