I have officially now tried each and every Which Wich? location in the San Diego area. To date there are three locations. The first location to open was the Hillcrest location on 5th Avenue. The second location to open was the Pacific Beach location off of Garnet. And the newest addition to the San Diego Which Wich? family is the Carlsbad location located in the Forum shopping center off of Calle Barcelona. However, I didn’t visit them in the order of their openings, I started with the Hillcrest location, then tried the Carlsbad location, before finally making it to the Pacific Beach location.
As a new and up and coming chain of sandwich shops here in San Diego, I have become a big fan of their concept as a sandwich shop. The premise that you set foot in the shop, grab a Which Wich? bag for one of the ten sandwich categories or get the bag for their signature sandwich, “The Wicked” and a red sharpie and you proceed to check off the condiments and toppings you’d like on your sandwich. I’ve included a photograph of one of my sandwich bags for a Roast Beef sandwich I had on one of my visits. From there you take your bag to the register and purchase the sandwich and if you like you can add on your choice of chips, cookies, sodas, iced teas, and milkshakes and then relax while the sandwich experts behind the counter make your sandwich completely customized to your order. There’s no need to point at ingredients or shout over a sneeze guard like at other sandwich shops. Your sandwich comes out how you want it, and when you write your name on the bag, you get the extra personal touch of having your sandwich called out by your name.
My first visit to a Which Wich? location was the Hillcrest location. This is probably my favorite location of the three stores. Whether that has to do with it being the first one I visited or not, is hard to say. It’s the closest location to me, and even still according to Google Maps, it’s 21.1 miles away from where I live. The Which Wich? in Hillcrest is near the corner of University and 5th Avenue and is a great sized store. Lots of seating and it has a great vibe to it. Street parking is not always the easiest here, and if you do come during the day you need to feed the meters, but what I usually do is park at the nearby Rite Aid which allows it’s lot to be used for public parking and I can get usually get a spot with no hassle for $2 for an hour. The Which Wich? is a half a block walk from the lot, so it’s easy to get in and out of.
The Carlsbad location will probably do very well for Which Wich as it’s situated inside the Forum Carlsbad, which is a strip mall that boasts a lot of premium shops such as an Apple Store, and several upscale clothing shops. The shop itself is very small compared to the Hillcrest location, but on each of the three occasions I’ve visited this location it’s always been very busy. The benefit of being in a strip mall with a lot of traffic. The shop is located near the Jimbo’s Naturally, a locally owned chain of natural food stores, and is situated between the mall’s Panera Bread and Cold Stone Creamery ice cream shop, so that particular section of the mall gets quite a bit of traffic. I used to live a lot closer to this location and it would be my favorite one to visit if I still lived in that area. But since I don’t make it to Carlsbad very often any more and the location is 28.2 miles away.
The last location of the three San Diego locations I visited was the Pacific Beach location. It’s right in the heart of the beach shopping district. I definitely liked the look and feel of the shop as it was a little more cosy than the large Hillcrest location, and a lot more open than the Carlsbad location due to lots of windows letting light in. This location is a corner shop so it benefits from being visible from both Garnet Ave and Cass Street. Parking here was horrible as Garnett Ave is a very busy street and with Grand Avenue a couple of blocks away that’s also a very busy street, street parking is at a premium here if you can find it. And the surrounding shops near it have a bit of a run down feel to it, with a bit of graffiti to be found. I don’t think I’d want to in the neighborhood after dark myself but that’s just my opinion. The Which Wich? shop itself was great though. The employees there were very friendly, as they are at each location in San Diego, but I think the other factors about the neighborhood made them seem extra friendly. So despite my not really liking the neighborhood I did enjoy my experience at the Which Wich? And this location is 24.9 miles away from where I live.
With all the San Diego locations being about 20-30 miles away from where I live, it doesn’t make Which Wich? the most practical place for me to grab a sandwich, but they do have a great concept and I usually try to incorporate a meal at one of their shops if I happen to have a need to go to any of the areas of town they have a shop in. I will most likely be continuing to visit the Hillcrest and Carlsbad locations with greater frequency as the Hillcrest location is closest to a number of my friends and it’s a couple of blocks from the San Diego Whole Foods Market where I usually like to stop for a few items on the diet program I’ve been following. The Carlsbad location is close to where my parents live and I have a PO Box in Carlsbad, so it makes for a moderately convenient location for me. The Pacific Beach location is probably one location I’m not going to visit much. Between the heavily congested roads to get there, the hassle of parking, and I rarely visit that part of town anyway, it’s just not a convenient location for me, but I’m glad I did get to at least try the location out.
In any case, I do wish Which Wich? all the success possible in San Diego as I would love to see more locations here, especially one here in Poway. Despite the far distances to get to Which Wich? from Poway I’ve already completely filled out my first loyalty punch card where for every 10 sandwiches purchased at Which Wich? the card can be redeemed for a free sandwich on the 11th visit. And maybe when I head up to Disneyland for my birthday I’ll stop at the Santa Ana Which Wich? location just so I can say I’ve been to every California location.