A small but growing Ohio-based chain, the 20 locations of W.G. Gridners brand themselves more like bars than Grinder houses. Walking in the doors you find yourself surrounded by televisions blaring sports, neon lights and a pool table. Beer cans from around the world decorate the rafters and with a dining room open late, it’s easy to forget you’re here to get a sandwich. Still, W.G. Grinder’s seems to cater to a younger niche market, and I would argue it is doing so effectively.
The colorful eatery specializes primarily in pizza, wings, Stromboli and pastas, but a lot of deli-style items can be found there, as well. By far, though, the most popular item you’ll find is the Grinders. And, according to managers and employees, the Original Italian “outsells everything else, three to one.” This should come as no surprise. What to try:
- The Original Italian Grinder might be the best sub I’ve eaten in Athens and Columbus. With a lot of competition from larger chains in town, it’s astounding I can say this. Nonetheless, the Grinder comes crunchier and more satisfying than even a custom-built sub elsewhere.
- Baked Chicken Grinder: One of the healthier sandwiches served with some cheese and onions. Very simple, the chicken doesn’t have a lot of other flavors to it, but is still good.
- Pulled Pork Grinder: Served with a light barbecue sauce and some cheese atop it, I highly recommend this sub with the cole slaw as a side.
- Stromboli: Very crispy and served with a sweet tomato sauce. That crust is just so crispy, it’s great.
There are other items on the menu, but the Grinders are the number one item. Try a meatball sub or a cheese steak if you’re feeling adventurous. The number of chicken, turkey and fish offerings are impressive, particularly considering they are relatively healthy. Pizzas and wings don’t look impressive, but the other deli items have potential. Cole slaw, chicken salad and other house-made sides are a great substitute for chips or some other less healthy alternative. A lot can be said for a place with as much variety as this one, it’s really very surprising.
With the aforementioned environment, one would imagine this kind of eatery would bring in the younger generation at the expense of older folks, but I was surprised to find it full of groups of older people during the busy lunch hour, with fewer college kids from the nearby campus. Maybe it’s just a sign of the generation gap; younger people wanting their food delivered while the older crowd doesn’t mind going and getting it.
With so much going on in the kitchen and dining room alike, W.G. Grinders has a lot going on. With such a cool environment and genuinely good food, it’s hard not to find something to like about this place. Give it a shot.
- W.G. Grinders has a lot on the menu, and with so much going on, it’s good to give a few things a try. There are hot sellers for sure, but many other good items dot the menu.
- The restaurant delivers, so if you’re not up for the flashy atmosphere get a Grinder delivered to your home.
- Otherwise, don’t be afraid to dine in. The atmosphere of this place seems to cater to younger folks but a variety of older people seem to like this place as well.