Veggie Boy: Cheba Hut

By Benjamin Leatherman

The four-inch version of the "Majik Mushroom."

I’m not a pothead. In fact, I’ve never tried grass in my life.

Ever. Not even once.

Now don’t go thinking I’m sort of stodgy, anti-drug fundamentalist. Some of my best friends in the world smoke the reefer (including one sickly bud that needs it to get an appetite) and I’m totally cool with that. (Amongst my Whitman’s Sample of friends, they’re the one’s that usually have bloodshot eyes and punctuate every other sentence with the word “man”…no joke).

It’s just that marijuana has never interested me.

And that’s probably the reason why I don’t exactly understand or appreciate all the myriad ganja gags and references on display at local pot-themed sub shop Cheba Hut (960 West University Drive in Tempe, 480-446-0088). The joint (no pun intended) is covered in Cheech and Chong posters, pictures of marijuana leaves, articles about the benefits of hemp, and other 420-releated ephemera. Sure, I’ve heard plenty of jokes about getting the munchies and whatnot, but it’s just not my bag, baby.

What I do understand is that the toasted subs served up by the locally-owned chain (which has five other Arizona locations) are some of the best in the Valley.

Fitting with its theme, the sammies come in three different sizes: the four-inch “nugs,” eight-inch “pinners,” and foot-long “blunts.” Cheba Hut has also been a godsend to me, as I’ve noshed on each of the shop’s six different vegetarian subs numerous times over the last couple months. The sammy I’m usually shoving into my cake-hole more often than not is the “Majic Mushroom.” The sandwich artists at Cheba Hut can either build it with the exact ingredients listed on the menu (thick slices of portobello mushrooms, pineapple, bell peppers, pepper jack cheese), or they can add on various other veggies and cheese per your specifications. (Or as the Cheba Hut Web site says, “feel free to cross breed”). They’re big on sprouts and more nutritious vegetables here, which is aces in my book. You can also get your sammy made with a choice of white, wheat, or a ultra-delicious garlic-and-herb bread. (Go for the latter, you won’t be disappointed)

Here’s a rundown of some of their other vegetarian sandwiches, ranked in order of my personal preference:

-- The “Humboldt”: Guacamole, sprouts, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and cheese.

-- The “Silver Haze”: Hummus, cucumbers, sprouts, swiss, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes.

-- The “Griefo”: a concoction of hemp cream cheese, mushrooms, pickles, guacamole, sprouts, olives, tomatoes, and lettuce.

-- The “Train Wreck”: Feta cheese, greek dressing, olives, tomatoes, garlic butter or a marinara sauce.

While I’ll never get to fully appreciate what it’s like to chow down on these gems after polishing off a bowl, at least I can live vicariously through my pothead friends. They’ve told me it’s some of the best shit they’ve ever tasted…man.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.