With today's lunch we completed a full circumnavigation of the DLZ and were pulled in by the first of a few chain restaurants that will be caught up in the MSG150. Specialty's is in the base of Paul Alan's swanky office building next to Union Station. As we left the office, Dave repeated a number of good arguments that we could use to amend rule #1 so that we could avoid these chains, but we are committed to eating at every restaurant in the ID and Specialty's is no exception. Dave stayed behind.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Hot Italian - $6.25
Specialty's is a chain out of San Francisco that is capitalizing on putting "gourmet" delis with fresh baked goods into high rent office parks and business districts. They are focused on serving the business workers and do so by making it easy to cater meetings and order pick-up on the web. Their web site claims that they often get discounts on rent because a good deli improves the value of the office space. You order at the counter and the sandwiches is delivered to-go out of a magical sandwich cave. There is limited seating inside at stools along the window.
If I were in an office park, miles from decent food, I might be glad if there were a Specialty's near by, but I'm not. I work in a location where I can eat a month of lunches at different places that I think are much better than average and be served by the owners.
Specialty's has good cookies and the sandwiches are fine, but not good as the $2.50 sub at the S&FB and a lot more expensive.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Hot Italian - $6.25
Meh. My first experience at Specialty's was meh, so I wasn't particularly looking forward to this second visit. However, I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. The guy taking my order was a bit too smug for my taste. He had a sarcastic look on his face, spoke with that faux-pleasantness-I'm-better-than-you attitude that always pisses me off. We're not at the Apple Store dude! Anyhoo, he took my order quickly and professionally, so I headed over to the bullpen to collect my food.
I ordered the Hot Italian and a cookie. Oh the cookies. I know they're good, but we're here to judge the lunch, not the dessert. The sandwich was good. Not great, but tasty. The bread was the best part, the Hot Italian came on a nice focaccia with a good mix of veggies and meat. The sandwich wasn't too hot though, I think they just toasted the bread or something.
The cookie was great.
So though good, for sandwiches I'd prefer Subway, Quiznos, Tats, and Salumi to Specialty's. But if my friends are going, I'll tag along.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Hot Cheesy Steak - $6.35
Can you say "out of place"? Specialty's doesn't really fit the mold of the places we're going. Whatever, its in the DLZ.
I've been here before, so I knew I wanted to get one of their "hot" sandwiches. I got the Hot Cheesy Steak Sandwich, which was a nice and flavorful. What would you expect on a Hot Cheesy Steak Sandwich? Roast Beef. Cheese. Hotness. But they put lots of other stuff on there too: Provolone, Plain Cream Cheese, Red Onion, Mushroom, Mixed Bell Peppers, Pepperoncini, Toasted Country Ciabatta Roll, Mayonnaise, Stone Ground Mustard, Roast Beef.(from their sandwiches page)
In general, I'm not a big fan of chain restaurants. As far as chains go, this is decent.
Fast service. Accepts Credit Card. Slightly Expensive for what you get. Basically, it gets a rating of "meh." Basically, there is nothing wrong with the place.
Luncher: RobLunch: The Mediterranean - $7.25
Specialty's. Good thing Chinatown is now called the International District, otherwise this chain sandwich and bakery place wouldn't be allowed. Yeah, the sandwiches I've had there have been a mixed bag, and they've all had a certain oily edge to them, for better or for worse. The Mediterranean -- "new!" -- was pretty good. Ingredients were fresh, and the overall taste was good, but, in the end, there's nothing I found particularly special about it. It's just a regular old lunch. With kalamata olives. I guess that's one special thing about this sandwich -- I think it's the first I've seen with kalamata olives. One odd thing about their thyme focaccia bread: there is a sprinkling of salt on top. It's good salt and seems to go with the sandwich, but I'm just generally not a big fan of salt on my bread. Their freshly baked cookies are quite good, though. Mmm, cookies.
I was tempted to skip out on Specialty's, but the next handful of restaurants definitely don't serve my kind. So this will be my last lunch with the MSG150 crowd until Made in Kitchen, which I'm quite looking forward to. I wish my fellow lunchers the best of luck at the Maxang Deli.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Hot Hammer - $7.75
Specialty's Cafe & Bakery PhotosSpecialty's Cafe & Bakery
Specialty's Cafe & Bakery
The Bakery Part
The Sandwich Part
Hot Italian (AKA Fabio)
Hot Cheesy Steak