First Look: Submarina is Just a Sliced to Order Version of Subway

Submarina Store Front

Hello, my name is Chris, and I have a problem. I am (forgive me Zach) hopelessly addicted to Subway® sandwiches. Admission of guilt is the first step, and identifying a moral substitute for our shortcomings is the… 6th step? (I could never pay attention in those meetings). This is how I found myself as one of the first customers at the newly opened Submarina. Yes, like Subway, Submarina is a chain – perhaps less evil than the aforementioned sandwich shop, with only 78 national locations (vs. 33,346), an unassuming mission statement, and a suitably proletariat past. But my quest was to kick my $5 foot long habit, and I was lucky enough to pass by Submarina yesterday, which happened to be in the middle of their grand opening.

Submarina Interior

The format of Submarina should not be a foreign concept to anyone who’s set foot in a Subway restaurant. Select your protein and dairy fillings from the standard list of deli staples, choose between French, wheat or “squaw” (slightly sweet multi-grain) breads, apply vegetation and condiments. Order sandwich and stand back to gawk at the décor – the garish red and glossy yellow palette of colors, which, if found in the animal kingdom, would likely serve as a cautionary indicator to the unsavory nature of the adorned critter (think: Coral snakes, Amazonian poison dart frogs, etc).

Submarina Prep

On this initial visit, I was compelled to order the signature 9” ‘Cali’ sub ($5.89 for the 6”, protracted by 3 inches for an additional $2). Said sandwich sported tender and thinly sliced turkey, generously applied microwaved bacon, diminishing avocado and barely noticeable provolone cheese. A la Subway, one can augment their sub with the usual suspects of sides – predictably wan shredded iceberg lettuce, industrially sliced tomatoes, sprouts, onions, giardiniera, etc. A standard assortment of sauces (mayo, mustard, etc), are available at your discretion.

Submarina Sandwich

As I ate my lunch, I struck a conversation with the franchise General Manager. My principal question – “what differentiates Submarina from a Subway restaurant?” The manager proudly recited the bullet points: the most relevant being that the meat is sliced to order (possibly slowing down operations?), preventing microbial infestation that pre-sliced deli meats are allegedly susceptible to. Also, the bread is made from scratch and baked in their Queens location on a daily basis, as opposed to Subway’s practice of using frozen dough. I should add that this bread is far from artisanal, possessing the over-processed, over-refined, and monotonous quality as its main competitor.

Submarina probably won’t be a cure-all for those afflicted with an addiction to chain hoagie joints. And as of this inaugural assessment, it’s likely not a destination Midtown lunch venue. However, it’s a “safe” pick to take co-workers that are squeamish to street meat, but tired of the regular Financier, Pret, Café Metro rotation… as long as there isn’t a Subway® location closer to your office.

Submarina, 62 W. 56th (btw. 5+6th), 212-247-0025


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    only problem is that there is a Subway on the same block.

  • there’s a store that sells the exact same thing but cheaper! it’s called Subway.

  • so its exactly like Blimpies(which slices to order)?

    impressive writing that you can say it sucks without actually saying the words.

  • Hoagie! ah!!! that’s so jersey!!!
    Tell me, does submarina smell like subway?
    if only these places could get the bread right. crunchy on the outside, soft and doughy on the it that hard? ny needs awesome sandwich shops.

  • they also offer “same day service” and “fere pickup delivery?” sweet.

  • Stve, great article…but I am still not going there. lol

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    hmm so wait, if this is more like blimpies than subways, which is better? this or blimpies?

    • i’ve actually never eaten at a Blimpie. I limit my chain sandwich consumption strictly to Subway… or Jimmy Johns if i’m traveling.

      • now we’re talking. i see ads in the WSJ for JJs franchises all the time. no idea why they dont expand to NYC.

        mmm, country club, FTW!

      • At the risk of destroying my food credibility, i’ll state that the #9 (Italian club) with hot peppers and a Jimmy pickle is high on my list of death row meals.

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        Just need to chime in to say YES to Jimmy Johns. Whenever I travel the first thing I do is check to see if there’s a JJ’s near where I’m staying. And it’s usually the first place I go to eat when I visit friends and family in Michigan. They saved me many a late night in college.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Someone needs to open a sub store with touch screen ordering.

    • The only time i’ve ever gotten food poisoning in the US was from a WaWa sandwich in Virginia. The touch (screen) of death I tell ya.

  • i hope they sanitize that ish.

  • Im from NJ and I’ve only ever said “sub”. Never in my life said hoagie. I thought that was a Philly thing?

  • “Grinder” in some parts of New England.

  • It reminds me of Blimpies.


    Hoagies and grinders…hoagies and grinders…

  • Sheetz and Wawa do a far better job.

    • MMMMMM Sheetz. I went to college in VA and went to Sheetz almost every day (Harrisonburg didn’t have many options). But I grew to love it. I get a steak & cheese every time I go back. Sheetz would do very well up here, especially in Hoboken. (it’s primarily a gas station, for those not familiar).

  • “On this initial visit, I was compelled to order the signature 9” ‘Cali’ sub”. I don’t want to venture into DocChuck territory here but can’t help but voice my distaste for this writing. “I was compelled to order” is the passive voice; “I ordered” would do nicely or, if you must, “I decided to order”.

  • I went there Tuesday. I had the Trio or whatever they call it. It’s ham, turkey, and roast beef. The sandwich was OK. It was appropriately filling. It was no better than Subway and certainly not better than Blimpie. It’s also more expensive than Subway which is only a few stores away. I would stick with Subway, or even better I’d go to Pro-hot Korean which is right next door.

    I was also unimpressed with their menu. It seems like all they sell is turkey and avocados. Most of their sandwiches seem to contain those ingredients. The menu is limited and unimpressive.

    As far as the “microbial” issue, I think there’s food safety concerns with this place which I mentioned to the GM. They slice all the meat on the same slicer without cleaning it. Then they put the meat down on random locations on the counter. That doesn’t seem sanitary. You’ll also notice in the third picture that the sandwich is on the counter. They put the sandwich there and drag it along. Just before my sandiwch was made the girl wiped down the counter with a rag which came from under the counter. I mentioned this to the GM and he said the rags are sanitized. I almost laughed in his face. It would be better if they put the sandwich on the wrapper and then dragged it across the counter.

    I think there’s a lot better food options on this block (Pro-hot Korean, Subway, Afghan Kebab) and even more on 55th St.

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