On 11-22-11 I visited PepperJax Grill (2801 Pine Lake Road, Lincoln NE) with my family at 6:30pm for dinner. This is a new Philly sandwich place very near my house. I would call it custom made to order fast food, similar to the way Chipotle makes their burritos. The line was long, way past the queuing area, past the front door and bending into the dining section. There were roughly 64 people in front of us when we got in line. To be honest I am surprised we waited, as there are other good options nearby (Crave review to come sometime soon I hope). It took about a half hour to get up to the first station where you place your order.
Your choices at the beginning are your choice of meet (beef, or chicken), single or double meat, and then your choice of vegetables that are grilled along with the meat (onion, mushroom, green pepper). Your food is grilled in front of you as it moves down the assembly line. At the end they slap some cheese on the meat and pile it into a slightly toasted 12” hoagie roll.
The sauce table follows the cash register and is filled with lots of great stuff. They had several liquid sauces such as Au jus, mushroom sauce, and creole. Then they had toppings/sauce such as Spicy Ranch (my personal favorite), ranch, hearty steak sauce, bold steak sauce, salsa, mustard, ketchup, and many more.
I experimented and found that my perfect mix that night was a bit of au jus, followed by some bold steak sauce inside, followed up with a bit of spicy ranch in place of mayo. This combination proved to be very messy but good. Probably not the best food choice for a first date, but it would be a fun date place because of all the different choices and things to try. I really enjoyed the French fries. They were thin, straight cut, and fried to a perfect crisp. Portions of fries were small by most places standards but with such a large Philly I found that it was about the perfect amount. All of the toppings/sauces were great for dipping too.
Decor and Atmosphere
The place had a nice feel with bright colors, stainless steel, etc. The décor on the walls was neat too. It was many historic photos of Lincoln from the 1950’s and older. It was neat to see the evolution of town while waiting in line. They also had flat screen TVs in a few places as well.
This place is a good value. The sandwiches are large (See picture below) and could easily be split for 2 meals if you ate a portion size with some fries. I believe the cost was about $5.50 for the beef, fries were an additional $1.50 or so. I am guessing that this place will be busy at lunch because of the good value and large portions.
There were a few things that do need improving though. This is a new place and it was obvious that staff was still being trained on what their responsibilities are, so I am really hoping these problems will improve with time. The lines were long, and slow, let’s hope that the hype of a new place dies down and the employees are trained. While the grill team had multiple people, it was essentially made one at a time. I think they will need to improve on the workflow to speed things up to reasonable standards (10 min). The floor was dirty, lots of crumbs, some used napkins, etc. Tables were relatively clean though. I am sure this is just because they were super busy.
To sum it all up, I enjoyed my time at PepperJax Grill. I really think they will smooth out the few problems and have a lean, fast operation up in maybe another month. The food was good for fast food, and a great