As I mentioned in my review of Great Harvest in Boise, they’ve changed their approach to sandwiches over the years. In that regard, the Meridian location is a trip back in time. If you prefer the sandwiches the way they used to make them, using the big round loaves of bread, or if you never got to try them, you can still get them that way at the Meridian store. Unfortunately, what it will cost you is also a bit old-fashioned, which in this regard means about $2 higher than the Boise branch’s newer, saner prices. But is it worth it?
In a word: No. But then, when have I ever been able to confine myself to a single word?
The Meridian branch of Great Harvest is located in the Town and Country plaza, kind of kitty-corner from Walmart on Fairview Avenue. Back when they first opened, I assumed that given the fact that they were on the same street as the Boise location and therefore only a town apart, they must be franchises owned by the same person or people. I’ve revised this opinion over time, because even though they by necessity serve largely the same things on the same days, there are a number of differences. The Boise location has a website, and as I’ve explained has greatly revamped the way they handle their lunch sandwiches. The Meridian location has only a Facebook page, but makes up for it with a broader selection of sandwiches in the old style, and a pleasant dining room in which to eat them (the Boise location shares some outdoor sidewalk seating with Deli George!). In my experience, the bread is more or less equally good at both locations. At the time of my recent visit I hadn’t had a sandwich from the Meridian branch since they first opened, but I’d been wanting to try one of their Turkey Pesto sandwiches for quite some time.
|The Turkey Pesto sandwich|
The menu describes the sandwich thus: Asiago Sourdough, mayo, mustard, pesto, turkey, Swiss – grilled, then topped with tomato, lettuce, onion and a balsamic “dizzle”. I don’t know what a “dizzle” is, but I assumed it was a misspelling of “drizzle”. The wires must have gotten crossed somewhere, because this turned out like a French dip with vinegar au jus. I mean this thing leaked everywhere. It was all over the paper, all over the napkins, and all over the little bag of chips that comes with the sandwich. As far as the grilling goes, the cheese was nicely melted, but the bread only received a few tiny, toasted stripes in the very center. I’m a barbecue fan, so I can handle a messy sandwich, and all of this would have been forgiven had the sandwich tasted good. Unfortunately, the curse of the “dizzle” struck again. About 85% of what I tasted was balsamic, 10% was the sourdough bread, and 5% was set aside for the slight Swiss cheese aftertaste. I tasted no mustard, no mayo, no onion, and certainly no turkey or pesto.
However, I can’t pan the place because their bread is just too good. A few days after the sandwich incident, I went back and picked up some of their Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Bread to have with coffee, and it was absolutely sublime, as is every piece of bread, cookie, muffin or scone I’ve ever had there. I’ll just be sticking with the cheaper, more reliable sandwiches at the Boise branch. Still, I may someday find myself in the neighborhood and thinking it sounds good, in which case I’ll order a custom sandwich…or at least give very specific instructions regarding the “dizzle”.
You are very detailed in your observations. The Meridian Store was opened up in 2007 by the owners of the Boise Location. In 2008 it was sold to new owners and we more or less like to work together to offer similar variety. The Meridian location has seating for sandwiches which is nice, the Boise location (as part of the plan) will also be expanding this summer (2011) to take over Deli George's space when he moves to his new location so we are excited about that! We hope you enjoy what both of our locations have to offer, thanks for the reviews!
Zach-Boise Great Harvest Bread