Biz Beat

Jimmy John’s comes to Modesto, and soon to Turlock

Jimmy John’s sandwich shop has come to Modesto. Located at 1400 Standiford Ave., west of Tully Road, the shop opened Monday.
Jimmy John’s sandwich shop has come to Modesto. Located at 1400 Standiford Ave., west of Tully Road, the shop opened Monday. jfarrow@modbee.com

There’s a Facebook page popular among journalists called “Overheard in the Newsroom.” On it, you can find pithy observations such as this one: “Being a journalist is like being a parent. No one listens to you, but they blame you when they aren’t informed.”

Recently, there was an item about a reporter slamming down a phone, panicked, and announcing bad news: “We’re not in the Jimmy John’s delivery area.”

I wasn’t familiar with the place, so I looked it up. Turns out Jimmy John’s is a popular chain of sandwich restaurants started in 1983 by 19-year-old Jimmy John Liautaud.

According to the website: “After graduating second to last in his high school class, Jimmy knew college was not for him. With a $25,000 loan from his father to open up a business, he chose to open a sub shop.”

Liautaud checked out cookbooks from his local library to make bread, then started making sandwiches and testing them on family. When his business didn’t take off immediately, Liautaud hit the streets, giving away armfuls of sandwiches. Along the way, he obviously found success, as he ended up franchising out restaurants and now the company has 2,000 locations.

And, of course, I am telling you about Jimmy John’s because now we have one here in Modesto.

The newest Jimmy John’s opened on Standiford Avenue on Monday. It’s owned by John and Jill Gauthier and Nate and Mckae King.

John Gauthier, who owns several Little Caesers Pizza franchises in the area, told me his decision to look into Jimmy John’s came from a visit to his son at college in Rexford, Idaho.

“He told me we had to go see this,” Gauthier said. “He took me over there, and I was so impressed with their service, the quality of the food, I thought, ‘I gotta own one of these.’ 

Gauthier went back in January and went through the franchisee interview process.

There are three Jimmy John’s locations in Fresno and one in Sacramento, and there is one under construction in Livermore, Gauthier said.

And he is about to add another one: He is looking at opening in Turlock in about six months. He couldn’t give me a location, because the lease hasn’t been signed, but said he would keep us posted on its progress.

I asked what was so great about Jimmy John’s, and Gauthier said: “They’re freaky fast, and they’re freaky good. Those are their slogans. And it’s true.”

His favorite is the No. 9, the Italian Nightclub. I haven’t tried that one, but I did try others that my colleague, Deke Farrow, purchased for us when he shot the photos that accompany this column. The Pepe and the Billy Club are quite tasty.

Jimmy John’s is at 1400 Standiford Ave. It’s open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and has a drive-thru and delivery. Call 209-526-1111.

Alas, the delivery area has a 5-mile radius. That puts me, like the reporter in “Overheard in the Newsroom,” out of luck here in downtown Modesto.

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