The Boardwalk continues its transformation from an abandoned Office Max big box store into a free-standing food court. The first restaurant to open was Noodles and Company. On Saturday, Feb. 11, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches held a soft opening to introduce itself to the community and allow staff a “stress test” before Monday’s grand opening.
Uroko Café, between the two already opened eateries, continues its preparation. Other available spots do not yet show activity.
The food court is near the northwest corner of the intersection of two major arterial streets, Katella Ave. and Valley View St. It sits between El Torito restaurant and Courtyard by Marriott hotel. The parking lot entrance is from westbound Katella. To reach the site from eastbound Katella, turn left short of the intersection, as though entering the business park, then right into the Courtyard by Marriott parking lot. Snake around the south side of the hotel — the lots connect.
Which Wich is another entry in the fast-casual restaurant derby that has seen the opening of not only Noodles and Company steps away to the west, but also the makeover of Cypress Village further north on Valley View St. Each restaurant has its own way of speeding you along through ordering, order pick-up, eating, and clearing your space.
When you enter Which Wich, you are immediately directed to a station on the right wall. You grab a red Sharpie and mark up a pre-printed brown bag with your choice of sandwich and toppings.
Your name goes at the top of the bag.
Intimidated by all the boxes and words? Explanatory signage higher on the wall helps decode the selections. Or you can order ahead online, using their website or their app.
Those going gluten-free by choice or on doctor’s orders can order a “lettucewich” or a salad. The lettucewich wraps the sandwich innards in iceburg lettuce leaves. The salad adds a bowl and a fork.
The salad was not available for the soft opening, so I settled for a Wicked lettucewich, putting the innards of the chain’s signature sandwich inside lettuce leaves, wrapped in paper, and served up in that brown bag.
Glitches in the operation
Soft openings allow staff members to work out glitches — and our party ran into a handful.
The interior is loud and lively, with an in-house station supplying music and commentary. Your order goes down an assembly line as it’s built, and order pick-up is at the rear of the store. If you have taken the time between ordering and picking up to find a seat, it can be hard to hear your name called. If you hang around the order pick-up station, you block access to the soda machine and the restrooms.
Execution of the sandwiches was a bit uneven. One of our party found her sandwich cut most of the way through. She had to walk back to order pick-up to ask to finish the slicing. Another person found the chipotle mayonnaise quite tasty, but unevenly distributed.
We expect operations to smooth out as staff gains experience.
Most importantly, everyone in the party thought the sandwiches were indeed superior, and expressed eagerness to return in order to try different pre-fab favorites or build their own. For my part, I want to get back to see how the salad bowl works.