While eating my way through the Best of Denver 2009, I tried Which 'Wich, an Aurora sandwich shop that's part of a chain of a hundred-some shops that has grown like kudzu across the country since it started in Dallas in 2003. Which 'Wich makes sandwiches and only sandwiches (okay, and milkshakes and fresh-baked cookies), following a fast-casual, DIY service model built entirely on the sushi-bar conceit of having customers fill out their own order checklists. At Which 'Wich (which boasts five Colorado locations, even if I've only been to one), this is done with red Sharpie markers on brown paper bags printed with the menu. You walk in, get a bag, check off what you'd like on your 'wich, and then it's assembled and handed back to you in that same bag. Simple. The possibilities start with an impressive number of classic sandwiches — fifty or so, organized by primary protein, covering everything from grinders to PB & banana Elvis 'wiches to breakfast sammies served all day — and allow for endless customization, with different breads, spreads, extras and toppings.
I've had an acceptable Cuban here, a fine roast beef stacked thick on white bread. Even the egg salad was decent — a surprise, since you rarely find decent egg salad outside the local deli. But while all the sandwiches I've had here have been good (a mark of consistency rare even among the best sandwich shops), none have yet risen to the level of great. It could be that unswerving goodness is all that can be expected from a large-scale operation. It could be that I haven't yet learned to game the system at Which 'Wich well enough to see a truly great 'wich come out the other end. But I have hopes for this chain. And if it can up its game just a little, who knows? Maybe next year will be the first time an out-of-state chain takes home the coveted Best Sandwich award.