From this point forward, sandwiches will be known as “wiches” and are considered legitimate food options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In an effort to introduce a fresh concept to a market controlled by aging brands, TCU alumnus John Darrah and wife Shannon have opened Which Wich, a Dallas-based sandwich shop that is redefining the rules of selling sandwiches.
“What we’ve noticed is that a lot of the competitors are the brands that we grew up with,” John Darrah said. “There hasn’t really been a new, vibrant brand.”
It was this lack of originality that prompted Which Wich founder Jeff Sinelli to create his innovative “superior sandwich” concept.
At Which Wich, customers place their orders by marking menus printed on brown sandwich bags.
After selecting the variety of “wich” from a collection of more than 50 choices, the customer specifies each additional ingredient, including everything from spreads and sauces to oils and spices.
The filled-out bag is then attached to a clip on a zip line where the order will slide along during the assembly process.
“When you pick up your bag, and you make your sandwich, you make it the way you want it to be,” Shannon Darrah said. “That’s different than anybody else’s. It is your artwork.”
As Shannon Darrah said, it was initially Which Wich’s freshness that attracted her to the brand.
“I used to always look for a place that had a totally fresh sandwich,” she said. “When I checked into the place where they purchase their produce and their meats, everything was the freshest.”
The quality, coupled with the concept, is what finally pushed the Darrahs to open their own Which Wich franchise.
“(Shannon) brought it home, and I had it and liked it,” said John Darrah. “I liked the concept, liked the founder and thought, ‘It’s a new kind of vibe.'”
This vibe, which he describes as energetic and appealing to college students, was established by Which Wich’s innovative mark-your-own-menu concept but is enhanced by the venue’s various nuances.
A bright yellow color scheme is at the heart of Which Wich’s energetic interior, but the Darrahs also catered to college students by adding a large patio, wireless Internet and even ordering shipments of the popular energy drink Red Bull.
Topping it off is the store’s use and sale of compact discs provided by Aware Records featuring musicians who are “on the rise.”
“Aware connects well with Which Wich because it’s young, it’s new and it’s up-and-coming,” John Darrah said. “Every month we get a new Aware Records CD, and that’s all we play.”
So far, the concept has been successful, and Shannon Darrah said business has been “better than we expected, even with the weather.”
Most students agree that it is Which Wich’s variety that has encouraged frequent visits.
“I like the choices,” said Noble Starnes, a junior finance major. “You can put whatever you want on it.”
Though John Darrah said he has been quite pleased with the amount of business, he said he is more concerned with taking care of his customers and doing it right.
John Darrah said he also plans to get involved with TCU and the whole aspect of campus life once Which Wich gets its feet on the ground from opening.
“I’m an alum of TCU,” he said. “We grew up in this area, and we’re going to continue to be part of this.”
John Darrah said he hopes his restaurant will give students a fun and inviting place to get a quick bite to eat.
“We don’t expect to change the world,” John Darrah said. “We just hope that at the end of the day, when somebody feels like, ‘hey, let’s go down to Which Wich and grab a sandwich,’ it’s a fun experience.