Eating Adventures

Our Weekly Bread: Cheba Hut

The sandwich: Panama Red What's on it: Grilled chicken breast, home-grown marinara sauce, parmesan and provolone on white, wheat or garlic "herb" bread. Where to get it: Cheba Hut (1531 Champa Street, 720-974-1880) How much: $6.50

A lot of people like Cheba Hut. They've been telling me it's good, strongly suggesting that I try it. But I'd been afraid to, scared that I'd like it too much, that I wouldn't be able to stop going there -- that it would lead to more, bigger sandwiches.

The truth is: It was really good, although I'm sure I'll just hit it on special occasions or with the right person.

Cheba Hut calls itself America's only "counter-culture" themed deli, and it's worth going to just for the artwork -- ´60s-style music posters and such -- the colorful decorations and the hilarious menu, which includes about thirty sandwiches named for pot. There's the Magic Mushroom, Endo, Afghani, Schwag and Pacific Blue, just to name a few.

And the pot references don't stop there. In fact, the Arizona-based Cheba Hut has a very well-thought out brand and marketing efforts, from parties and openings on 4/20 to its various mottos, like "Where the only thing fried is the occasional customer."

But if you can get beyond the smoke, Cheba Hut's sandwiches are actually really good. They remind me a bit of Deli Zone, because of the sub-style bread and the variety of menu items, from classic pastrami and turkey BLTs to more interesting creations, like a cream- cheese veggie sandwich, a teriyaki chicken with pineapple and a bbq roast beef.

I went with the Panama Red, which had chunks of chicken drenched in a rich, spicy marinara sauce and then covered with two kinds of cheese. You can add any number of pizza-related toppings to give this one an extra punch; I had mushrooms and tomato.

The bread was the perfect complement to this sandwich, a very tasty, herb and garlic roll, slightly toasted and hearty enough to keep everything rolled up where it belonged.

It was some seriously good grub, and I was stone-cold sober. I can only imagine how good it would be after consuming a hunger-inducing vice of your choice.

Read about previous sandwiches in the Our Weekly Bread archive.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes