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Chowdown Showdown: Submerging Oneself in Sub Sandwiches

Subs are anything but straight forward, and Chowdown Showdown aims to compare three national chains.

After where I chose a dish that is really pretty much identical everywhere, I thought that I would regroup with something a little more complex – chili. It’s the season for chili, and I have no idea where to go for the best bowl. I’ll provide a service, I thought.  

The next day I had Quizno’s for lunch, and chili for dinner. The next day was Subway, then chili.  

The race was on.  

I ended up getting Jimmy John’s at my wife’s request two days later, and so here we are. I’ll look forward to chili next week.  

Quizno’s of today is hardly what Quizno’s of yore was.  It used to be a little more costly, but a substantial meal with flavor in every fiber of its being. It was a taste and texture sensation, and when it came to Yorkville I was thrilled. Over the last several years, Quizno’s has tried to become cheaper (probably) to compete with Subway, and has become a different animal.

I ordered the Traditional, which comes with turkey, ham, roast beef, and provolone. Quizno’s still hasn’t lost its edge in taste. I keep wanting to start this sentence with “Dude,” it was so delicious. It’s like… It’s like… 

It’s good. But it seems to be even smaller of a sandwich now than it was just a year ago. The length hasn’t changed, but the width is now down to maybe a pair of breadsticks. The olives were amazing, and the vegetables were all very fresh. High marks in general. 

The Quizno’s Good: The flavors and textures.
The Quizno’s Bad: The sandwich size really makes it more of a side-dish than a main entrée. 

Subway continues to smell like Subway, I’m happy to report. I guess it had been a while since I’d really been inside a Subway as well because the smell instantly took me back to simpler times, when the only combo they had was a sandwich (the cold cut trio used to be called the cold cut combo), and there were 2 choices of bread.  The smell of onions penetrating the smells from the oven added in, and my mouth was watering like a fish. I seriously almost drowned. 

That wasn’t serious at all, I don’t know why I said that. 

I went with the turkey and ham and some provolone. I love the topping choices at Subway. I had mine piled high with spinach, some lettuce, red onion, green pepper, and mayo. It was bomb-diggety, the good stuff.  Soft and tasty wheat bread was the party piece. Very satisfying sandwich. 

The Subway Good: Vegetable choices that leave me strong to the finish. You know, because I eats me spinach.
The Subway Bad: The Subway smell. My wife detected it on me later. That’s not my favorite thing about Subway. 

Jimmy John’s is an Illinois success story. You may not have known that. Jimmy John Liautaud is a real dude, and his first shop was in Charleston, IL. (In fact, they're looking for photographs of the original shop. If you have one, it could get you a $50 gift card.) The company has its headquarters in Champaign, although very recently Jimmy John Liautaud threatened to move the company to Florida in protest of Illinois taxes. 

Jimmy John Liautaud is not a subtle man, you may have gathered.   

Anyway, I ordered up the number 14, which is turkey and roast beef, and paid extra for the provolone. I added sprouts to mine because I’m funky, and had onions added and tomatoes subtracted. It was phenomenally satisfying to consume. Not only was it delicious, but filling. I’m pretty sure they give you more meat than the other joints, and that’s pretty crucial to me.    

It’s also freaky fast, which is something you don’t really get to appreciate in shop as much as when you order delivery. 

The Jimmy John’s Good: Sprouts. You may dislike them, but I flippin’ love ‘em.
The Jimmy John’s Bad: I just don’t require my sandwiches to be that cold. 

And the winner is … I’m going to give this one to Quizno’s because, despite the let-downs over the past several years, I still firmly believe a toasted sub to be a superior sub. You just can’t beat the taste and texture of Quizno’s.

Steve Eisnaugle November 08, 2011 at 09:29 PM
If you want a real sandwich come try Froots Panini!

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