The next time you’re trying to decide what to feed the family for lunch or dinner and you make your way toward that McDonalds on Gemini Parkway, turn your car into the newest Jason’s Deli location right next door instead. Jason’s Deli, a privately-held restaurant chain based in Houston, Texas plans to open its third Columbus location on Gemini Parkway in the Polaris area on August 1. But Jason’s isn’t just another place to get a sandwich! Jason’s is a breath of fresh air for those of us trying to eat better even when we’re in a rush. I spoke to Daniel Helfman, Director of Public Relations for the chain, who shared with me in his words why Jason’s is special.
In short, three things set Jason’s apart from other restaurants of their type. First is the fact the restaurant menu consists of organic fruits and vegetables. In fact, a third of the foods offered by Jason’s are USDA Certified Organic. Second, in spite of the fallacy that organic necessarily means expensive, Jason’s is affordable. A typical meal consisting of a sandwich, side, and drink will run between $5 and $10. They also offer a manager’s special which consists of a half sandwich, and either soup, fruit, or salad for under $7. Third, portion sizes are typically large enough to allow two people to share or for one to have leftovers to take home, making this meal an even better value. Soup bowls are also generous sizes.
Additionally, Jason’s offers a low-price nitrite-free, artificial-coloring-free kids menu. Honestly, I’m not sure if anywhere else in Columbus can make this claim. Sodium nitrite, typically found in lunch meat, ham, hot dogs, and similar products has been found to break down into cancer-causing chemicals during digestion. Artificial colorings are derived from chemical compounds and have been shown in studies to aggravate allergies as well as ADD and ADHD symptoms. Our children can do without these unnecessary and potentially harmful additives.
Jason’s has also banned several other noxious ingredients from their entire menu including MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup (except for fountain soda beverages), and Trans Fats (a.k.a. hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils). You’ll also notice that all the produce is fresh. With 231 restaurants in 28 states, Jason’s arranges for delivery of fresh organic produce to every restaurant EVERY DAY! That’s right – the salad bar, fruits, pre-made salads, and all the veggie toppings that go on your sandwich or in your pasta were delivered that very day. Going one further than most restaurants trying to serve a healthful menu, not only is the chicken 100% antibiotic free, but also 50% of the beef served at Jason’s is grass-fed. I’ve written many times on the higher proportion of Omega-3 fatty acids you’ll ingest when eating grass-fed beef. Maintaining a healthful Omega-3 to Omega-6 balance is critical to cardiovascular health and optimizing the functioning of your entire immune system. More recently Jason’s added a gluten-free menu! By now you should agree that Jason’s is indeed offering very special food choices.
The restaurants aren’t tiny either. You’ll find seating for between 180 and 200 people in addition to patio seating. Knowing the Polaris clientele like I do (I’m one of them), I asked if Jason’s serves breakfast to which Daniel replied that it is a concept they are testing in some markets but this restaurant will offer lunch and dinner for the time being with hours from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. The menu consists of soups, salads, subs, paninis, wraps, and pasta along with a large salad bar and a wide variety of sides, beverages, and desserts.
In addition to serving lunch and dinner in their restaurants, Jason’s offers a complete catering service for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and can readily accommodate from 50 to 1000 people due to their size and resources. This could be a really welcome choice for the many business offices in the area. To arrange for catering services, contacting the store directly or, if you’re the high-tech sort, you can order through their website, iPhone App, or soon, a new Droid app.
I’ve eaten at the Jason’s Deli in Dublin and I can tell you first hand that the difference in quality is evident in the taste of the food. And you can feel good about eating these wholesome selections. I am delighted that Jason’s is coming to my neighborhood and I hope you will take the time to check it out. During the month of August, Jason’s will be offering a one-time-only grand opening $6 sandwich special to introduce the community to their menu. And as Daniel pointed out, Jason’s doesn’t typically run specials. So if you want to try a few different selections to see which one you like best, take advantage of this special and save a little coin in the process. But definitely check it out.
For more information on the health risks of food additives such as high fructose corn syrup, nitrites, and trans fats, please visit www.toucanfoods.com. For more information on Jason’s Deli, visit their website at www.jasonsdeli.com.