Lunch Lizardz – Mortal Men Eat Sandwiches, The Rest Eat Whiffer’s
Who -- or what -- are the Lunch Lizardz: Four guys search for daring and bold lunch sustenance a few times a month. The goal is to please and shock their palates while defeating lunchtime monotony. And then share the results with you -- flexing their creative muscle. In every post, each contributing "author" will briefly share their recent dining experience at a specially-selected local eatery in Sioux Falls or the surrounding area.
Whiffers: 1133 North Minnesota Avenue, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Whiffer’s Sandwiches, a simple, yet somewhat legendary Sioux Falls lunch destination. The name says it all. It’s about Whiffer Randall, the dear woman and her tiny café where she has served satisfying sandwiches and soups for years and years and years.
My S.W.A.G. (scientific wild-ass guess) would be that maybe one in every three people you’d ask in Sioux Falls has been to Whiffer’s. She works out of a small shack turned lunch boutique at the corner of north Minnesota Avenue and west Bailey Street.
Yes, it’s another local eatery located in a sketchy residential neighborhood. What is it about the Lunch Lizardz and our affection for greasy spoons of “the hood”? It’s cuz THESE are the places where you find the true local culture of a city. AIN’T gonna find it on 41st Street!
As we walked from the convenient off-street parking in the back yard of Whiffer’s there was a slight north breeze. My sensitive schnoz picked-up the “whiff” of a Whopper, being char-broiled one block north. Tempted? Yes. But there will ALWAYS be B.K. Not sure how long we’ll have Whiffer’s.
Analog is a term I’d use to describe Whiffer’s. There is absolutely NOTHING digital about it. You order from a hand-chalked menu board. You learn the house rules from various hand-written signs. Two words of advice -- BRING CASH. Ask my fellow Lizardz, J and Jason. Whiffer DOESN’T take American Express (or any plastic). You’re welcome, guys. Thanks for paying me back, J! Now, Jason -- Where’s my $7? Kidding, bro. You can treat me the next 2 times.
Whiffer’s -- Not exactly what you’d expect -- exactly.
The sign on the front entrance reads “Open 11 to 3 (more or less).” In this age of hyper-technology measured and apportioned out in freakish detail, one can’t help but smile at such reckless “inexactness.” Smacks of dare I say, Humanity!
Whiffer’s harkens back to a time before hand-held computers when the importance of measuring exact time and space really just didn’t matter all that much. I’d heard about this relaxed phenomenon from travelers abroad but never experienced firsthand, let alone here at home.
Just getting to Whiffer’s was a journey in “inexactness.” I knew it was up on the north end somewhere. Sure, I could just punch up my iPhone for directions, but what fun would that be?
Instead, I went REALLY Old School with a tactic that rarely works and as such, infuriates the hell out of my wife to no end.
“I can get us within a mile or so,” I said to the guys as we loaded up. “Close enough?” EFFF the High Tech!
North Minnesota Avenue -- grand gateway to the city back when 41st Street was made o’ dirt. As a kid it was understood to get to Sioux Falls you took Russell and turned south on Minnesota. This is where all the prime real estate was before the migration south, west, and now east.
Quite a shame really when I think back to the excitement of descending the big hill on Minnesota with the downtown skyline rising in front -- a view travelers never see from the Interstate. The neighborhood is now “less than chique,” but holding its own, sorta like Whiffer’s.
I recently read where Subway is being sued for their 11 inch footlongs. Someone took a picture with their phone showing their sandwich coming up short next to a tape measure. The thing went viral and now everyone’s screaming for their extra inch.
Yeah, that’s not gonna happen at Whiffer’s. The sandwiches are deli-style BIG. So much so, I went with the half size “Blue Max,” a carnivore’s dream with roast beef and pastrami.
Speaking of, have you had fresh cut Pastrami lately? Not that processed perfectly pre-cut crap. I’m talkin’ the Cadillac of sandwich meats. Marbled throughout like finely cut ribeye steak. So scrumptious it makes me wanna shake the hand and hug the guy who raised it, killed it, and brought it to Whiffer’s. EFFF the Vegans!
Whiffer’s is above all, comforting. We didn’t scarf down our sandwiches in some freaky fast-food frenzy. We relaxed and enjoyed our food in a house on the corner in what could pass for Grandma’s dining room surrounded by Norman Rockwell. We laughed and talked and were transported back in time for just a moment. Long enough to forget we were on the clock.
"What’s a Wiffer?"
"Add an 'H'."
"What’s a WifferH?"
"What’s a Whiffer?"
"A Whiffer is a SHE. And Whiffer makes sandwiches for MEN. And women? Phhhhtt."
The décor -- oh the décor -- it is unmatched. Anywhere. Except maybe your Great Grandma Gunderson’s place in Valley Springs. You haven't been there? Then you don't know Jack. I mean Whiffer. Now head up or down Minnesota Avenue keeping your eyes peeled for a brown house.
So, let me explain how this works. You and your chums are discussing where you want to go for lunch like giddy little school girls. The one thing you're sure about, is you want a SANDWICH!
"Men eat sandwiches," you shout with righteous indignation!
It's the purest form of manly food you explain, continuing like a museum tour guide as your pals nod in one accord.
From the earliest days when men ventured from cave to slay great beast, they ripped a slab of meat straight from the mammoth's hind quarter, slapped it between two pieces of bark and punched each other in the face.
"AAAAARRRRGGHHH," you all shout, raising your fists to the sky!
Then, you go get a sub. With chicken. DID CAVE WIFE WEEN THAT BIRD IN THE BACK 40 AND CAREFULLY DEFEATHER IT FOR YOU TOUGH GUY?!
If you're tired of searching. If you're tired of acting like a dude, but not really FEELING like a dude. If you want to sit around a 500,000 volt power line spool and destroy two slabs of bread bale-wired around a mammoth mound of meat. You've come to the right place.
Yes, MEN eat sandwiches. Mortal Men. Everyone else eats at Whiffers.
Thank you to all of those who powered through the latest Lunch Lizardz dining adventure. Now, go meet Whiffer and have yourself the best portion of meat and bread you've ever had.
The Lunch Lizardz
(Sioux Falls, South Dakota mysterious lunch review crew)