Friday, July 6, 2007

W.G. Grinders

W.G. Grinders, on Castro St. in Mountain View

The 100 block of Castro Street in Mountain View is attracting new restaurants with amazing speed, so you can expect to see a bunch of them appear in this space over the next few months: a Hawaiian barbecue, a taqueria, the Hong Kong bistro, and W.G. Grinders join relative newcomers Caffe Neto, Monsoon Indian Cuisine, Xanh Vietnamese, and the cook-your-own-beef Japanese place I can never remember the name of, just in the stretch between Villa and Evelyn at the CalTrain end of Castro, anchored by King of Krung Siam, Amarin Thai, Kapp's, Hunan Chili, and Vaso Azurro.

"W.G." is not some invented mascot's initials; it stands for "World's Greatest." The modest abbreviation--we think we're the greatest, but we don't want to make a big deal out of it--is as midwestern as the name "grinders" (which is what they call subs out in the midwest), but in this case, this little sub chain can make a persuasive argument to the title, at least as far as sub chains go.

Based in Ohio, the chain has spread to Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan, with single restaurants in Georgia, Utah, and California. We Mountain Viewians are lucky to have the only franchise within almost 800 miles in our backyard. If you like Quizno's, come by and give W.G. Grinders a try.

True, there's cheese on just about everything, but you can ask them to go light on it. And the bread and cheese and meats are good, really good, just packed with more flavor than your average Quizno's sub (and I'm a Quizno's fan). Oddly, this doesn't seem to translate into many more calories; a six-inch Grinders Italian sub is 570 calories, versus Quizno's small Italian at about 770. They have a turkey Reuben, which I love because I don't eat beef, so haven't had a real Reuben in years--and the turkey Reuben is really good (except that they use cole slaw instead of sauerkraut, but even the cole slaw is good). Ditto the chicken parmesan (ask for half the cheese), the chicken salad, the buffalo chicken, the meatball, the pastrami, the Italian... everything we or friends have ordered there has gotten the "this is SO good" rating.

But it doesn't stop there. They make several delicious side salads--Greek, pasta, deli, green--all of which are more than just an afterthought. And you'd better save room for their cookies. Nobody knows cookies like the midwest, and Grinders' cookies are terrific. For the summer they're offering ice cream specials as well, though we haven't tried them.

The only thing we were slightly disappointed with there was the pizza, and that might be because we ordered it takeout and it was down to room temp by the time we got to eat it. But that's okay; there are plenty of subs on the menu, and we've yet to be disappointed by one. Our notoriously picky roommate declared it his favorite lunch place of all time. We're not promising you'll be that excited, but give it a try and we can almost guarantee you won't be disappointed.

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