TAMPA – Which “wich” is tempting my taste buds today?
That’s likely the first question patrons of a recently opened restaurant in the Terrace Center ask themselves each time they walk through the doors of a first-its-kind eatery in the Tampa Bay area.
The Which Wich, 5004 E. Fowler Ave, Suite A, offers a choice of more than 50 sandwiches which each customer can customize to his or her liking by marking their choices on the outside of a numbered bag that indicates the person’s basic “wich” preference. Among the selections are turkey, ham and pork, beef, chicken, seafood, vegetarian, Italian, classics, breakfast and one specifically designed for kids.
The customer then decides from among an array of choices the kind(s) of cheese, vegetables, spreads and spices he wants on his sandwich. He also notes whether he wants it hot or not.
Lastly, he determines if he wants his wich ingredients wrapped in white bread, wheat bread, lettuce or served in a bowl.
Every order is prepared and personalized in accordance with the choices marked on the bag by its purchaser.
The Which Wich franchise was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Dallas. Its restaurants in Jacksonville, Gainesville, Melbourne and Orlando are among its 256 nationwide locations.
“This place is awesome,” said University of South Florida senior Joel Thompson, who has frequented the eatery about once a week in the three months it has been open. His favorite sandwich is the Italian grinder made with salami, pepperoni and capicola.
“I like the style of ordering and all the ingredients are really good,” he said. “The bread and everything else is way better than Subway.”
USF freshman Tori Rockafort said she was thrilled when she saw a sign on the front of the building back in August announcing the casual style restaurant’s opening.
“I have a friend who works in one in Beaumont, Texas, and when I ate there I really, really like it,” said Rockafort, who’s since eaten at the Fowler Avenue Which Wich several times.
Her favorites are the chicken pesto and the turkey club.
Knal Shah, a Which Wich franchisee partner and the store’s general manager, said the store’s close proximity to the University of South Florida, its easy accessibility and having Starbucks as its neighbor have helped his business get off to a good start.
“I think the word of mouth has been great, because I’ve done no real marketing,” said Shah, a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a degree in accounting who gained restaurant experience lending a hand in his family-owned Tailgate Bar and Grill in Jacksonville.
Shah, who hopes to open additional Which Wich restaurants in the Tampa area, said he also is promoting the catering aspect of his business.
“We’ve already started to do some catering for Moffitt, the USF basketball team and Coca-Cola,” Shah said. “We’re here to build relationships.”
Store hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Visit www.whichwich.com or call (813) 985-9424 for more information.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]