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The Notorious B.L.T – Farewell to Jimbob’s

Over the Christmas break, we lost one of the greats in Oxford. Not the Classics course, but a true institution. So silently did it slip away into the great shopping street in the sky that one of my friends recently arranged to meet their brother there, only to find that the door was locked and the place deserted. 

Now the adverts are up, and the letting sign is in the window. It is, with great sadness, that we bid farewell to Jimbob’s.

Given this is the Food section, I should probably discuss what made it what it was – the sandwiches. It may not have the range of the ATS, or the flavours of Morton’s, but Jimbob’s gave you what you wanted from a sandwich. For me, nothing could beat the chicken tikka and mango chutney baguette. Mango chutney is indisputably the best bit of an Indian meal, and so the opportunity to have it in sandwich form, for a relatively inexpensive price, is a dream come true. 

Food can make a place worth one visit, but it’s the people that make you keep on coming back.

Occasionally, I might have some bacon cooked right in front of me, accompanied by some brie for a Sunday brunch option, but I always came back to the mango. It was also about the salad, of which Subway’s offering was a poor reflection. With all the salad you could have, it wasn’t a surprise that there was always some leftover in the bag afterwards. Whether it was brunch, lunch, or even dinner, Jimbob’s was there to serve your sandwich needs.  

Of course, for there to be sandwiches there have to be staff. As you may have guessed, the shop was run by the titular Jim and Bob, who could often be seen making the sandwiches and drinks themselves. In a world where managers are often far removed from their customers, it was great to see them there, not least that they brought the chat as well! 

The rest of the staff were also lovely, being more than happy to grab that missing special ingredient, put together your unusual filling/salad combo, or give you that final, sweet sweet stamp on the loyalty card. 

Food can make a place worth one visit, but it’s the people that make you keep on coming back.

The number of visits to Jimbob’s also mean I have some particularly strong memories of heading there. Of most relevance to you, dear reader, was the initial planning for my and my co-Ed’s time in charge of this paper last term. Over the course of some drinks and sandwiches, we decided our plans for the paper, including the sections we were going to have, and the recruitment plans. 

I hope you’ll agree that our time on the paper counts as a big plus in Jimbob’s favour! We also had a great time in the basement café when my coursemates and I celebrated a birthday lunch, being the perfect place to spend some time with friends, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets above. The strength of these memories just go to show us the power of food in connecting us to our past.

While it may have been taken from us, Jimbob’s remains an Oxford institution. Though the bare fridges, fading advertising, and dust seen through the glass are a shadow of what they used to be, the memories are still there, even if the mango chutney going to waste is a true travesty. 

Unfortunately, whether it’s in Oxford, back in my hometown, or anywhere else in the country, the independent shops are going under, and we need to give them the support we can.

Given that Jimbob’s, and its fittings, are still there, however, an opportunity presents itself for a resurrection. Anyone got £45,000 (plus VAT) to run Oxford’s best sandwich shop?

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