To say that the franchise chain of sandwich restaurants known as Which Wich is a modern day success story is a bit of an understatement.
In less than eight years, the chain has grown from a single restaurant in Dallas, Texas, to approximately 150 restaurants nationwide.
One of the newest Which Wich franchises has opened in Boone at the Winklers Creek Crossing shopping center across the street from Boone Mall. For franchise owner Robbie Moon, the Boone location is his second Which Wich. He previously opened one in Johnson City, Tenn., and has plans to open a third location in Kingsport, Tenn., later this year.
"It's an awesome company with a great product," Moon said. "Which Wich has such high standards from the top on down, and they are really passionate about their employees and customers."
Enter the new Which Wich, and you'll notice one of its unique touches right away. On the lefthand wall there are brown paper sandwich bags in 12 different categories, such as "Comforts," "Vegetarian," "Italian" and "Turkey."
According to the official Which Wich directions, "Find the bag with the category you want, grab a red Sharpie, and mark up the pre-printed menu on the sandwich bag. Select your sandwich, then choose the bread, cheese, spreads and veggies. Your wich is prepared just the way you want it and delivered in your personalized sandwich bag."
Sandwiches are available in 7-inch, 10.5-inch, or 14-inch sizes. Additionally, any sandwich, referred to in-house as "wiches," can be served without bread on a bed of shredded lettuce.
The wide selection of cheeses, spreads and condiments helps set Which Wich apart from other sandwich shops. Some of the more unusual choices include feta cheese, Cheez Whiz, horseradish mayo, A-1 sauce, hummus, tzatziki, crispy string onions, olive salad and sauerkraut.
Which Wich also aims to please your sweet tooth with a selection of fresh-baked cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter) and hand-dipped milkshakes made with whole milk (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana, Oreo and pineapple).
The shop also features a wide variety of sandwich selections for kids, including peanut butter and jelly, grilled "pizzawich," turkey, ham, roast beef and grilled cheese.
Moon said that all of the restaurant's salads, such as egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad and crab salad, are made from scratch on site.
Last Sunday, with the restaurant about three-quarters of the way full, it took about eight minutes from turning in an order for a hot sandwich to receiving it from the cooking line.
"Which Wich has been flying under the radar as an extremely successful chain," Moon said. "They are very particular about where they open new shops and were excited to have one open in Boone. We just think it's a great fit with the university being here."
Indeed, Which Wich's trademark colors of yellow and black go perfectly with the Appalachian State University logos on the restaurant's wall.
Jeff Sinelli, founder and former CEO of the Ghengis Grill, opened the first Which Wich shop seven and half years ago. Sinelli coined the motto "Sandwichfaction Guaranteed," which is used at all franchise locations.
"Which Wich's commitment to total guest satisfaction has been a tenet of this brand since I fist opened the doors in December 2003 in Dallas," Sinelli said. "Originally, 'Sandwichfaction Guaranteed' was published as the founder's guarantee on the Which Wich website, but recently we've taken it a step further by printing it proudly on the new Which Wich 32-ounce souvenir cup. I'm backing up this claim with my face, title and signature, because that's how much I believe in it."
Sinelli also believes that the Which Wich brand is made more successful through its use of modern social media, and the store has a presence on Facebook and Twitter and invites its customers to upload photographs on its Flickr gallery and videos on its Vimeo gallery.
Each store also boasts music and newspaper stations and a community wall where customers can hang artwork that they've created on the blank side of their sandwich bags.
"Most of the stores have free Wi-Fi, but the Boone location is not Wi-Fi equipped yet," Moon said.
"Right now, we are open until 9 p.m., but we might stay open later when the university opens."
Which Wich is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. You can contact them by phone at (828) 355-9946, by fax at (828) 355-9952 or via email at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Got restaurant news? Email editor Frank Ruggiero at (email@example.com) or call (828) 264-6397.