Chēba Hut

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Cheba ext

I’m probably one of only a few people who went through college and grad school in the 1970s without ever smoking pot. I’ll probably be invited to be a keynote speaker someday.

It’s not like I was vice adverse. My dorm room had plenty of illicitness within. Just not pot.

So a lot of the insider-jokes and terminology on the menu at Chēba Hut, a marijuana-themed sandwich shop, might be lost on me. (Most, but not all – some of the potheads on my floor were my best friends, so I experienced it secondhand, so to speak.)

Cheba sign

To be clear, there is no pot or THC or or CBD in any of the food; this is merely a weed-themed restaurant. Menu items and other references are simply meant as winks and nudges (the word cheeba means marijuana).

So you’ll see the “toasted subs” with names like Jamaican Red, Acapulco Gold and Dank, or a vegetarian option called Magic Mushroom, which steps off the theme a bit; prospective franchisees are invited to “own a joint.”

The good news is, the developers didn’t just put all of their efforts into being cute. They also were determined, apparently, to make good sandwiches.

They begin with good bread, as all sandwiches should. The Parisian style white, whole wheat or garlic herb rolls are baked, according to the website, “by a bakery that has been in the business for over 50 years.” That would seem to suggest that the bread is not baked locally. (The original Chēba Hut is in Tempe, Ariz., home of ASU, the country’s largest university; it stands to reason that Orlando’s is near UCF, the country’s second-largest.) Indeed, a manager verified that the bread is shipped in – the company uses Vie de France – but that did not affect the quality of the sandwiches I sampled.

Cheba Italian

I ordered the La Canna, a take on an Italian sub with smoked ham, Genoa salami and prosciutto with provolone and black olives, which gave it a muffuletta sort of flavory, plus lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles. It also had Chēba Shake, a proprietary blend that is parmesan cheese based and on just about all of the sandwiches, plus a light vinaigrette.

Cheba kali

I also had the Kali Mist, a spicy option with thinly sliced turkey breast, bacon and a chipotle infused mayo. There were nice chunks of avocado and pepper jack cheese, which also gave it a bit of a kick (jalapeño peppers helped, too). Both sandwiches were good but I liked the Italian a little more.

Sandwiches are available in three sizes: nug (four-inch), pinner (eight-inch) and blunt (12-inch). (See, right there, I would have assumed blunt would be the shortest.)

There were three or four workers behind the counter when I dropped in to place my order but only one person seemed to be making sandwiches. So it took about 12 minutes after placing the order for my name to be called to come to the counter to pick it up. The staff were all amiable and each wore a mask that left their noses exposed. (There’s a reason Covid tests use a nasal swab.)

Cheba counter

There is ample room indoors if you want to eat your sandwiches there. And there’s even a separate bar with several beers on tap, perfect for while you’re waiting for your order.

You think I’d say no to a cold beer? What are you, high?

Chēba Hut is at 12100 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-250-4120.

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