It’s inevitable… if you get a reputation to be “into” food, you’re going to get recommendations. And one of the big recommendations I get anytime I mention that I’m going to be downtown is “you gotta go get lunch at EJ’s.”
Not that I’m a stranger to the sandwich-soup-salad shop in the old Lions Club building. Not at all. Friends have taken me many times, and I try to drop by when I have business in the Metropolitan Tower building. Problem has been that I tend to leave the camera packed away.
That’s because EJ’s Eats and Drinks is one of those local joints that’s way past being casual. It’s just “one of those places,” like a good bar (think “Cheers” for the sandwich set). The eclectic mix of dead comedian pics on the walls, the strange pinkness of the exposed second story, the laid back wait staff and the plethora of familiar faces just holler “don’t get so comfortable you take off your shoes in here.” It’s nice.
I do dig on their Reuben and their Big Steak sandwiches ($7.25 regular or $8.50 footlong). And their cornmeal-breaded onion rings ($2.75) are tasty. This trip around, though, I decided to try out EJ’s Cheeseburger ($6.25) and was pleased with the offering -- a decent patty cooked medium well with a choice of cheese, a couple of slices of tomato, chunks of lettuce and a thin slice through a purple onion.
But what really stands out are the chips… EJ’s makes its own, and seasons them, too (regular, BBQ or ranch). They come free with the sandwiches and burgers (though you can upgrade to fries or soup) and… well, there’s just something about a fresh skin-on potato chip just fried and dusted with sweet seasoning… it’s just… well… good. It’s thoughtful, much moreso than those places that put a twisted slice of orange or a sprig of parsley on a plate to jazz it up.
Maybe that’s why folks keep coming back. ‘Course, could be all the reliable choices on the menu, too. Oh, they have dessert, too -- but it’s something different every day -- cookies for 50 cents, brownies of different sorts for $1.50, and usually some pie or cheesecake or something else. The cookies and brownies are individually wrapped and available at checkout -- so you can grab one to go as you scuttle back off to the workplace. You’ll find it at the corner of Center and 6th, two blocks off Broadway. They do the call-ahead thing (501) 666-3700 -- and you can check them out on the web.