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Dining out: Riley's

Published: Friday, Oct. 24 2008 1:01 a.m. MDT

During our meal at Riley's, I kept expecting something distinctive, but in vain.
This West Jordan eatery has a modern and inviting dining space and quick and friendly service whipping up the four S's: sandwiches, shakes, salads and soup. But the food itself is unexceptional: Nothing's wrong with it, exactly, but nothing stands out.
The menu at Riley's is simple: a column of possible sandwich choices, a few salads, one or two soups a day and lots of shake combinations in the time-honored Utah style you'll find at Jake's Over the Top, Iceberg, Arctic Circle and lots of other local burger joints. In fact, it was a little odd having cold sandwiches served with shakes — there are no hot sandwiches on the menu. I found myself wanting a patty melt, or even a grilled cheese, or some nice hot fries, to balance out the chill.
Of course, they do have warm soups, though only one — potato cheese — was on offer on the night we visited. Though it was too thick and gluey for my taste, the soup had a good flavor, very cheesy with little bits of bacon throughout. What our two portions of soup were missing was potatoes: we excavated only a couple of chunks from the depths of our bowls.
I also had the half turkey and cranberry sandwich: good, whole-fruit cranberry sauce; lousy turkey. The turkey was that slick, thin-sliced kind that has practically no flavor, and aside from mayo the turkey and cranberries were the only things on the sandwich. That would work fine with a nice, thick slice of meat straight off the bird, maybe seasoned with a little salt and pepper, but it made this sandwich taste like cranberry was its only filling.
Two of my daughters shared a tuna sandwich, which I liked for its strong tuna flavor. But again, nothing stood out. The average-quality water-packed tuna, mayo, provolone cheese and lettuce made the kind of sandwich you'd put together in your home kitchen with little trouble. In fact, my homemade tuna salad, which often has veggies chopped into it, has more going for it than the stuff at Riley's. I bet yours does, too.
The soft wheat bread on which our sandwiches were served was of decent quality, the kind many of us buy at the supermarket unless we've been seduced by the more substantial delights of, say, Great Harvest's honey whole wheat.
My husband had the ham and cheddar, which featured a few slices of high-quality Black Forest ham, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce and "special dressing." Again, the sandwich tasted fine. It was the kind of thing I've packed in many a lunch sack. It's just that, for $5.49, I couldn't help but expect more.
I noticed that most of the customers who came in while we ate were ordering shakes alone, and beverages are a strength at Riley's. I enjoyed my Coca-Cola with a squirt of vanilla added in; Riley's also offers fresh lime, cherry and grape flavors in drinks. And we all liked our shakes — mint Oreo, chocolate and chocolate-banana malt.
Soup $3.79; salads $2.79-$5.89; sides and add-ons 35 cents-$1.29; sandwiches (whole and half sizes) $1.99-$5.79; shakes $3.29-$3.79; desserts $1.19-$2.99.

Rating: **
Where: 8133 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Closed Sunday
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Phone: 566-4855
Web: rileyssandwiches.com
Wheelchair access: Easy
Also: Catering available


Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com

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