WHICH WICH - 928 Main Street

Posted by The LunchMen Thursday, April 22, 2010

Over the past several years, advances in technology and the accessibility of media have led to a remarkable democratization of information for today’s consumer. It comes as no surprise then that a similar revolution is taking place in the food services industry. I’m talking, of course, about Which Wich.

Which Wich serves all sorts of different sandwiches (or “wiches”) for standard Columbia prices, along with chips and cookies. However, what makes this place noteworthy is that the customer designs their sandwich completely. You walk in, grab a pen, and fill out a menu card with what you want on your “wich," picking everything from the bread to the meat to the condiments to the sauce(s).

Basically, what Subway started, Which Wich has Emirel-ed up another notch. This is a sandwich shop, through and through, but at Which Wich you are the chef. Sounds simple, right? Well my friends, it can get pretty hairy if you’re not careful. Can we really be trusted with this much say in what goes on our sandwiches? Were restaurants not designed to take some of this power out of our Prometheus-like grasp and place it in the more responsible hands of our local entrepreneurs? For example, if given the option of ranch or 1000 island on my sandwich, what – besides my own willpower, which is sort of like having a blind man with a cane show up to a whoop-ass contest – is to stop me from drowning my entrĂ©e in both? When given this much latitude, would I use it for good, or end up destroying myself? Today, Knasty and I went to find out.

We showed up well after 1pm, thus avoiding the lunch crowd that normally fills the place to the brim (Note – given WW’s proximity to campus, this may have been a chronological error in judgment, as our “scenery” was noticeably depleted and Knasty lamented on the considerable lack of co-ed talent for his viewing pleasure). There was no line, so I casually looked over my options on the menu cards. Turkey, roast beef, chicken, or all of the above? Peanut Butter and Banana (known as “The Elvis”)? Powdered Sugar and Ham (known as the “Monte Christo”)? It was like a sensory overload – I couldn’t make a decision. Finally, out of desperation to have the whole thing be done with, I opted for their black bean patty.

Really? Black Bean Patty? That’s what I chose? This is the crap I’m talking about – I had so much to pick from, I spent so much time weighing my options, that I experienced classic paralysis by analysis and ended up choosing something that I would never in my right mind select. Luckily, the Black bean patty basically tastes like a whopper jr. patty from burger king, so everything turned out okay. However, I am a little scared to think what I’ll come up with next time.

In all seriousness, WW makes a really solid meal. The portions are perfect (7 inch sub rolls in white or wheat) and the staff does a great job of stuffing what is often an absurd amount of toppings into a tightly packed sandwich. Then, they use these special toaster ovens to get it to you warm and crispy. I have tried several variations of meats and veggies and have always been pleased. In fact, Tank claims (though I don’t believe it) to have tried over 40 different sandwiches in the short time that this place has been open. However, if anyone can back up to such a bold statement, its him.

Here is an insider's tip for the next time you go – opt for the homemade chips. While they have all the usual chip suspects (baked lays, regular, Doritos, etc.) WW also offers homemade “Wich Chips” that are lightly seasoned with black pepper. They are thicker than normal potato chips, feature ridges, and are easily the best offered in town. A perfect compliment to any sandwich.

Really there are just two criticisms, and they are minor. First, the place looks like the inside of an apple computer. If you’ve never been there, this probably makes no sense, but if you have then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Second, it is no more than 55 degrees inside this place at any given time. This is a welcome characteristic to some lunchmen like Tank, who I may rename the Polar Bear, but for normal warm blooded patrons like Rabbit, its borderline unbearable. Had there been seating available outside, I’d have taken advantage in a heartbeat.

All in all, this is a really sound choice and welcome addition to the South Main area. If you get a wich, chips and a drink you’re looking at about 8 bucks total, which compares favorably to most places in town. And, if you go at the right time, there’s plenty to see while you eat.



  1. Tank Says:
  2. I don't care if it is a chain, Which Wich is awesome. As far as Main Street is concerned (and I am including campus through N. Main Street), Which Wich is behind only the Hunter Gather and Mac's on Main as my preferred lunch destination. God bless them and their choices. I've been 30 times and I have yet to have the same sandwich.

    Rabbit, you need to actually eat meat sometime. That cold you are feeling in Which Wich is likely caused by your anemia. I am reminded of South Park episode 605, "Fun with Veal." Stan learns an important lesson in the end. Your homework for the weekend is to watch it at http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/605/.

    - Tank

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. I was a major league hater on Which Wich... until I discovered the Bac-Hammon. Pork lovers rejoice. Watching that thinly sliced ham adorned with bacon crumbles roll out of Which Wich's eye level oven is nothing short of sensual. Add pepperjack cheese, deli mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, jalepenos, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano... and you've got yourself a serious sandwich with a "jam-up" (as my grandfather used to say) flavor profile (as my grandfather definitely never said).

    - Publican

  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. This blog makes me want to print it, just so I can burn it… I was and still am a major league hater of Which-Wich as a purveyor of “Superior Sandwiches” and oh yes… I have traveled the menu. From the Cuban to the Shrimp Po’Boy to the Turkey Pastrami to the Meatloaf and back to the Crab Salad (put it on the menu, be ready to serve it), I have sampled it all. I would be lying if I said that this submarine sandwich does not beat out Subway and Quizno’s. Therefore, perhaps the Wich means to say they have the superior sandwich in the “submarine sandwiches under 5 dollars” division. Even though both the Wich and Jimmy John’s sandwiches are more expensive, you both can share the ribbon and view from the top. (If we were to expand this division to include all places serving sandwiches (meat between starch), I would not be comfortable in definitively assessing such a gastric event and feel that Roly-Poly, Pita Pit, and even hot dog places would need to be ranked.)
    While the Wich did well to place in the 5-dollar foot long arms race aka the junior guppy division, it falls desperately short of qualifying in the Luxury Sandwich Chain Division. Littered with such titans of the gastric industry as Larry’s Giant Subs, Substation II, and Jersey Mike’s, the Wich stands no chance.
    In closing, I will give a shout out to the hot peppers mix, ability to see my customization options, and the ability to draw funny pictures or friend’s phone numbers on the back of your bag for everyone else in line’s amusement. However, I will not be giving any cred to the terrible aluminum wrapped sandwich.

  7. teresa bowen Says:
  8. Such a nice post! I really love cooking and I want to try this recipe that you've post! It's seems so interesting!

    Thank you for sharing this blog!

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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.