By Diana Bosse for Loveland Beacon

LOVELAND, OH and beyond (January 2, 2024) – The exploits of Diana Bosse continue here on her Loveland Beacon Feature: Destinations2Di4 – West Side is the Best Side…for Double Deckers.

Syl Dwertman with a J&J BLT (Diana Bosse)

The West Side is the Best Side

(at least for double deckers)

Recently I was discussing Bucket Lists with a friend, Lisa, and she told me instead of calling it a Bucket List, she called it her Be List. She explained virtually every experience she had was a chance to “Be” present and enjoy the ride, versus spending her life trying to fill up a proverbial bucket of accomplishments.  I loved that idea and I love Lisa therefore from here on out my list is now going to called The Be List…or in yesterday’s case, called The ABeC’sof eating double decker sandwiches at J and J’s Restaurant. 

Since I live in northern suburb of Cincinnati and Syl lives south of the river, our obvious choice for lunch was a completely out of the way restaurant on the west side of town.

 I grew up in North College Hill, which is considered west since its located west of Vine Street, but it’s not really west in the mind of any true west-sider.  And even though my dear friend, Marlene grew up on the west side and lives there yet again, I still get lost every time I’m Westward-Ho! I can assure you James Edward Oglethorpe (who laid out the squares of Savannah) did not lay out the streets of Westwood, unless he had done so after a couple of pints of ale. Getting lost in Westwood was no different yesterday, despite the benefits of GPS.  WAZE insisted that I pass Glenway turn off Werk onto Federal to get to a restaurant that was actually on Glenway. 

West Side J&J Restaurant (Diana Bosse)

I circled the block so many times I became dizzy before finally spotting the red J & J sign next to the tanning salon (I didn’t realize they still had these things, but then again it is the west side). The good news is that Syl may or may not have been lost, too, because she texted “Almost there!” as I pulled into my parking spot. 

I seated myself at a clean, comfortable booth just inside the door so I could keep an eye out for Syl. Within 10 seconds, a friendly waitress asked if I’d be dining alone and if she could get me something to drink.  I was thrilled to learn they had Pepsi products, because I had a hankering for a Diet Pepsi.  Since I’m still having heart palpitations, I’m trying to wean myself off high octane Mountain Dew and since I’d be having a huge sandwich for lunch, I was hoping the diet soda would fuel my need for caffeine without calories.

Syl arrived and within another seven seconds the waitress reappeared and asked if we were ready to order. After learning J & J’s specialty was their BLT’s as well as ham and beef double deckers, the decision was easy for me.  I had eaten a BLT for lunch the day before. 

An easy decision for Diana – J&J’s Ham-n-Roast Beef DD (Diana Bosse)

Bring on Wilber and Bessie, please!  I swear it was less than a minute before the very friendly and very efficient waitress brought our meals.  Service with a smile is definitely the motto at J and J!  I don’t think our sandwiches could have been made fresher and delivered any quicker if we had sat back in the kitchen next to the beef slicer (yes, they slice their own roast beef). After eyeing a double decker the equivalent of Mt. Everest, I was in a quandary.  I asked the waitress for a box to set aside half and she brought two in as many seconds. I then began to deconstruct the remaining half on my plate, setting aside a big pile of roast beef to take home to Manny Carl (my cat who loves my husband more than me…or at least until I present him with this treat). Once I rebuilt the sandwich to fit into my mouth, I dove in. 

Honestly, I cannot tell you exactly why, it was better than Silverton Café and Blue Ash Chili.  

It might have been the tender, juicy ham, it may have been flavorful sliced roast beef free of any gristle, it may have been just the right amount of mayo or the perfectly toasted white bread.  Whatever it was, it worked!  And it worked just as hard as the waitress whose name I did not catch because she was a blur.  She stopped by mid-meal to check in and to see if we needed refills on our drinks.  People have told me I’m a strong woman, but trying to cut back on caffeine and soda pop is a true test of my will.  The good thing is my mouth was completely full of food, so I was able to simply shake my head “No” before I caved and asked for a Styrofoam to-go cup.

Syl also had no trouble filling her own mouth with bacon, lettuce and tomato but we still managed to have some great conversation over the hour or so we spent at J and J. The total check was only $30.80, which considering my share alone was enough for three lunches and four cat treats. What a deal! One thing to remember, however, about J and J is they only take cash.  Regardless, this little west side gem is right on the money!

Open up the Loveland Beacon for the next edition of Diana’s Destinations2Di4 coming up in the Thursday, January 4th. Thanks for reading. 

Diana Bosse: In her own words – 

Diana Bosse has jotted notes in her diary, written thousands of grocery lists, hundreds of Facebook posts, a few articles in company newsletters as well as The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Island Packet, Ladies Home Journal and Women’s Day. In 2019 she published her first New York Times Best Seller (well, that’s a stretch, but she’s still hoping), The Perks of Having Cancer.

Diana grew up on the west side of Cincinnati and did what few West-siders ever do – she crossed Vine Street and moved to Loveland in 1990, where she lived for 31 glorious years.  (Editor’s Note: Also where Diana fought and survived cancer.)

Her plan in retirement is to move to South Carolina.  One morning, about a year prior to THE.BIG.MOVE.SOUTH, she had a panic attack when she realized there were many places in Tri-State area she had yet to explore.  Thus, her gastronomical and intriguing adventures began.

Thanks for traveling  along with Diana on her journey through diners, drive-ins, dives, quirky museums and off-the-beaten path destinations in our beautiful town and beyond. Buckle up your seat belt, undo your trouser belt, and enjoy Destinations2Di4!