Jimmy John's

This Illinois-based chain sub shop is looking for trouble on the 4100 block of University Way Northeast (aka "the Ave"). There's a Subway on the same block, Zilly's a couple blocks north, and S.U.B.S. just below Northeast 50th Street. Four sub purveyors within 10 blocks—it has all the makings of a sandwich war. Here's why Jimmy John's should win, or at least stay afloat: Their subs are bare-bones simple and very fresh, they make equally good nonsub sandwiches, and their pickles are great. I never thought I'd cheer standardization, but at JJ's, it makes sense. The basic menu lists seven 8-inch subs—sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, and lettuce included—at $4.25 apiece, 10 "club" sandwiches on whole wheat ($5.25), the $7.25 "Gargantuan" (a kitchen-sink mix of meats, provolone, and veggies), and whole kosher dills for 99 cents a pop. No muss, no fuss. (Personal faves: the excellent veggie sub, with avocado, provolone, and—God bless 'em—Hellman's mayo, and the Sorry Charlie, one of the simplest and best tuna sandwiches I've had in a while. There's also a BLT, a roast beef, a ham 'n' cheese, and so on.) JJ's has found itself a pretty crappy second-floor location—you don't know it's there unless you know it's there, which may be why its bright red dining room was empty on a recent visit—but something tells me the sheer number of UW students and the straightforward quality of the sandwiches will bail ol' Jimmy out. 4141 University Way N.E., 206-548-9500, www.jimmyjohns.com. UNIVERSITY DISTRICT

 
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