The Dish List: Which Wich

Phuc Pham | New University

Sandwiches: probably the one type of food that let’s you be as creative as you want. Do you want to combine avocados and peanut butter? You can, just like my best friend’s mom does. I mean, if you really think about it, it’s strange that someone thought to put thin slices of meat onto pieces of bread.

If you frequent the Albertson’s shopping center here in Irvine, you may or may not have noticed the recently opened sandwich eatery dubbed Which Wich. Tucked quietly in the corner, right next to Albertsons and just one door down from Gina’s Pizza, Which Wich takes its stand against all other run of the mill sandwich chains (cough, Subway) with their ingenious ordering system.

Gone are the days of awkwardly standing on your tip-toes so you could dictate to the sandwich crafter what you want on your sandwich from the other side of the glass barrier. At Which Wich, customers choose a bag that denotes what type of filling you want. Ten different bags make up ten different choices that include a vegetarian and a breakfast option, along with the quintessential deli meats. Once you’ve decided what filling you want, just grab a bag and a red sharpie and mark it up!

Which Wich offers a dizzying array of choices, but refrains from being too overwhelming with its nice breakdown of toppings that can go on your sandwich organized neatly onto the slim paper bag.    Much like the simple paper bag that you use to order your sandwich, Which Wich’s interior is clean and industrial, but with a strong sense that it’s an eatery that keeps college students in mind – a quality that’s all too rare in Irvine.

When you walk into Which Wich, the employees happily greet you with a “Welcome to Which Wich, is this your first time here?” New customers unfamiliar with the Which Wich way tend to walk in with a befuddled look, unfamiliar with the ordering system, but employees enthusiastically walk novice Which Wicher’s through their sandwich building, giving them helpful step by step instructions.

When I visited Which Wich, I went for the Grinder, which falls under the Italian category. Filled with Salami, Capicola, and Pepperoni placed between two slices of fresh white bread, I decked out my sandwich with my favorite toppings that I would have never expected to find in a franchised sandwich shop. Spicy Mayo, Olives, Spicy Mustard, and Red Onions topped my sandwich and I was truly thankful for the sharpie and paper bag ordering system. It spared me from the weird looks that I usually get from sandwich crafters at other places.

For about $5.50 I got a seven-inch sandwich filled with fresh cuts of meat and a generous amount of toppings. The spicy mayo that I mentioned earlier added a perfect kick to the sandwich with its creamy consistency. It was so good that I even ordered it on a buffalo chicken sandwich the next time I went back. See, you can do weird things with sandwiches.

However, it did take a while to get my meal, even when there were only two orders ahead of me. Perhaps they’re just taking a little time to get on their feet.

Aside from creating seven, ten and a half, or 14 inch “super” sandwiches, you can also choose to make it into a “bowl” option with your filling selection placed over a bed of fresh lettuce. Of course, you can also choose between having your sandwich toasted or not.

I say go for toasted if you order a chicken sandwich, but stick with untoasted if you’re going for meats that are traditionally considered cold cuts. But the spicy mayo is good either way.

All in all, Which Wich gives students an inexpensive but perfectly filling lunch or dinner alternative, complete with a student friendly atmosphere. Although it takes a little longer to get your sandwich than other popular sandwich eateries, the friendly employees, gracious customer service, and tasty sandwiches make up for the wait. When you finish your meal, it’s encouraged that you grab a sharpie and mark up your bag with a creative doodle fueled by your self-created sandwich.