Edible Briefs – Good Eats TT Sandwich

About a year ago, a small sandwich shop opened on South Street between Halekauila and Queen, just ma’uka of the Motor Imports Toyota service lot. It lingered for maybe a month or two, but then shut down. Velcro went by and said it was good, but after looking at their somewhat daunting assembly-line-instruction menu, I never made it over before they locked their doors. A couple of months ago after some interior renovation, they reopened. Their website appeared to be the same, but the menu was more streamlined. I really don’t know, but it appears that someone took over the shop, keeping the name and genre, but overhauling the business model.

I don’t know what it was like before, but the business model still needs work. Today was a “bored with everything/let’s try somewhere new” day, so we phoned in an order and gave the some time to put it together. Easily finding street parking in front, we went in only to stand around ignored for about fifteen minutes – no eye contact, no words of welcome. Other than a dozen or so preconfigured sandwiches, their ordering system consists of filling out an order sheet, specifying what kind of bread, meat, condiments, and add-ons. It seems like since they have an order sheet, they figure that they can completely do away with human interaction and ignore customers. I realize it was a busy time and it is a one-person show, but still – it was pretty uninviting in there.

Glancing around, they strongly advertise “Boar’s Head” meats. I have no idea if this is supposed to be some super-premium supplier or what. The packaged chips, drinks, and backstocked shrink-wrapped towers of canned chicken or tuna definitely emitted the “Costco” vibe. When our sandwiches were finally ready, we got an apology for the wait with the change, but it was the stock apology that everyone was getting. The apology should be on the menu,so you know in advance that you’ll be waiting a long time and will be ignored.

I got their “TT” sandwich (pastrami and Swiss on rye), since their “Classic Reuben” didn’t have corned beef in it an therefore wasn’t a Reuben at all. Their menu calls out “greens” as an ingredient on certain preconfigured sandwiches, but this doesn’t mean “all the veggies” like a Subway sandwich: It means “lettuce”. They should just say lettuce. I’m just saying… The size of the sandwich is a “normal size” like you’d make at home, and the meat is on the generous side. I remember Velcro mentioning this. The meat and cheese was indeed good, but the bread was a bit on the dry side. A quartered pickle wedge was included with the sandwich.

For the food quality, I’d give them an A-. For value, I’d give them a C. If you want to get full, go up a block to Subway and get a five-dollar foot-long. If you want premium, go to Kaka’ako Kitchen and get a similar sandwich with fries or a salad include for around the same price or a couple bucks more at most (and without the wait if you phone in your order, although you still may get ignored at the phone-order counter). I don’t think I got my $8 USD of joy out of my experience, so I probably wouldn’t go back unless someone was treating (and picking up). Even with some premium ingredients, the blatant Costco-item-reselling left a sour taste in my mouth – especially at the prices charged – like someone was “sticking it to me”. Of course the customer service (or lack thereof) left something to be desired to say the least. I think that makes or breaks it for me: If I was greeted promptly and not ignored, maybe I wouldn’t have minded as much that my dry little sandwich was eight bucks.

Give them a try (maybe I just caught them on an off day)

$7.86 USD

Two out of four lunch munching monkeys

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