ahead — run silent, run deep ...
doesn’t take sonar or a fleet of ships to find a good sub around here
Jack “jaQ” Andrews
Occupying a small
section in the part of our brain dominated by pizza and Chinese, the
submarine sandwich may in fact be the perfect take-out food.
Subs come in their own
edible container. They can be eaten with one hand. Many aren’t that
messy, and they come in both hot and cold varieties for all seasons and
moods. They can be meaty, cheesy, veggie and bready all at once, and you
can customize them to your heart’s content.
The sub makers
Spinelli’s Cafe & Subs,
Route 101A in Nashua, specializes in catering to customers’ whims.
“People ask for things
not on the menu all the time. That’s not a problem,” said owner Sam
Brest. You won’t find grilled chicken, for example, on the plastic
placard behind the counter. But before the bird goes into chicken salad,
he can grab a few cuts, add some olive oil and seasonings, and he has
another happy patron.
He’s even added the
occasional item to his repertoire when it proves to be popular. Falafel
is made from deep fried chickpeas that have to be soaked for a day.
Brest groans as he tells the story of his wife encouraging him to serve
it in his shop.
“If it takes off,” he
told her, “you’re making it. I’m not.” It did take off, and she does
still make it – from scratch.
Subs are also easy to
grab for lunch, seemingly no matter where you are. In addition to
selling 600 subs a day at Danelly’s, 87 Allds St., Nashua, Steve Fulton
has about a thousand a day distributed to local gas stations and
convenience stores. In his kitchen sit long rows of bread split open and
bursting with lettuce, ham and roast beef. Each will be cut into five
sandwiches and packaged for retail sales.
Sometimes, the crew
stays up all night making subs.
“I majored in Aviation
and Flight Operations, and look what I’m doing!” Fulton joked. He comes
to it through family – his father started the business, and his sons
work there now. He takes pride in his crew, and says customers greet
them by name, and vice versa.
He doesn’t even mind
competition from brand-name sub chains.
“I love ’em. They
advertise like crazy,” he said. “When Subway sponsors the Super Bowl, we
have a great day. They get you hankering for a sub, are you gonna go
there? Maybe. Or maybe you’ll go to your favorite shop.”
Matthew Thomas isn’t so
big on chains. He just bought The Stuffed Sub, 1293 Elm St., Manchester.
He wants people to feel like a part of the business.
“Every sandwich I make
as if I’m making it for myself,” he said.
Jeremy Nadeau is
another second-generation shop owner. His father Bob opened Nadeau’s in
1969. Jeremy and his cousin Dan have just opened their third Nadeau’s on
Hanover Street in Manchester – and he has a secret weapon.
“Our steak and cheese
put us on the map,” Nadeau said. USDA choice sirloin tip is his meat of
choice, and he’s introducing a new Philly cheesesteak that he promises
“Most places use like a
shaved steak. I buy the meat directly from Philadelphia. I wanted what
they use in Philly,” he said. (As a native of southeast Pennsylvania,
this reporter can tell you – he’s nailed it.)
Advice from the pros
So what’s the secret
to a really great sub? That’s simple.
fresh bread,” Brest said.
“Obviously making sure
everything is fresh,” Thomas agreed.
and cheeses,” Nadeau said. “I won’t buy it if it’s not top-notch.”
“You have to have a
really good roll. All the meats we buy are fresh. We buy directly off
the broker,” Fulton explained.
When you serve hundreds
of subs a day, it’s easy to go through enough ingredients to know that
everything is fresh. What should someone look for in the supermarket?
First off, Brest
advises, don’t buy those packages of soft, white bread rolls.
“A real roll has some
substance to it,” he said. It doesn’t need to be hot out of the oven,
but it should be baked the same day if at all possible.
Your meats need to be
superb, as well, and not what Brest calls “deli meats.” It turns out
that those giant turkey breasts you see all ready for slicing in some
markets might have five or seven separate chucks of meat glued together
with an edible binding agent.
“The more pieces you
have glued together, the more it’ll taste like rubber,” he said.
Several sub shop owners recommend Old Neighborhood Thin & Trim meats.
Brest is also very
selective about his condiments: “I’m real picky about the mayonnaise I
use. It’s thick, it’s not watery. If I change my mayonnaise, the whole
Matthew Thomas has
recently discovered sweet banana peppers and highly recommends them.
“They’re not hot. They
have a sweet vinegary flavor that adds a different kind of taste,”
Steve Fulton of
Danelly’s has one more piece of advice: “From one end of the sandwich to
the other end of the sandwich, it has to be the same. Presentation is
everything. A lot of people eat with their eyes.”
Not only that, but if
you have a glob of pickles in one spot and an overabundance of tomatoes
in another, you get a segregated, ghetto-ized taste experience that
fails to blend the flavors together.
And like America, a sub
draws its strength from diversity.
The best sub shop is,
inevitably, the one on your street corner. In case you’re not lucky
enough to have one of those and you want to go beyond the chains, here
are some of the choice shops in the area.
Bob Shaw’s Italian
Maine Subs — 915 Elm St., Manchester, 622-3723, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.
to 3 p.m.
Caesario’s Pizza & Subs
— 1057 Elm Street, Manchester, 623-8286, Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.
- 5 p.m.
Chelby’s Pizza & Subs —
284 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 669-4329, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.
- 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon - 9 p.m.
Christopher’s Subs &
Pizza — 264 Main Dunstable Road, Nashua, 883-2362 Daily, 11 a.m. - 9
Ciao’s Pizza & Subs —
495 Amherst Street, Nashua, 889-3111, Monday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 10
p.m.; Thursday to Saturday. 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Danelly’s Pizza & Subs
— 87 Allds Street, Nashua, 882-6820, Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Dave’s Cosmic Subs — 10
Lake Ave., Manchester, 623-1555, Daily, 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Merrimack House of
Pizza — 563 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-3003 Sunday to
Thursday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sandwiches — 1093 Elm St., Manchester, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5
p.m.; Saturday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nadeau’s Subs — 100
Cahill Avenue, Manchester, 669-7827, Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. - 9
p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Nadeau’s Subs — 776
Mast Road, Manchester, 623-2650, Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.;
Sunday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Nadeau’s Subs (inside
Mobil Kwik Stop) — 1095 Hanover Street, Manchester, 623-9350, Monday to
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Papa Romano’s Pizza of
Nashua — 189 Kinsley Street, Nashua, 595-4808, Monday to Thursday, 10:30
a.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 10:30 am - 11p.m.; Sunday 4 - 10
Souvlaki Pizza & Subs —
256 Bridge Street, Manchester, 625-9354, Sunday to Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.
- 9 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday, 10:30a.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday, 10:30 a.m.
- 11 p.m.
Spinelli’s Cafe & Subs
— 379 Amherst Street, Nashua, 578-0700, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. - 9
The Stuffed Sub — 1293
Elm Street, Manchester, 622-9090, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
TJ’s Deli — 2
Pittsburgh Drive, Nashua, 883-7770, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.;
Saturday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.