Bwana, go home! Jimmy John’s shutters Elmwood Village store

The delight on Jimmy John’s face after killing this tusker is comparable to the delight you will experience eating his gourmet sandwiches, though no longer in the Elmwood Village.

The Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo location of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches has closed after less than two years in operation. No explanation was given by the nationwide Jimmy John’s chain for the failure of its franchise on the busy commercial street, bounded by economically upscale neighborhoods and student housing for Buffalo State College.

The rapid closure may have been related to a joint Reporter/Artvoice story of March, 2016 (“Great White Hunter Opens Sandwich Shop on Elmwood”), which revealed to the local Elmwood community the appalling hobby of multimillionaire owner Jimmy John Liautaud. According to numerous sources, the sandwich tycoon loves to travel to distant places like Africa, seek out big, beautiful, wild animals, and shoot them dead.

In keeping with his notion of “sport,” Mr. Liautaud’s victims allegedly include elephant, rhino, bear, leopard, lynx, wolf, hyena and zebra, according to one hunting magazine.

While this newspaper in no way called for harassment or reprisal in response to the distressing revelations, it was reported on social media that, in the weeks after our story ran, the door and sidewalk in front of the Elmwood Avenue store were covered with spittle.

“I choose to hunt and I choose to fish,” Mr. Liautaud declared in a November, 2015 Chicago Tribune interview. “Everything I’ve done has been totally legal. And the meat has been eaten, if not by me, then by someone…”

Perhaps the sandwich shop closed because the Elmwood lunch time crowd factored that statement into their meal-time deliberations.

“Bad enough another fast food joint is opening in our neighborhood… but this f** f*** is the owner,” responded one critic. “Shame on any neighbor who crosses its threshold (which I expect none will), and the sandwiches probably suck anyway. Let’s hope it fails miserably and closes soon.”

Jimmy John bagged an endangered black rhino, an animal few sandwich shop owners ever get to kill. In recent years, following protests by anti-hunting activists who threatened to not buy their gourmet sandwiches at his shops, Jimmy John Liautaud removed all images he could of his big game hunting exploits. Happily some were preserved by others to permanently record his brave deeds.

Also, “I’ve been complaining about this stupid chain restaurant since I saw the ‘coming soon’ sign. I read about this a**hole’s trophy hunting last summer. It’s disgusting. I hope the Elmwood location is a huge failure.”

An outcome which, in the opinion of many, happily came to pass, with a little push from your favorite independent local newspapers, the Reporter and Artvoice (which is now available online).

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