Date of Review 2005-11-01, 11:38 a.m.
Sandwich name Elvis' Rockin' Reuben
Price Per Reuben (PPR) $6.99
Reuben Delivery Time (RDT) 18 minutes 
Reuben Dimensions 16x11.5x5 cm (920 cm3
Included side items French fries or onion rings
Bulk to cost ratio 132 cm3/dollar 


Reuben Ingredient Matrix (RIM) Rye bread Corned beef Swiss cheese Sauerkraut 1000 Island
Joe's Shelby Street Diner X X X X X on side

Description (taken from the menu):
Elvis' Rockin' Reuben: Corn beef [sic] piled high on toasted french bread, topped with sauerkraut and swiss cheese, served with french fries.

Sandwich presentation:
The sandwich was served on a plate lined with wax paper, uncut, but skewered by a large serrated knife that protruded from the top slice of bread. back on a white plate next to three pickle slices. There was a piece of Swiss cheese against the bottom slice of bread, followed by a heap of sauerkraut. This was followed by a layer of corned beef topped with another heap of sauerkraut and slice of Swiss beneath the top slice of bread.

Reuben Eater Rankings
Brad Bruno B B+ B+ A A B+
Matthew Durkee C- A B+ B- A+ B-
Larry Jahnke C- B B A B C
Jim Kidd A+ A A+ A+ A+ A+
Carl Klutzke B A A- B+ A A-
Chris Rowland B A B+ B- A+ A-
Katherine Rowland A- A A B+ A- A
Summary B A A- B+ A B+

Reuben Ruminations:

: One of the best 50's diners in town! But... way, way, way too much sauerkraut, enough to feed a small third world country! A 6 inch tall sandwich and 99% of that was kraut. Should be labeled the Giant Kraut with a pinch of meat sandwich. OK, done ranting. It did taste good (after dumping the 9 metric tons of kraut) and the O rings were tasty as well. Service was above average too. Overall scoring a B+. ()

: Kraut may now be an endangered species. I believe we had more sauerkraut on these sandwiches than one would expect on 10 Reubens. It was crazy. I believe it all stems from their desire to sell "Giant" sandwiches. Since kraut is the cheapest ingredient in a Reuben, that is where they go "big". Keep in mind this was not due to sloppy sandwich making. The guy manning the grill was truly a master. He was fast and all our sandwiches were uniform, this was not a construction flaw but rather one of design. They want this sandwich to crush under a mountan of kraut. I did not like this sandwich, but it was cheap. ()

: Although this was a very quaint place that put you in the mindset of being in a time gone by, there is no way to qualify this Reuben experience with a positive twist. Yes... the 50's lunch counter, decor, and the Wurlitzer were food for the eyes, but that alone doesn't make the grub taste better.... at least not to me. The seating was inordinately cramped which made me feel like I was invading everyone else's space. I was in a position to observe the sandwich preparation and was amazed at the amount of sauerkraut that was piled on each half on the grill. I thought the halves were to be topped with a slice of marble rye when I watched the grill master start flipping each huge mound onto another huge mound. They appeared to be at least three inches thick sitting on the grill. I missed the other preparation since it didn't catch my attention until I saw the heaps of kraut steaming away. When my plate arrived, it was heaped with fries, but no pickle. Oh yeah... raspberry tea didn't exist in the 50's and since I don't drink carbonated, water was the fluid of choice. This was not a Reuben.... this was a sauerkraut sandwich that had condiments consisting of a low grade corned beef and a cheese that looked like ricotta. There was little flavor to be had other than kraut on decimated rye... I even flipped it when it arrived and it still sogged out. The packet dressing was not appropriate for a Reuben since it had bits of bell pepper (?) in it. The fries weren't bad, however they were probably dropped in the same oil as the onion rings since that's what they tasted like. I can't be kind about this experience. The conversation was great, but the sandwich met crapola status. ()

: The diner is a throwback to the older style small restaurants that popped up all over the landscape during the late '50s and early '60s. It reminded me of the first time I ate a hamburger. I was in second grade (I think) and my uncle Leroy took me to the 'HiHo' diner in Greenville SC. It was the kind of place where you sat on a stool at the counter and watched your food being cooked. Sometimes, I can still taste how good that first cheeseburger was. This place is sort of a memorial to all those diners. Although the 'HiHo' diner was fairly subdued, Joe's is a splashy colorful memory of what was fun and happy about the '50s. Coke advertising is garishly displayed in every view of the interior. I especially like the clear ceiling fans with blue neon lighting. A modernized jukebox plays CDs instead of 45s, otherwise it is historically accurate. Legends of the '50s are clearly central to the theme of the place. If you are a male customer, be sure to check out the James Dean memorial john; although females might get a kick out of it too. It looks like a fun place to go and pretend you are a teenager again. Of course you would have to be in your mid-sixties to appreciate the ambience of the joint. No matter however, younger patrons will be swept up in the moment too. So here we were sitting and talking and generally enjoying each other's company while we waited for Elvis' Rockin' Reuben. I had a clear view of the grill and could clearly see what was coming. The presentation was watching that sandwich being prepared. I could barely suppress my joy at what I was seeing. A veritable mountain of sauerkraut was being simmered, the sound of slice after slice of corned beef being thrown on the grill made a sizzle that I still hear in the silence. And then came the Reubens. Most of us ordered onion rings to go with the meal. They were okay, just not like the ones at Cracker Barrel, but good nonetheless. I wished there were more however. The Reuben was unbelievable (just as Elvis liked them I suppose) and finally enough kraut for even my picky desires. I had to eat some of it with a fork; the meat was sandwiched between two thick layers of kraut. The Swiss cheese appeared to be a soft spreadable variety. Its flavor (the cheese) was completely masked by the nearly overpowering flavor of kraut. The bread was darkly toasted, but not burned at all. They provide you with a tear open bag of 1000 island dressing, so you can put on just the right amount. I used up three napkins during the course of the meal. When we left I was completely full. The picture above doesn't give the Reuben justice. If you're driving that way, stop in and get one; just make sure you won't be operating heavy machinery later in the day. These things make you dozy. ()

