Exploring Ankeny: Where is the best sandwich in town?

As spring appears the desire to go outside increases, and I find myself wanting to explore Ankeny.  One of the best ways to get to know a city is through its food. You can tell a lot about a place by the selection, variety, and offerings of restaurants in an area. Do they only have chain restaurants? Or do they have places that make them unique and special?

I decided to focus my quest on the basic sandwich shop. When looking for a good sandwich, Ankeny of course has the typical offerings of Subway and Jimmy John’s. However, those big chains don’t make Ankeny any different from other places in the Des Moines area.

I was looking for more unique selections. I found three shops in the area that met my requirements. With the locations chosen, my fellow journalists and I took off to taste their offerings, and rate them for your benefit (and our enjoyment).

Main    Palmer’s  Which

Cost   $9-$10 $6-$7 $6-$11

Variety     8 7 9

Atmosphere 10 9 8

Taste 9 7 9

Easy Ordering 9 6 6

Service 10 8 9

Sides Inc. Extra Extra

Average Score 9 7 8

sandwich 1

Main Street Café & Bakery
SCORE: 9 / 10

2510 White Birch Dr.
Suite 1 & 2, Ankeny
Mon – Sun 6am – 9pm

   This is a mom & pop store that offers a selection of breakfast, lunch, and dinner food and a large selection of baked goods.

The Good – The atmosphere was the best of the three shops. They offer big comfortable chairs to sit in and plugs for your phone or laptop if you want to sit and work. Additionally, they are a full bakery with a large selection of treats to choose from. The bakery sells decorated sugar cookies, brownies, and scotcharoos. Dee splurged on a dream bar and we all agreed it was excellent. The food was fresh and delicious and the service was great.

The Bad – The cost is the highest of these three places, but this high cost includes a full sandwich and your choice of any side including soup, salad, or chips. If you want dessert to go along with your meal that will be an extra $3-$4. This place gets expensive fast.

Overall – While the cost for a full meal might keep you from going here, we agree that you should stop in for coffee, tea, or dessert and enjoy the decadent atmosphere.

sandwich 2

Palmer’s Deli & Market
SCORE: 7 / 10

Suite 200, Ankeny
Mon – Fri 8am – 6pm  Sat 8am – 3:30pm

Palmer’s is a small local franchise that has five locations including this one in Ankeny. They offer a selection of sandwiches, salads, and deli salads.

The Good – The store is spacious with plenty of seating. They offer a selection of deli salads, like potato salad, three bean salad, and coleslaw for you to choose from. The sandwiches and salads are made fresh, so they can accommodate special requests or additions if desired.

The Bad – PJ and I got our sandwiches made on ciabatta bread, which we agreed was not good. It was dry and crumbly. Dee had sourdough and said the bread was fine. We went before the lunch rush while only one person making sandwiches. This slowed down service. Also, the way the service counters line the perimeter of the shop can make it confusing where one needs to go to pay.

Overall – The cost of the sandwich was reasonable. The food was decent, and the shop was comfortable.

sandwich 4

Which Wich?
SCORE: 8 / 10

1550 N. Ankeny Blvd.
Suite 114, Ankeny
Mon – Sat 10am – 9pm Sun 10am – 8pm

  A national franchise that only has one location in the Des Moines area. Their focus is sandwiches which you can turn into a salad if you really want.

The Good – This store has a wide variety of sandwiches that you can have prepared hot or cold. They also have a streamlined system for special requests. Brown bags and red markers are available for you to doodle on while you wait for your food to be prepared, which adds to the relaxed atmosphere. If you’re looking for a good basic sandwich, this place has that.

The Bad – The ordering system can be confusing. The different types of sandwiches (Turkey, Italian, Classic) are separated onto different brown bags. Once you find the bag with your type of sandwich, you use a red marker to select from their list of toppings and condiments to customize your sandwich. Of the shops we visited, this is the smallest and it could get crowded during a lunch rush.

Overall – This shop is the best value for your sandwich and offers a large selection of toppings and customizations. Go here for a good sandwich, not a great atmosphere and you won’t be disappointed.

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