Root Beer Joe's is a refreshing sandwich shop that somehow skipped our radars when it opened in Pasadena this past April. Owner Joe Wong tells us this is his very first restaurant, and though he did "once work at Arby's", the majority of his days were spent in accounting. Wong left that world to introduce Southern California to "the garlicky sandwich," a San Francisco treat that he and his family long enjoyed in their native NorCal. Sandwiches here include a selection of different meats (including beefs roasted and corned, Italian cuts, turkey, and ham) placed in a choice of rolls (Dutch crunch bread is the one to get) which are doused in both a garlic sauce and a pepper sauce, which Wong says he's "never found down here," despite being common Frisco fare. And then there's Wong's real passion: Root beer.
Housed in the British Burlington Arcade, Joe's specializes in a nostalgia of much more North American charm. He typically serves about six to eight different root beers from the bottle (Pasadena Weekly cites Galco's as the source) and Wong stresses that he changes the flavors regularly, only holding on to the ones that are "the most popular," which currently include Eric Asimov's favorite, fire-brewed Sprecher's, and very popular Bulldog. At any given time, he may have a buttersctoch or honey-flavored root beer, though you're unlikely to see the one with jalapeno oil that Wong just wants to forget.
The store also carries frozen yogurt from Yocream, typically stocking four to six flavors of what Wong says is a "creamier" yogurt much more like ice cream than what it typically found. The store, which we admit has us foaming at the mouth from name alone, is open seven days a week and precently extended its hours to serve from 11:00 A.M-6:00 P.M. See Root Beer Joe's menu online
and track it on Facebook.
Root Beer Joe's at 380 S. Lake St. #106 Pasadena. 626-844-3488.