: Before you even enter the restaurant, it's obvious that this establishment has a strong 1950s theme. At the door you'll notice a couple of unusual signs: "Cash Only" and "Thank you for smoking." Despite the latter sign, and ashtrays on each very small table (with four of us in our booth, I really had to hold my elbows in), I didn't notice a smoky odor inside. I did however notice more 50s Americana and Coca-Cola gear on every surface. And this isn't a large place, although it looks like if you go to the left when you enter you can get to an expanded dining area that opens into a screened porch in the summer. From our table, next to the Wurlitzer jukebox, I could see behind the counter for the length of the main building, and so I was treated to the unusual sight of watching our Reubens as they were made. And these Reubens were unusual. I've never seen so much kraut in one place before. It was piled an inch thick on each grilling slice of marbled rye, and when it was served the beef was sandwiched in between. The sandwich came out on a platter covered with waxed paper. I had to cut my sandwich with a knife to get manageable bites, and I believe I may have also cut and eaten some of the paper in the process; it's hard to be certain, as there was waxed-paper and kraut carnage all over when I was done. Marzetti Thousand Island dressing was provided in packets: I didn't like its flavor, it had too much of a bell-peppery twang (and yes, I could occasionally taste it over the kraut). I had the decent but unexceptional onion rings as my side; I noticed on the menu that you could order them "by the foot", but I'm not sure what that means. The waitress offered a slice of lemon with my water, and was quite polite and helpful: I felt bad that I left her such a skimpy tip, but I just barely had cash to cover my meal. All in all it was a mixed bag: good service, good sandwich, cramped seating, bad dressing. If I return I'll bring more cash, skip the dressing, and see if I can get in that seating area on the left. ()

: When you enter this restaurant, you can't help but think to yourself "this is a 50s place." Partly from the big sign atop Joe's stating "it's a 50s place", but also from the working jukebox, Coca-Cola signage, and other vintage decor such as the James Dean-themed men's room. The Reuben was listed on a sign of "giant" sandwiches offered. I must say I was really impressed by the presentation of the Reuben. I have never been presented with one that was pierced by a huge knife, as though the cook had just hunted one down out back--I liked it. All that comes to mind when I think about this Reuben is sauerkraut. I don't know who their supplier is, but Joe's must be their number one customer. We were pleased to see that even though the menu said the Reuben was on French bread, it was on some sort of marbled bread that may have been rye. The Thousand Island on the side was a packet of T. Marzetti's that couldn't hold up to the massive kraut mountain. My wife finished her Reuben and there was enough sauerkraut left on her plate to make several more Reubens--maybe kind of a loaves and fishes thing they have going on there. I was also pleased that we could get onion rings included with our lunch in place of the fries mentioned in the menu, because the rings were excellent! ()

: In the menu, it was just a reuben, but on the 'Specials' board it was a 'giant reuben,' and I must say that the latter designation won out in the flesh. This was like the mammoth Reuben that we all thought had been extinct since the Ice Age. It was served on a real plate that had been coated with waxed paper, perhaps to protect the plate from the resultant gore of plunging a steak knife to the hilt into the heart of the sandwich. The sandwich exuded...nay, wallowed in...sauerkraut. The kraut covered the sandwich, threaded its way through the bread, and spilled out to drape about the sandwich in graceful folds. The sandwich did not come with thousand island dressing, and it cried out for the moisture and tang. Sadly, the proffered packets of T. Marzetti's dressing didn't do the trick. It wasn't sweet enough, and seemed to add a peppery, metallic note to the sandwich. I can only describe the meat as "a wad of corned beef." It was plentiful but not necessarily evenly spread out, resulting in lumps here and there of more corned beef than cabbage. When I finished the sandwich, I had at least a cup of sauerkraut lingering on my plate. I ignored it and gave my full attention to the splendid onion rings. Overall, the food was very good (if very kraut-heavy). The setting, though, was cramped. I was awfully glad that I was married to the guy sitting next to me, since I had to sit almost in his lap the entire time. As it was, I had to play kneesies with his coworker a couple of times. Now, yes, you could think that this would lend the setting an air of jollity and cameraderie. Be that as it may, I'm awfully fond of not playing kneesies. Also, the last thing any less-than-trim gal wants to see staring at her in the powder room is a portrait of Marilyn "You'll-Never-Look-Like-Me, Fattie" Monroe. ()