This Sandwich Chain Claims to Be ‘West Coast Original’ Despite Being Founded in Marquette, Michigan
Hey Togo's, why you got to do Michigan dirty like this? The iconic West Coast sandwich chain Togo's with about 170 locations in California and Oregon has used 'West Coast Original' as their slogan, so it might be quite a shock to know the chain traces its roots back to Marquette and students at Northern Michigan University.
Visuals at the restaurant will claim they have been around since 1971. Well, maybe this iteration of the chain. The original Togo's was founded in 1964 in Marquette. The story, as told on the San Jose History Facebook page goes,
In 1964, two students of Northern Michigan University, Tom Neumann and Gordon Reed, opened the first Togo's in Marquette, Michigan. The origin of the name is twofold. The two co-founders combined parts of their first names, the "TO" from Tom and "GO" from Gordon. Additionally, the original shop had no seating, so all of the orders were "to go."...
Reed moved to San Jose, California and in 1968 again opened a shop named Togo'...
In 1971 the shop was purchased by Mike Cobler, a local San Jose State University student.
So it's this 1971 sale to which the current West Coast chain traces its history. What about Marquette? The locations in Michigan (one in downtown Marquette, and one just outside the city) have been going strong for over 50 years but clearly share little today with its California cousin.
Here's a look at the Marquette location:
The chain certainly has love across California. Check out these YouTube videos that will give you a taste of the chain, even if you've never had a chance to experience them first hand.
Take a look at some ready-for-TV Michigan restaurants. They have all been featured on the Food Network: