With the recent marijuana legalization in Washington and
Colorado and decriminalization emerging in many regions, stoner culture is swiftly
returning from the fringe. A new restaurant on University Avenue is looking to
take advantage of this growing market as CHeBA Hut, a growing sandwich chain, taking the meaning of toasted to a higher level.
The walls of CHeBA Hut are lined with posters of Jimi
Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley and even the logo of Zig Zag, a rolling paper
company. The music ranges in genre but generally sticks to either a mellow or
psychedelic vibe. With bamboo-like accents and brightly colored walls, CHeBA Hut seems to aim for a tropical bungalow-type aesthetic. It clashes somewhat with
the various American counterculture posters, but it gives the place a
The entire establishment is rife with unabashed references
to marijuana. The napkin holder, for example, has a picture of Oscar from “Sesame Street” with a caption below reading, “I am made of marijuana.” Suggestive
terms everywhere are sandwiched into quotations, ranging from “green” to “toasted.”
The theme is somewhat juvenile in execution, and feels as though it was designed
by a high school student. That said, there is a certain novelty to seeing such
overt references. Marijuana references have been relegated to euphemism in most
media and design, and some might appreciate the CHeBA Hut as a bold counter to
CHeBA Hut’s stands out in that it is completely
family un-friendly. This shouldn’t prove much of an issue to Badgers; in fact,
some might find it alluring. Interestingly, though, CHeBA Hut is open from 10 a.m.
to 10 p.m. every day. It’s surprising such an eatery wouldn’t stay open
later, at least on weekends.
While the University of Wisconsin neighborhood has no shortage of sandwich shops,
CHeBA Hut offers a different experience from most. Many shops are very similar to Jimmy
John’s, with students swearing allegiance to one restaurant or the other based on
the marginal differences between them. CHeBA Hut offers conventional sandwich
choices, such as La Canna, their take on the classic Italian-style sandwich named after a coffee shop in Amsterdam. The joint also offers a
variety of unique sandwiches featuring unusual ingredients, including their token hemp cream
cheese. CHeBA Hut takes pride in personally making much of its seasonings and
sauces, like their marinara and barbecue sauces.
Perhaps one of the greatest draws of CHeBA Hut is the
completeness of its menu. While many restaurants have specialties and then some
items on the periphery for occasional customers, almost everything on CHeBA Hut’s menu is worth buying. Its “incredible munchies” menu, for example, includes some delicious desserts, like hemp seed-topped brownies. Instead of one or
two vegetarian options, the shop boasts five. Nothing on its menu appears to
be an afterthought, and the Hut’s selection is substantially larger than rival
CHeBA Hut employees certainly boost the eatery’s appeal.
Willing to talk your ear off about sandwich choices, how their week is going or
whatever comes to mind, CHeBA Hut has some of the most amicable employees of
any near-campus restaurant. For customers not up for conversation, most tables
have copies of High Times for some
Most restaurants draw a certain type of crowd – and some have
a very specific clientele – generating a love or hate reaction with most
customers. CHeBA Hut is likely to fall into a similar category. To some, it
is a haven: a place to eat after a few rips without judgment, an eatery
specifically catering to stoners rather than the many eateries that at least partially
cater to drinkers. To others, any of the many more mainstream sandwich shops
might remain more attractive. Regardless, the food at the CHeBA Hut is tasty
enough it’s worth at least one hit.