New sub shop in Camas delivers the goods

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Why: After years of Subway’s domination as the go-to place for a submarine sandwich, it could be that Jimmy John’s is bringing some competition with fresh subs that are, as they claim, “Just like Mama used to make them.” If your Mama made the best, it’s likely that you will agree.

Jimmy John’s straightforward menu options make it easy to pick something that will tantalize your taste buds, and you can fine-tune your selection by omitting or adding ingredients to your liking.

Atmosphere: Aside from the food, the atmosphere is my favorite part of the experience. Jimmy John’s bring a snappy twist to what might otherwise be a typical fast food restaurant. Beyond the basic color scheme trimmed with promotional posters and such, Jimmy John’s walls are posted chock-full of signs with witty sayings and practical advice. While you’re filling the void in your stomach, you can be filling your brain with some food for thought.

Seating consists of tables and chairs set up in the long, narrow dining space, parallel to the order counter and food preparation area.

What I tried: I decided on the Vegetarian and my dining companion tried the J.J. B.L.T. I also took home a couple of pre-packaged cookies — one oatmeal and one chocolate chip — and a Beach Club sub made with turkey, provolone, avocado spread, sliced cucumber, sprouts, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

The first thing I noted about my sandwich was the French bread used to make it. Instead of tall, airy bread, Jimmy John’s uses flatter, denser bread. The result is a sandwich that is easier to bite. The flatter bread does not compromise the quality of the sandwich, however. I didn’t find it doughy, and the thick crust held up down to the very last bite.

The Vegetarian is filled with layers of provolone cheese and avocado spread, sliced cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. All the ingredients’ flavors blended together to create a garden-fresh tasting sandwich. I easily consumed the entire 8 inches, which satisfied my appetite.

My dining companion told me that his BLT was the best he’s had in a long time. He was impressed with the generous amount of bacon and the freshness of the tomatoes. The mayonnaise was applied astutely, assuring a mess-free experience.

The Beach Club was much larger than the other sandwiches, as the menu promised. As far as I could tell, it had twice the meat of the regular sandwiches. Its quality was consistent with the other subs that we tried.

The cookies, though not homemade, were good and big enough to share.

Other menu highlights beyond what I tried: The Italian Night Club sounds like a tasty choice for my next visit. It contains real Genoa salami, Italian capicola, smoked ham and provolone cheese, all topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise and a homemade Italian vinaigrette.

Box lunches and platters are available as well.

Jimmy John’s caters and will deliver even just one sandwich within the restaurant’s delivery zone.

Other observations: Jimmy John’s boldly displays the brands used — such as Chicken of the Sea, Best Foods and Grey Poupon.

The service was fast and friendly and the restaurant was notably spotless.

Cost: All subs are 8 inches long. Regular subs hold a fair amount of ingredients and cost $4.75. Giant Club Sandwiches have twice the meat or cheese and, at $5.75, come with the option of either the standard French bread or thick sliced 7-grain bread. Plain Slims — any sub minus the veggies and sauce — are just $3.75. There is also the J.J. Gargantuan at $7.75 to satisfy the larger appetite.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Telephone: 360-833-7827.

Where: 19206 S.E. First Street, Camas.

Health score: Jimmy John’s received a score of 5 on July 11. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.