'Toasted' Sandwich Shop Plans Iowa City Location

By Dave DeWitte

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By Becky Ogann

IOWA CITY - Cheba Hut Toasted Subs, a small restaurant chain that frankly doesn't mind if you inhaled, has plans for a restaurant in Iowa City.

The Arizona-based chain announced Wednesday that a store will be opened this fall near the University of Iowa. The store will be operated by the company's first Midwestern franchisee, Midwest Munchie Management LLC, which is owned by David Timmons, Deb Wedemeier and Kent Wedemeier.

Cheba Hut touts itself as "the nation's only counterculture themed restaurant franchise." Its marketing is packed with scarcely veiled references to marijuana use.

Founder Scott Jennings says on the company's web site that he got the idea for the restaurant when he held a job making late-night deliveries near his alma-mater, Arizona State University, and noticed that many customers "were um... inhaling," according to the company's web site.

Jennings decided the inhaling crowd made a distinct market segment that a restaurant chain could go after, and Cheba Hut was born.

The restaurant's menu includes several vegetarian sandwiches, including the "Majic Mushroom" and the "Silver Haze." It also includes the Pakalolo, a sandwich with smoked ham, pineapple, and Swiss cheese, and a spicy turkey sandwich called the Afghani.

"The University of Iowa is a great school and we're looking forward to becoming a part of the college tradition there," Chief Operating Officer Matt Trethewey said in announcing the store.

The specific store location and opening date were not announced, but the Cheba Hut - Iowa City's Facebook page says they plan to open before the fall semester.

The restaurant has a few ingredients such as cream cheese that contain hemp by-products, none of it contains actual marijuana.

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