I was counting on Jason's Deli in the Oaks Mall Plaza to have an interesting meatless entrée for the GLOB Master. It was like the meatless lunch gods had a meeting and decided to send me a message -- there my lunch was on a giant sign just as you enter Jason's Deli: ZUCHINI GRILLINI ON 9-GRAIN ARTISAN BREAD. The picture of the sandwich on the poster looked good. I like zucchini, but I've never had a zucchini sandwich. The idea of toasted bread and Muenster cheese had me smiling. Along with the gooey cheese were sliced grilled zucchini, organic spinach, red onions, roma tomatoes, kalamata olives, and roasted red pepper hummus – this sandwich has it all! The meatless lunch gods did their job. Not only that, this sandwich is worth a try, GLOBers (above). The olives added a little punch to the mix. This sandwich would have been spectacular, however, with a little horseradish or some other spicy sauce. For the side that comes with the sandwich, the GLOB Master ordered fruit medley. The lunch was satisfying and tasty -- and I felt so darn healthy I could hardly stand myself. GLOB Emeritus Lynn Dirk joined me for lunch and she was raving about JD's very impressive salad bar – several times she said "It has EVERYthing – even artichokes!" There is a vegetarian section of the menu available on the web with 12 items listed: 2 sides, 5 kids items, 3 soups one of which is organic "vegetarian vegetable" (assurance there is no meat broth in the mix!), and 2 sandwiches – a Spinach Veggie Wrap and the Zucchini Grillini. I'm going back to Jason's Deli for another Zuchini Grillini but not for another seven days . . .
Big box deli fulfills expectations
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
I was excited about my Monday lunch plans to go to the Jason's Deli (JD) in the Oaks Mall Plaza off of Newberry Rd.
Before lunch, I had reviewed the Jason's Deli website and was aware that JD wants to break the everyday deli mode with a new, contemporary, gluten-free, no trans fats, no fructose, calorie-counting, healthy, somewhat organic place to feed your lunch habit.
In fact Jason's Deli must be succeeding at that since it was recently recognized by Parenting Magazine as the Best Restaurant in America.
So why wouldn't I be expecting the best deli lunch I have ever had?
Jason's has earned a reputation for many good qualities including healthy food awareness, a good menu for families and children and a very impressive salad bar. The salad bar can be included at half price when ordered with a meal.
This big box deli does have a nice touch for those in a hurry -- an express pay "kiost" where you can swipe a credit card to skip the lunch line cashier and go straight to the salad bar to create your lunch.
Walking into JDs a little after 11:30, I realized this lunch stop was going to be busy as customers were already lining up at the door from all directions.
A Jason's Deli host standing outside the deli was distributing menus to customers much the same way you would receive orders before going into battle.
Walking inside the deli, it was quickly apparent that the lunch line started right inside the front door. Yep, I was standing in a lunch line.
It appears that if you are in the mood to go for a healthy lunch, you better plan ahead and have your healthy diet data handy.
The menu issued to me outside did not have all the healthy, smart-to- eat lunch information I saw on the Jason's Deli web site. You can find that information on the restaurant web link below this feature
Since I had no earlier experience by which to assess the 50-plus entree choices listed in front of me, I quickly focused on a Specialty Sandwich that sounded like my kind of lunch grub: "The Big Joe," which is named for the father of the Jason's Deli founder. This sandwich contained turkey breast, asiago cheese, roasted tomatoes, basil-pesto with pine nuts, and mayo sandwiched between toasted herb focaccia bread slices. When it was my turn to order, I was ready.
The lunch line I was standing in looked like it was as long as a bowling alley. However since I ordered from the menu and didn't choose the salad bar or build-my-own sandwich lunch special, I was able to quickly move past all the stops necessary in the "building" process.
I found a nice table at the back of the dining room and placed my ORDER NUMBER 56 card high off the table where it would be noticed.
There were a lot of North Florida Regional Hospital )NFRH) staffers in the dining room. This looks like a handy, obvious alternative to NFRH cafeteria food.
My Big Joe sandwich appeared at my table in a reasonable amount of time, and it was a good sandwich. The creamy asiago cheese melded very nicely with the herb focaccia bread. The roasted turkey breast was, well, unremarkable and thinly sliced. I couldn't spot any roasted tomatoes in my sandwich, but the flavor of the basil pesto was pronounced and enjoyable.
The Jason Deli potato chips were an ordinary crinkle-cut variety. I'm betting they have a scale somewhere to make sure I got just the right number of potato chips on my plate.
All that said, the sandwich was pretty good. However I'm not really sure what made my Big Joe a Specialty Sandwich.
Thinking about it -- I received two sandwich triangles of the Big Joe sandwich. Three sandwich triangles would have been better. That would have at least made my sandwich appear special.
Maybe they were thinking Specialty Math Problem, not Specialty Sandwich:
"The GLOB Master orders the 'The Big Joe' Specialty Sandwich, which is comprised of three tasty sandwich triangles. Unfortunately the Professional Eater only received two sandwich triangles on his plate. Using only fractions -- no whole numbers allowed -- how much of the GLOB Master's sandwich was missing?"
The Pluses and Minuses of Jason's Deli:
Jason's Deli PLUS (+) indicators: Handy location, a ton of food choices.
Jason's Deli MINUS (-) indicators: I'm sorry, these franchise deli food lunch stops are unremarkable in my opinion.
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Jason's deli.Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!