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“Battle of the Sammies: Competing Bread to Bread”

Comparison of Local Sub Shops Around Saint Ignatius

Caleigh Andrews and Claire Mulchrone

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All Ignatians are undoubtedly familiar with the restaurant scene on Taylor Street. With such a bounty of restaurants, students are bound to form their own preferences: Coffee Alley or Starbucks, Big G’s or Papa John’s, and so on. Perhaps the most notorious of these rivalries exists between the multiple sub shops on and around Taylor Street. So, we set out to decide once and for all which restaurant makes the best sandwiches.

For the sake of comparison, we visited three frequented sandwich shops near Saint Ignatius– Subway, Fontano’s, and Jimmy John’s– and ordered the same sandwich at each one. We purchased an Italian sandwich at each shop and made no alterations to each restaurant’s house recipe. A classic Italian sandwich contains at least five basic ingredients: ham, capicola, provolone cheese, Genoa salami, and some sort of Italian vinaigrette, but can also have various alterations. We then rated each sandwich on a scale of one to ten in four categories: bread, meat, ingredients, and convenience.  The sums of each of these ratings represents the sandwiches’ overall scores out of 40.

Caleigh Andrews ’17
All three subs lay side by side.

SUBWAY

The first sandwich we sampled was from Subway. A 6” Italian sandwich from Subway costs $4.40 (pre-tax). Subway’s base recipe consists of salami, pepperoni, and ham, but we also ordered the “suggested” ingredients for an Italian: onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and “Subway Vinaigrette” (no capicola or provolone cheese, although cheese can be made available upon request).

 

Claire Mulchrone ’17
Caleigh Andrews ‘17 takes her first bite of a subway Italian sandwich.

 

Caleigh Andrews ’17
The interior of a subway Italian sandwich.

Caleigh’s Thoughts: My first impression of this sandwich was that it looked unappealing. The pepperoni was a neon orange color, which was especially disconcerting since Italian sandwiches do not typically contain pepperoni. The bread was very soft and didn’t add much substance to the sandwich.  It was loaded with raw onions that overpowered the other ingredients and clouded the flavor profile with acrid taste. The vinaigrette was fine, if a little sour, but was not evenly distributed across the sandwich. This was my least favorite sandwich. That being said, Subway won some convenience points because it was the cheapest and the restaurant closest to school.

 

Claire’s Thoughts: To begin, Subway is conveniently placed near St. Ignatius. However, it was also the most crowded. We waited the longest amount of time at Subway, compared to the competitors, for a sandwich that was not worth it. Visually, the sandwich was unappetizing. After taking a bite, all I tasted were the overpowering onions and the bread.  It consisted of little meat which had no flavor, and the vinaigrette was sparse. The quality standard was low in every aspect. The meat looked extremely processed, as the pepperoni was a bright orange color. My least favorite part of the sandwich was the bread.  It was not only unappealing to the eye, it was so soft and almost mushy.  Plainly speaking, this sandwich just wasn’t good.

 

Ratings:

Bread: 3/10

Meat: 2/10

Ingredients: 2.5/10

Convenience: 7/10

Overall: 14.5/40

 

FONTANO’S

The next sandwich we tried was from local favorite, Fontano’s. A Fontano’s 6” Italian sandwich costs $5.25 (pre-tax), and contains the classic capicola, Genoa salami, Black Forest ham, and provolone cheese, as well as oil, Italian seasonings, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Caleigh Andrews ’17
The interior of a Fontano’s Italian sandwich.

Caleigh’s Thoughts: Definitely the most visually appealing, Fontano’s Italian also had the best meat and ingredients. They slice their deli meats in-house, their tomatoes were thick and meaty, and they use an adequate amount of provolone cheese. However, the bread really killed this sandwich for me. While (unlike Subway) it was strong enough to support the ingredients, the bread was almost rock-hard and made it difficult to bite into and chew the sandwich. Fontano’s is also the farthest from school, situated a few blocks away on Polk Street. While it’s a bit of a hike, their service is relatively quick, the restaurant is spacious, and Ignatius students get a free drink and chips when they present their IDs!

 

Claire’s Thoughts: My first impression was that this sub looked delicious.  It was huge, but the bread was so firm that when I tried to take a bite the contents slid out.  Additionally, the crisp bread scratched the roof of my mouth which was bothersome for the rest of the day.  However, the meat was very good quality, with a lot of flavor, and Fontano’s definitely had the best oil and seasoning to enhance the sandwich.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of mayonnaise on it, ruining the experience for me.  Fontano’s also lost points in convenience as it is the farthest from St. Ignatius.

 

Ratings:

Bread: 4.5/10

Meat: 9/10

Ingredients: 7.5/10

Convenience: 6/10

Overall: 27/40

 

JIMMY JOHN’S

The final sandwich we sampled was from Jimmy John’s, a block west of SICP on Taylor Street. An 8” Italian (AKA the #5: “Vito”) at Jimmy John’s will set you back $6.50 (pre-tax). It lacks ham, but comes with Genoa salami, provolone cheese, capicola, onion, lettuce, tomato, and Italian vinaigrette.

Caleigh Andrews ’17
The interior of a Jimmy John’s Italian sandwich.

Caleigh’s Thoughts: First of all, Jimmy John’s certainly lives up to its promise of being “Freaky Fast.” 32 seconds after I asked for a number five, it was in my hands. It was the priciest sandwich, but also the largest. I loved the bread (crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside) and how it was hollowed out a little bit in order to prevent ingredient fall-out. The meat was flavorful enough, but not necessarily the best. Where this sandwich lost points for me was on the ingredients front: the ingredients were distributed poorly, causing some bites to be all shredded lettuce or peppery onion.

 

Claire’s Thoughts: Jimmy John’s definitely lived up to its motto of being “Freaky Fast” and it was in our hand when we finished paying. However, the expected speed of completion might not allow for proper construction. The contents were very poorly distributed. Either you would get a bite of pure onions and lettuce or of pure meat.  Although, the look and taste of each ingredient proved to be of good quality.  The meat was flavorful and the tomatoes were juicy, a positive for me. The bread adequately complemented the rest of the sandwich. It was firm on the outside and had a soft inside that was hollowed out to perfectly hold the inner contents. It was very obvious to Caleigh that I liked it as she wrote “Claire would not stop eating this sandwich” in her notes.  

 

Ratings:

Bread: 8.5/10

Meat: 7.5/10

Ingredients: 5/10

Convenience: 9.5/10

Overall: 30.5/40

 

FINAL AWARDS

 

Best Bread: Jimmy John’s

Best Meat: Fontano’s

Best Ingredients: Fontano’s

Most Convenient: Jimmy John’s

Overall Winner: Jimmy John’s

Biggest Loser: Subway

 

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“Battle of the Sammies: Competing Bread to Bread”