Food for Thought: Great Outdoors

It can be hard to find new and exciting food when you don’t really live in a new or exciting place. Which is fine, to be honest. While I’m all for variety, the rise of the hipster has led to an alarming rise in stupid food. A quick google will show you everything from kale sausage to detox ice-cream to breakfast served on a shovel; not to mention the straight up bastardization of kimchi and the questionable obsession with kombucha. In 2017, it’s become standard for restaurants to find any many uses for mason jars as the craftiest Pinterest mom (lookin’ at you, Tammy).  

That being said I’m by no means above the influence. I will INHALE my mason jarred choco-matcha latte and I’m that idiot who pays 9 bucks for an artisan donut, so don’t let my faux pessimism stop you from indulging in the delusional hipster healthpocalypse we’ve brought upon ourselves. We made our overpriced kombucha bed and now we have to lie in it. Alas, a girl can only handle so many veganic deconstructed kale sandwiches before she gets a hankering for a regular one.

The Great Outdoors can curb that hankering. If you’re anything like me, you’ve passed it a million times on the way to 75 without much thought. You also may or may not have assumed it was, like, a camping store. Or maybe an outdoor furniture store. Both of which I assume exist. I’m not totally sure how one partakes in ‘the outdoors’, but the point is you didn’t really know what it was.

Good news: It’s awesome sandwiches. A whole building dedicated to them. Sub sandwiches as tall as you can stack them, made with everything from chicken salad to bananas. To be honest, Subway made me think I hated subs and the only reason I gave The Great Outdoors a chance initially was because they has a drive-thru, but after my first tuna salad with ‘the works’ I had a to completely reevaluate my stance. Everything changed. For the first time since high school I didn’t hear that faint whistling through the hole in my heart left by Subway. I only heard the disgusting sounds of me devouring a tuna salad sub. It was like magic.

The Great Outdoors carries about 28 different sandwiches, not including the endless combinations you can create yourself and their ‘Great  Awakenings’ breakfast subs. Subs come on your choice of fresh baked bread with the option of a handful of freebie toppings as well as ‘the works’, their signature combination of lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, wine vinegar, salad oil, oregano, parmesan, and salt. Mayo, mustard, dressing, blue cheese, sesame Thai, ranch, mushrooms, olives, cucumber, pepper, pickles, sunflower seeds, and sprouts are all free. So is that satisfied feeling you get after you finish it, which is my favorite part.

After you manage to finish the heaping pile of sandwich that I know you created, they also offer a whole mess of malts, floats, ice cream, cheesecake, brownies, and cookies made fresh in house.

I’m not a big fan of the outside and I’m only just now getting back into sandwiches, but The Great Outdoors lives up to its name. Everything I’ve had so far tastes like something my mom would have brought me and my friends after an afternoon of doing whatever kids do in the backyard. The restaurant itself brings back that feeling with wooden benches and a wall of windows, letting the evening sun create the illusion of a campground picnic. The food is refreshing and filling, and while you walk away full I never feel like I have a weight sitting in my stomach and I’ve never had a sandwich that didn’t taste remarkably fresh. As it starts to warm up, there’s not a doubt in my mind I’ll be frequenting the drive through for my usual tuna salad and honey malt.

Subway hurt me, but I think I’ve learned to love again. I’m ready to start living again…with regular sub sandwiches and maybe only a novelty donut on special occasions.

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