It started innocently enough.
We were meeting with the CEO of Which Wich, the popular sandwich concept that is responsible for a hot sandwich known as ‘The Wicked,’ as in, ‘it’s wicked good.’
We’d just eaten a huge amount of food at his great new restaurant, Burguesa Burger. In a nutshell, this restaurant offers a new kind of burger with a distinct Latin influence, all the way to the jalapeno attached to the outside wrapper.
The one we tried has no fewer than a dozen ingredients, if you count the double burger patty (which, of course, you must do). There is the bun, the cheese, a crispy tostada shell, refried beans, avocado, meat, more meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, a slice of ham, sauce. No wonder it’s called ‘La Monumental.’
Along with this little bite we’d been served spicy French fries, limeades, milkshakes complete with a Mexican donut encircling the straw, and a Mexican fortune cookie (mine reminded me that ‘una cosa es decir y otra cosa es hacer,’ or, ‘it’s one thing to say it and another thing to do it’).
Teasing us, the CEO of both concepts, Jeff Sinelli, said, and I quote: ‘Hungry? We could go over to Which Wich and we could make you one of each. All 50 sandwiches.’
Then the famous words were spoken. ‘We’ve never done that before,’ he said.
And you could almost see the gleam in his eye. To a self-described ‘serial entrepreneur,’ it was a challenge.
So we encouraged him, saying, ‘What better time than now?’
Next thing we knew, his cell phone was out and he was calling in the troops to see how quickly they could make 50 sandwiches. Actually, if you count their “Wicked”—which basically has it all—there are 51.
It turns out, pretty quickly. We learned that the average wait time from when the order bag is handed in, to when the hot sandwich comes out bagged and ready to go, is about four minutes. With a crew full working overtime they had those 51 varieties—from breakfast sandwiches, to the Kidswich, to the Italian and the ‘Comforts’ (meatloaf, egg salad, chicken salad, Spam® or Triple Cheese)—expertly made and piled high.
Challenge met. Instead of, ‘We’ve never done that,’ now the story can be, ‘Once, when The Food Channel crew was here, we made all 51 sandwiches.’
It was just one of the experiences that showed us what kind of man Jeff Sinelli is, and what kind of attitude he has toward operating his businesses. Other clues included his black and yellow sneakers, his branded clothing, his casual demeanor and his extreme hospitality.
To a man like that, work is a lifestyle, not a burden. And to his guests, including us, eating at his restaurants becomes an experience, much more than just a meal.
Oh, and in case you were wondering—the sandwiches were donated to a shelter. And if you needed another sign of what this organization is like, rest assured—it was obvious they’ve done that kind of thing before.