New Subway offers fresh twist — pizza, pasta, boneless wings
Sam Patel owns three Subway restaurants.
All three — one in Columbia, Mt. Pleasant and Summertown — offer fast service with fresh results.
I can’t ever remember being served a stale Subway sandwich.
Patel’s newest restaurant opened last week at the corner of James Campbell Boulevard and Campbellsville Pike in Columbia with a different name, Subway & Mama DeLuca’s Pizza. He closed the location next to Planet Fitness.
The decision to combine Subway’s sandwiches with Mama DeLuca’s pizza and pasta was an idea made in fast-food heaven by the corporate giants in 2011, but it came to Columbia for the first time last week.
I have been back three times since the grand opening Wednesday. I’ve tried the sandwiches, pizza, pasta, bread sticks and boneless chicken wings. They were all as good as expected, with the pizza and pasta exceeding expectations.
My son worked for Subway in Arizona two years, so I ate sandwiches and salads from the store at least once a week. He could buy them for a 50 percent discount. I’m partial to tuna, ham and roast beef.
But I’m at the point where I’ve seen it all when it comes to Subway sandwiches. There might be thousands of possible Subway sandwich combinations. I’ve tried a large percentage of them, one time with every sauce spread on a foot-long ham (after being challenged by my other son).
The pasta with a bread stick was the star of the new menu for me. It came out hot and inviting less than five minutes after ordering it. There was enough to split with someone or taking home for lunch the next afternoon.
The Chicken Alfredo was as tasty as an order I had at Olive Garden earlier in August.
You might chuckle at the thought of Mama DeLuca’s $8 menu, standing side by side with Olive Garden’s $15.49. You shouldn’t. You’ll be laughing all the way to the bank, just as satisfied, with your $7.49 savings if you’re not worried about eating unlimited salad and breadsticks or listening to Dean Martin crooning on the side. Deano was popular in his time.
“This is a new, Fresh Forward store,” Patel said, using Subway’s buzzword. “I wanted to be the first Subway operator in this area to have this concept.”
Patel visited a Fresh Forward restaurant in Knoxville, the first in the state with the Subway & Mama DeLuca’s combination. He liked the idea of reduced cost of investment by having sandwiches and pizza in the same store. The made-to-order, made-in-front-of-you design looks impressive.
“People like it,” Patel said. “Every single customer [on opening day] said they loved it,” Patel said.
Patel called over his very first customer, Donnie Joe Cothron, and asked for his review.
“It was really good,” Cothron said of the pizza he ordered. “They made it in less than two minutes.”
My pizza took about five minutes to make and cook. It came out a little doughier than I like. I enjoy thinner and crisper, as Pizza Hut used to advertise years ago. But the sauce and ingredients from Mama DeLuca’s made it memorable. My pizza maker, BJ, loaded it with sauce and pepperoni.
To be illustrative, the pie seemed like a combination of the take-and-bake freshness of Papa Murphy’s and the cooked, to-go prices of Little Caesars. It looked a bit like the concept Red Seven uses at its location in Columbia.
A regional trainer for Mama DeLuca’s came to Columbia from Indiana for the grand opening. Adam Fritsch said there’s nine Mama DeLuca’s restaurants in Tennessee and 92 nationwide.
“It’s quick service and high quality food,” Fritsch said.
That’s what customers will come to expect, just as with Subway. So it’s a perfect match.
“We want to be good every time,” Patel said. “That is my goal.”
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