NEW ALBANY — Southern Indiana will soon have a new option for customized sandwiches in New Albany.
Sellersburg couple Hope and Josh Bergen are preparing to open a Which Wich Superior Sandwiches shop at 3531 Grant Line Road. The business, which is scheduled to open July 29, will be the first of the national sandwich chain to open in Floyd and Clark counties. Construction started on the building in March, and the restaurant is currently hiring staff.
The sandwich shop's menu offers both specialty and build-your-own options, and customers can choose from a variety of ingredients for their sandwiches, wraps or salads. The menu also features milkshakes and other dessert options.
Hope, a Jeffersonville High School graduate, said they began the process of opening a new Which Wich shop in 2016 when they were living in Florida, but after moving to Southern Indiana a couple years ago, they decided to open the New Albany location. The sandwich shop is part of a development by arc Construction Management, and it is part of the construction company's recent Grant Line Road development that also includes SkyLine Chili.
Hope is also a U.S. Army veteran, serving for five years, including in Operation Desert Storm. She said the couple is excited to bring the Which Wich concept to New Albany, and she and her husband plan to eventually open two more of the sandwich shops in Southern Indiana.
"We're just excited," she said. "We want to bring more restaurant opportunities to the area and more jobs to the area and more things to eat," she said. "I just hope that the area really enjoys the concept and the superior sandwiches."
Matt Kennedy, Which Wich real estate manager, said while the company has a presence in Louisville, he is excited for the sandwich chain to expand into Southern Indiana.
"New Albany is great for us," he said. "It reaches so many different areas in that Louisville and lower Indiana market. We see a lot of potential from a commuter standpoint. As the city continues to grow, we can see the potential for another location in and around the west side of [Interstate] 65 and the major corridors there with other restaurants."
The shop will be one of few free-standing locations in the sandwich franchise. While the sandwich shops are generally located in shopping centers or within other businesses, the new restaurant is housed in a standalone building.
Unlike most of the shops, the New Albany Which Wich will also feature a drive-thru. Customers will be able to use a touch screen to customize their sandwiches and complete their orders at kiosks both inside the restaurant and at the drive-thru. Customers will be able to pay for their meal using the touch screens, as well.
Which Wich typically features customizable paper bags for customers to mark their orders inside, but the new location will be primarily focused on automated orders, according to Hope. In addition to helping the overall community customize their orders, the touch screens will help those who are hearing impaired by breaking down communication barriers at the drive-thru, Josh said.
"I don't care if it's just two people — it will give them a little more freedom," he said.
Alan Muncy, president of arc Construction Management, said his company's goal is to bring progressive developments to the area, including the addition of businesses such as Which Wich and Skyline Chili that are new to Southern Indiana.
"This will be a welcome addition to the market," he said. "This will be one of the first free-standing Which Wichs with a drive-thru in the country."
The Bergens believe the sandwich shop's proximity to Indiana University Southeast will attract both customers and staff, and they have already seen plenty of interest in jobs from both New Albany High School students and IUS students, Josh said. The restaurant will employ about 30 staff members.
Josh, who also works as president of a data protection company in the hospitality industry, said Which Wich is "not a typical sub shop," and his family was drawn to the shop's "superior sandwiches" when they were looking into owning a franchise. He said the shop will be involved in charitable services through the company's Project PB&J to distribute meals to those in need.
Hope said she believes the community will enjoy the family-friendly vibe and culture of Which Wich.
"We want to have a really fun environment and atmosphere for our workers as well as our customers," she said. "It will be very inviting and welcoming."