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Wicked ’Wich

Wicked ’Wich

545 Downtown Plaza #2095
Sacramento, CA 95814

Good for: flavorful panini and daytime meals to-go

Notable dishes: Barros Luco sandwich, grilled PB&J

Wicked ’Wich was one of the first modern-day food trucks on the local scene, circa 2011. They made memorable mile-high, Pittsburgh-style sandwiches laden with French fries. Then the brand expanded to include Broderick Roadhouse and a brick-and-mortar Wicked ’Wich downtown.

Now, the truck is no more, but the Broderick restaurant group includes Trick Pony, Capital Dime and a future Midtown roadhouse in the old Wahoo’s location. The Downtown Plaza cafe is gone, but a new Wicked ’Wich opened in the West Sacramento Community Center in early March.

It’s a lot to keep track of.

Which may explain why the current Wicked ’Wich seems like a bit of an afterthought.

It’s ideal to have a little coffee and sandwich cafe in the new community center, what with City Hall across the street and the Los Rios college campus next door. But on all of our visits, the cafe lacked customers.

Wicked ’Wich is open only on weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It offers breakfast pastries from the Village Bakery in Davis and coffee from Lavazza. With all our area roasting options, it seems odd not to have a more local brew available. However, they do have a clever “happy hour” from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., when diners can enjoy a free coffee with any pastry purchase.

Hot breakfast items include a breakfast panini with frittata, cheese and a spicy Fresno chili aioli. Or, you can start the day with a sugar jolt via the Nutella-and-banana panini with cinnamon sugar. Steel-cut oats in two sizes are also offered, with seasonal fruit and brown sugar.

Actually, the panini are the cafe’s best items. They’re much smaller than the food truck monsters, but deliciously crispy and warm.

The Barros Luco includes chipotle-and-coffee-rubbed beef, Jack cheese, chimichurri sauce and that Fresno aioli. It oozes red oil and leaves your tongue smarting with the multiple forms of chile heat. The French roll holds up well to the panini press.

Another option is the jerk chicken, with cabbage slaw, Fresno aioli and Jack cheese. It is less assertive than the beef, but has some tang from the citrus marinade and slaw.

The Sandwich de Chola sports braised pork shoulder, Jack cheese, Fresno aioli (surprise!), carrots and onions, hot sauce, cabbage, radish and cilantro. It’s a lot of flavors layered together and comes off so spicy that it’s hard to eat the whole thing. If you’re a chile head, though, have at it.

All the panini are $8 to $11, without sides, which is a bit pricey for their size. There are several options for upscale chips and sodas.

For cold sandwiches, the choices are lackluster: portobello mushroom and avocado, ham and cheddar, turkey and Jack. Don’t miss the PB&J, though. You can order crunchy or smooth PB, wheat or white bread, grape or mixed-berry jam, and get it grilled or cold. A crunchy with berry on wheat is just fun to eat.

There’s a daily soup, but a cream of mushroom didn’t wow us. Another option is a salad. The Cobb with blue cheese vinaigrette is a good version, with mixed greens, moist chicken and perfectly fresh avocado. Oddly, the hard-boiled egg and tomatoes were missing from ours.

The cafe makes its own gigantic Rice Krispies Treats. We tried a savory version with peanut butter and bacon, but there was so much bacon that the other flavors were absent. I hardly ever want less bacon, but in this case, it was necessary.

Since the panini are the best items, how well will they sell when it gets hot out? You’d think they might have learned a bit about quick service from running a food truck, but it’s really slow for a place that’s so deserted. Right now, Wicked ’Wich seems a bit of an afterthought in the otherwise praiseworthy Broderick group. Hopefully, they’ll find their niche.