Photo by Connor Burnard / Assistant Lifestyles Editor
The ubiquity and convenience of sub shops can make sandwiches a frequent meal for many people. They’re inexpensive and offer quick delivery by large chains like Jimmy John’s, which makes them hard to avoid; however, despite being a self-identified sandwich fanatic, the combination of bread, meat, cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise became bland for my taste buds after eating sandwiches from the same four or five places over and over again.
Some are better than others, but regardless, one can only eat at the same corporate sandwich shop so many times before craving a change of scenery, and a change of scenery is what I found on Chaffin Place, a stone’s throw away from the maddening Old Fort Parkway/I-24 junction. Amidst the busy traffic of the adjacent Walmart, Target and shopping mall, the unassuming Sandwich Factory sits wedged between a KFC and an old hotel.
Upon entering Sandwich Factory, a well-designed aesthetic immediately becomes apparent. The dominant wall of the dining room is made of distressed white brick and sports a large blue stencil message: “SANDWICH FACTORY, EST 2012, BURGERS – SUBS – MILKSHAKES.” Other than this succinct advertisement, the dining room is essentially free of decoration, as most of the walls are consumed by windows. The abundance of natural light provided a perfect dining setting.
Sandwich Factory’s menu offers far more variety at a better value than any sandwich chain, including unique burgers like the cheese-stuffed Inside Out Burger, thin crust pizza, fried chicken tenders, chili, chocolate covered bacon and create-your-own options for salads and subs. No regular-sized dish appeared to exceed $8, with larger versions of sandwiches seeming to top out at less than $10.
The register sits at the corner of an open kitchen, where employees can be seen making every order. I already made the decision to order the Factory Club sandwich, a run-of-the-mill turkey, ham and bacon creation before I arrived at the register, but a posted sign of new menu items caught my attention at the last minute. I ordered one of the new items: a shrimp and Cajun sauce roll po’boy variation called the Prawn Star Sandwich, with a side of home chips and a strawberry milkshake.
My order was called out and placed on the pickup counter in a timely fashion, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the food served on a solid ceramic plate rather than on a plastic tray or wrapped in butcher paper.
Another surprise was a complimentary cup of nacho cheese for the chips, which was an unexpected but highly appreciated addition. The sandwich itself was satisfying but could never hold up against any authentic Cajun shrimp po’boy. Although by no means a bad-tasting sandwich, it lacked the flavor and body that any po’boy should have. The milkshake was made a little bit thin, which is exactly how I prefer them. My total for the sandwich, chips and milkshake after tax was $10.96, which is far more reasonable than what it would be at any sandwich chain.
Although the sandwich had no boldness to speak of, the meal was satisfying and gave me a refreshing, new sandwich experience that I will certainly return to when feeling bored of the same old sandwich options. The value of the meal, as well as the uniqueness and variety of options, at Sandwich Factory earn it four out of five stars, as well as a guaranteed future visit from this sandwich lover.
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