Courtesy Togo's Eateries
Saturday, July 28, 2012 | 2 a.m.
The already-crowded Las Vegas sandwich scene is about to have a new competitor as West Coast staple Togo’s Eateries plans an expansion into the market early next year.
Founded in 1971 in a shack near San Jose State University, Togo’s has developed a cult following through the decades, thanks to its healthy portions and fresh ingredients, CEO Tony Gioia said.
“When you have a Togo’s sandwich, it actually looks like the picture on the menu board. It’s overflowing with meat,” Gioia said.
The company aims to build 10 to 15 locations in the Las Vegas area, Gioia said, and is interviewing franchisees and scouting locations in hopes of opening its first store early next year. Togo's previously operated a store on Lake Mead Boulevard and Buffalo Drive in the late 1990s when it was owned by a different parent company, but that location has since closed.
Most of Togo’s 245 stores are concentrated in California, but the company recently has been extending its reach into Oregon, Washington and Sparks.
“We love Las Vegas and want to be there. We think it’s a great opportunity in a growing market,” Gioia said. “Especially during an economic downturn, people want value. Our value is great service, a great store, great food and lots of it.”
Unlike many shops that use an assembly-line process when making sandwiches, Gioia said Togo’s sticks to a more traditional deli-style experience where one employee builds a customer’s sandwich from start to finish.
“Our sandwich-maker takes the time to handcraft the sandwich, made specially for you,” he said.
Togo’s menu covers all the sandwich shop staples, from roast beef and turkey to meatball and Italian subs. The menu also includes salads, wraps and soups.
The chain’s most popular sandwiches include the turkey and avocado, made with fresh mashed Hass avocados, and the pastrami, featuring meat made according to Togo’s special recipe, Gioia said.
Although many Las Vegans’ sandwich loyalties lie with local favorite Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and its Thanksgiving-inspired Bobbie, Gioia said he’s confident residents would find Togo’s a tasty alternative.
“We have a lot of competitors, and there are other sandwiches that taste good,” he said. “But where’s the beef? When you have a Togo’s sandwich, you are satisfied big time. There’s no smoke and mirrors.”