When I learned that Dad’s Sandwich Shop had taken over J’s Café at 10th and J Streets I was excited to see a local favorite expand---bringing their inventive sandwich creations to the downtown breakfast and lunch crowd. I thought a visit was definitely in order.
This version of Dad’s is not a clone of Dad’s Sandwich Shop, though the same people own it. It’s a conglomeration of its previous incarnation J’s Café—a traditional burgers-and-fries diner with the addition of just a handful of Dad’s most popular sandwiches and salads. To tell the truth, the place feels like it’s having a bit of an identity crisis.
Looks? The interior hasn’t changed a bit. It’s got none of the original Dad’s charm yet. It’s a long narrow room, crowded with tables and big plastic folding chairs. Functional, not fashionable. The menus are posted on the walls. The old grill menu is there with the Dad’s sandwich offerings and breakfast selections right next to it on large boards. I noticed a few things missing right off the bat. One: Dad’s Sandwiches. There are only ten of Dad’s 24 famous sandwiches to have made it over to J Street. Two: Vegetarian selections. There are two. Dad’s Sandwich Shop has a fantastic vegetarian sandwich called the Green Machine, not to mention their great egg salad but they’re not on the menu at the J Street location.
The combination lunches from the J Café menu are reportedly the same prices as before the ownership change and come with standard frozen fries and a drink. Conversely, the Dad’s sandwiches come with no sides but are about the same price.
We tried the patty melt combo—it was a nice sized burger—well done, unfortunately—served with sautéed mushrooms and onions and two kinds of cheese on grilled rye. The burger was sadly, dry, and lacked seasoning but the addition of mushrooms and extra cheese was nice. Though the fries were nothing special, there were plenty enough to share.
We also ordered an old Dad’s favorite—the Lockdown—a tasty sandwichwith chicken, bacon, blue cheese, red onion, and roasted mushrooms on toasted wheat bread. We felt a little let down that the sandwich wasn’t as loaded as ones we’ve ordered before at the S Street sandwich shop—in fact, it seemed a bit skimpy for over seven bucks.
Maybe what Dad’s on J needs is more time? More time to convert from the old to the new. More time to inject some of the old Dad’s Sandwich Shop vibe into the place, and into the menu. Like adding more of Dad’s signature sandwiches. What after all, is Dad’s, without the Dad’s Sandwich menu?
Dad’s on J
1004 J St
Sacramento, CA 95814