Jason's Deli Oak Brook, Illinois

Have you heard of Jason's Deli?  Surprisingly enough, it is the fastest growing chain restaurant in America.    They just opened one near our house on York Street in Oak Brook.  Funny location for now - being too far away from the Oak Brook Mall traffic - but it is 300 yards away from the under-construction Elmhurst Hospital.  I'm guessing that they're betting on hospital traffic plus whatever business lunches are taking place in the area.

We went to the Oak Brook location last week.  We'd previously lunched at their Oak Lawn restaurant.
The place is kind of like Panera without the focus on the bread and baked goods.  I took the photo above at the Oak Brook location. The menu is loaded with choices and it is somewhat intimidating.  The downside of these two factors colliding is that you order at a cash register.  That means that a line (if you go during one of the peak times - lunch or dinner) starts to back up.  I felt the pressure to step up, order and get out of the way.  But...with such an expansive menu plus the option of going with a salad bar (did I tell you that they have a salad bar!), it felt awkward.  I felt rushed the first time we went.

When we went back, I downloaded the menu (yes...the menu isn't available on their site in any other version but .pdf - which is a shame) and knew ahead of time what I was ordering.  This is the ONLY way to go at this place.  Do your homework.  Know what you are ordering before you walk in the door - it will make your dining experience all that much better.

Each time I had a sandwich and wasn't that impressed with either one.  Sure...there's plenty of meats on them, but they're just average as far as sandwiches go.  I'll have to dig back into the menu before (if?!?!) we go next time to find a better fit for me personally.  Both times we've gone, someone in our party has purchased the Salad Bar - which for sandwich buyers is a key asset.  On the bar, there's unlimited supplies of very giardiniera, pepperoncinis, and pickles.  Tasty.

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