Trading in an Accounting Career for a Which Wich in Pasadena

Large, meaty sandwiches are the name of the game at Which Wich.
Large, meaty sandwiches are the name of the game at Which Wich. Photo courtesy of Which Wich

Shannon McCain had been eating at the Which Wich in Pasadena since she first started dating her husband, her then-boyfriend, back in 2011.  While the couple obsessed over the sandwiches there — "I was a pretty basic turkey person," McCain says, with a "Buffalo Chicken guy" — they never thought they'd actually own the shop one day.

But such is now the case. The couple grew increasingly obsessed with the sandwiches at Which Wich over the years, eating them all the time. They were sad to watch the shop go rather downhill and close up in the last year, but in early summer, they decided to buy it. McCain even left her job as an accountant to run the shop. As of October 9, the Pasadena Which Wich is back open under her watchful eye.
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First time franchisee Shannon McCain.
Photo courtesy of Shannon McCain

"We knew what we were getting into," she tells the Houston Press. "We're trying to win back customers that gave up on this place." McCain and her husband, both Deer Park natives, are hoping to resurrect the reputation of the place. "We're just trying to overcome the former bad vibes. I've had at least one person call me and tell me, 'Last time I was there it was really bad, but my coworkers said I should give it another try.'"  She sees that as a good sign already.

Which Wich is a Dallas-based franchise chain that started in 2003, and now has around 500 locations worldwide. Each location offers large, customizable sandwiches, wraps and shakes made with real ice cream from an actual ice cream dipping cabinet.

While McCain was familiar with devouring her favorite sandwiches, the Cobb and the Philly, she didn't actually know how to make them. For that, she attended Wich University, a training program in Dallas, for four weeks in August, including during Hurricane Harvey. "That was pretty hard," she admits on being away from home during the storm — their cat had to ride out the storm alone.

While in her two weeks of operation so far she hasn't had any major unforeseen challenges, she does admit that she didn't realize it would take so much time to train staff. "I haven't even had time to do the books or get on the computer," McCain says, noting that marketing is the next thing she'll tackle. Until then, her main responsibility remains working hands on with staff. "I want to have a great staff and promote people from within." There could be plans for expanding in the future, but for now she's still adjusting to working on her feet — the long hours aren't too bad considering how she would work 90-hour weeks during tax season. "But that was all at a desk."  Weight loss, it turns out, is one unexpected bonus of becoming a sandwich shop owner.

Which Wich, 5716 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena
Hours: Closed Tuesday. Open Wednesday to Monday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.