Review: Earl of Sandwich at Disneyland Resort

Earl of Sandwich Restaurant at Downtown Disneyland (photo taken during the holiday season)

Ambiance

The history of Earl of Sandwich restaurants traces its foundation to John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, when he came up with the idea of putting meat between two slices of bread in 1762.  According to the company’s website, the family is now in its 11th generation 250 years later.  How do they honor their noble ancestor?  By opening up a chain of fast food eateries, of course.

Workers at Earl of Sandwich putting together orders. (Note the background, a wall of “fresh” Artesian Baked Loaves)

The Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disneyland officially opened November 2, 2012, amid much fanfare.  The restaurant itself seems like an upscale Quiznos, with the food quality marginally better.  Guests are initially greeted at the front by an order taker.  After placing their request, they go along a counter picking up chips, desserts, and/or drinks.  At the end of the serpentine route, they pay for the meal.

Near the end of the line to pay for orders

There is seating both indoors and out.  The interior space is very limited.  However, there’s ample room outside on picnic-style tables under a semi-covered dining area.  Since this is one of the cheapest places to grab a bite in Downtown Disneyland, it’s always crowded.  As such, the noise level can border on raucousness.

Menu

Earl of Sandwich proclaims itself as having “The World’s Greatest Hot Sandwich.”  While I would disagree with their hyperbolical statement, they do offer a nice variety.  The lunch and dinner menu contains 14 different sandwiches, 9 salads, 7 wraps, and a bevy of sides and desserts.  Each sandwich is made to order and comes on their Artesian Baked Loaf.  They have no alcoholic beverages, but have a selection of drinks that is fairly standard for a fast food joint.  Breakfast is also served with a limited menu.

Food and Drinks

I went to Earl of Sandwich for lunch during the holiday season.  As such, a special Holiday Turkey Sandwich was available.  Since I went with my wife, she ordered that while I decided on their signature sandwich, “The Original 1762.”  We also opted for a side salad and a bag of chips, but no dessert.

The Holiday Turkey Sandwich consists of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry jelly.  There is also mayonnaise, lots of it.  As you can tell by the picture, the amount of mayonnaise was very abundant.  Unfortunately there was so much that it actually distorted the flavor of the other ingredients.  I’m unsure if one can request to go light on mayo, but I would ask.  As for the contents of the sandwich, it was flavorful.  The combination reminded me of taking the main components of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and mashing it together between two slices of bread.  Besides the overabundance of mayonnaise, the only minor quibble I had was with the cranberry filling.  It was very sweet with only a slight suggestion of cranberry flavoring.  A bit more tartness would have really balanced the richness of the stuffing and gravy.

Holiday Turkey Sandwich (note the oozing mayonnaise)

The Original 1762 Sandwich was good, but not great.  It came with roast beef, sharp cheddar cheese, and a creamy horseradish sauce.  One of the things that stood out to me was the quality of the meat.  The restaurant claims that it is freshly roasted and by the taste of it, I would not argue.  I enjoyed the contrast of the sharp cheddar and the tanginess of the horseradish sauce.  My only wish was that the horseradish sauce had a little more kick to it.  To me, it was reminiscent of mayonnaise with only an essence of horseradish flavoring.

The Original 1762 Sandwich

As for the side salad, it was pretty run of the mill.  However, there was a lot of vegetables and it was enough for two or more people to split when also eating a sandwich.  It contained a variety of green lettuces, not the standard iceberg, so that was a definite plus.  There were diced cucumbers, Roma tomatoes and croutons (most likely leftover Artesian Baked Loaves cut up from the day before).  It had a choice of dressings, but there was nothing noteworthy to mention.

Earl of Sandwich Side Salad with Croutons

Now for the bad.  While the ingredients inside the sandwich were good, my wife and I both agreed that the bread was a detraction.  There are many fans of their Artesian Baked Loaf, but we’re definitely not of that opinion.  Since I’ve only been here once, it could have been a bad day.  However, the bread really tasted like it was undercooked.  It was kind of doughy, but yet had the internal consistency of corn bread (not the flavor though).  Personally, I would rather have taken the contents of the sandwich and put it inside a fresh baked roll from Subway.

Service

Since this is a fast food establishment, I did not have expectations of a top notch experience.  However, being that this restaurant is located on Disney property, my hope was that the service would be elevated a bit.  Unfortunately, it was apparent that the employees have not been trained by Disney.  It seemed about 2/3 of the workers were actually doing their job, while the rest were goofing around.  I was upset by the two female cashiers because they were actually flirting with some other male employees when I was checking out.  Nevertheless, we did go less than a month after they opened.  As such, perhaps they will weed out the slackers next time I visit.

Overall

If you’re looking for cheap eats in Downtown Disneyland, this is a decent choice.  The food is good and hopefully the service improves.  It is a bit noisy, but that can be expected with a restaurant of this type.  If the weather is nice, the outside patio area is an enjoyable place to sit down and consume your meal.  It’s less expensive than dining in the parks, but it would not be my first choice to eat on a budget.  If anything, I would recommend looking outside the resort.

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