2125 Wright Ave # C6, La Verne, CA
A sandwich shop in walking distance? Sure, and if you follow the currently defunct railroad tracks, you shorten a little of that distance and get to feel a little Stand By Me. So today we tried, for the first time, our closest local sandwich shoppe, Gene’s Grinders, tucked into the same industrial park that houses La Verne Brewing, right across the street from El Merendero (see entry #14).
This Gene’s Grinders, “homemade since 1989,” is not to be confused with the Gene’s Grinders in Monrovia, in operation since 1954. Is there a reason their name is the same? We wanted to know but weren’t in position to ask the very overwhelmed cashier as she was taking counter orders, answering the lunch rush phone, and bagging up to-go orders while two other customers hovered far too breathily two feet behind us. Yay.
This Gene’s menu options include, in addition to grinders (“submarines” is their menu term) and, in a separate category, mere sandwiches, the following (all presented here as they are on the menu): burgers; mexican; asian; grilled fish plate; wrap; breakfast plate; breakfast omelette plate; breakfast burrito; breakfast sandwich; soup; breakfast side; salad; and deep fried. Deep fried! Given this ample variety, you might worry that the Gene’s Grinders’ editorial grinder eye might be a little wandery. Your worry would be well founded.
When we sincerely ask of a sandwich place, Is this better than Subway?, it’s not a great sign. We ordered the submarine iterations of the Philly Cheesesteak ($8.18 and “best in the west coast,” lol) and the Turkey Avocado ($8.38). The bread for each sandwich was fine—nothing bad, nothing notable—but the ingredients were quite sad. The cheesesteak/onion/provolone were absolutely bland, a sign of both poor quality ingredients and indifferent grilling. The turkey…well, it was a little on the slimy side. So that.
One nice takeaway: the Turkey Avocado’s overall taste was actually pretty good … simply because combing avocado, tomato, shredded lettuce, and oil and vinegar on reasonable bread should always be a win. While we’re happy to forever stay off the railroad tracks that lead to a sad La Verne culinary triangle, we’re keen to see how two humble sandwich elements, shredded lettuce and oil and vinegar, play out on the rest of our summer sandwiches.
- Overall Balance/Taste: -1 points
- Quality of Ingredients: -2
- Bread: 0
- Integrity: 0
- X-factor: menu variety: -1
Overall: -4 points, or bologna & mayo on Wonder bread