by Jim Bulls
Coupon for Reedley Sandwich Shop at the end of this article.
As soon as you open the door of 1154 G Street in downtown Reedley, the aroma of fresh-baked cookies hangs heavy in the air. I was immediately transported back to Grandma’s kitchen, but it wasn’t Grandma behind the counter. Jessica McCahill, along with husband Josh, has recently taken over ownership of the restaurant formerly known as “Melinda’s Place” and then “JJ Dukes.” Under the new name “The Reedley Sandwich Shop,” the McCahills have extended the hours and added to the menu. I can tell you from personal experience, that the changes are good ones.
Jessica and Josh are Reedley natives, and their families have been around for a long time as well. They have three children: Julianna, age seven; Jackson, age six; and Jennise, age three (who also happens to be Reedley’s youngest and cutest waitress). Josh is a professional calf roper and owns a bulldozing business, but he helps out with the kids and the restaurant. The McCahills have had no professional restaurant experience, but they thought this might be a good time to try something new. Jessica is a self-confessed “total foodie” and loves the Food Network. The opportunity to take over the business came when Justin Dukes, a sprint car driver and avid fan had the chance to take over the concession stands at the Madera Fair Grounds Speedway. Mandie, an employee of Melinda’s and JJ Dukes, with long-time restaurant experience, is helping “train” Jessica.
Jessica has kept the original clam chowder bread bowl and Melinda’s award-winning chowder recipe, but she has added chili and a soup of the day. Everything is homemade. Jessica’s personal favorite soup is creamy chicken and wild rice. In addition to the subs and cold cut sandwiches, she has also added a smoked tri tip sandwich and a BBQ chicken quesadilla. Both of these dishes feature her homemade BBQ sauce.
Let me digress a moment…long before television I experienced family night out, where we ate supper at Sun King, Punch & Judy or Arrowood’s Palm Café. The only drive-in restaurant in town was The Goody Good on G & 16th streets. Several years later, A&W, Shultz’s, DariDelite and Foster’s Freeze came to town. Remember the Papa, Mama, Teen and Baby burgers at A&W? I love fast food and eating out, but I’m not a culinary connoisseur and I can’t sling words into tasty descriptions that will entice you to drive to Reedley to try a sandwich. I do know what tastes good though, and my first meal at the Reedley Sandwich Shop made my day.
I had the foresight to time my interview for lunch, so I ordered the special which was the smoked tri tip sandwich, with BBQ baked beans and a drink—an excellent choice. Based on previous experience, I asked for tableware, but to my surprise the tri tip was tender and juicy and didn’t need cutlery to navigate the meal. The baked beans could have been a meal in themselves! The BBQ sauce is tangy and not too spicy. The portions were just right because I still had room for a scoop of ice cream.
The McCahills also carry 16 flavors of Bull Dog Ice Cream, produced by the Dairy Processing Unit at Fresno State University. Jessica says “Fresno State makes over 65 flavors that they sell at their farm market. We have 16 of the most popular flavors.” I tried “Bull Dog Tracks,” a flavor any chocolate lover would die for. It’s a creamy concoction of vanilla and chocolate ice cream swirled together with Texas-sized chocolate chips and an occasional bite of peanut better to add a tangy treat as you eat. Besides scoops or cones, you can indulge in a sundae, milkshake, root beer float or banana split with cookies. Please don’t forget those homemade cookies!
The Reedley Sandwich Shop is a welcome change from the usual lunchtime fast food. They are open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the lunch bunch. Every Wednesday night is “Scoop Night”—ice cream is $1/scoop from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. I know that ‘I’ll be back.’ I have 15 more flavors to go (and those homemade cookies)!
Print this coupon and take to the Reedley Sandwich Shop: