Friday, April 12, 2013

Restaurant Review: Quizno's Subs

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Delicious sub sandwiches
Cons: A bit on the pricey side, few in my area now
The Bottom Line:
After writing this
I'm now hungry for Quizno's
I must go find one

You Mean Other Places Make Subs?

Ask any of my friends where I love to eat, and you'll get one answer, Quizno's. I stop in at least once a week to get a delicious toasted sandwich. In fact, they know me in my local franchise.

Quizno's is a sandwich shop, specializing in submarine sandwiches. On the surface, they don't seem that different from Subway or Togo's or any other sandwich shop. They've got turkey, chicken, and "classic" subs that include roast beef, ham, or salami. And if even those are too adventurous for you, they've got straight up turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, roast beef and cheese, and even a tuna melt. They also offer a vegetarian sandwich, but it does include cheese. Of course, it is easy to order it however you want, so that's not too big a problem.

To be honest, I never go with those "deli favorites." I find their mixing of unique flavors to be much more enjoyable.

In fact, one thing that makes Quizno's stand out from their competition in my mind is their use of sauce. Each sandwich comes with something, and we aren't talking mustard and mayo (most of the time). They've got a creamy alfredo bacon sauce, smoky Baja sauce, honey mustard dressing, ranch dressing, and red wine vinaigrette to name a few. These sauces add so much flavor to the delicious meats, cheese, and vegetables.

The other secret of Quizno's success is the oven. They were toasting sandwiches before toasting was cool. You place your order at one counter, they assemble it, and then stick it in an oven. It comes out the other side all toasty warm, with the cheese melted on top of everything. At that point, they add the lettuce and any other vegetables that wouldn't survive the heat, you pay, and enjoy.

My absolute favorite sandwich they make is the Chicken Carbonara. I start with wheat bread. (They do offer white and another couple choices, but why mess with perfection?) They top it with chicken, bacon, mozzarella, and mushrooms plus their alfredo bacon sauce. That sauce adds a delicious tang that gets my mouth watering just thinking about it.

I also like the Traditional (roast beef, turkey, ham, cheddar, olives, lettuce, tomato, onion, and ranch dressing) and the Honey Bacon Club (turkey, bacon, ham, Swiss, lettuce, tomato, onion, and honey-French dressing). Over the years, I've tried some of their short lived specialty sandwiches as well and enjoyed them. To be honest, I have never gotten a sandwich from them I have hated.

The restaurants themselves aren't that big. They usually have 8 or so tables. This isn't a fancy dining place but a small stop above a fast food restaurant. If you are there during a popular meal time, it can be hard to find a place to eat.

Because of the added time to toast your sandwich, it can take a little extra time to get your food. I've been to restaurants that have three people working the counter, and it goes fairly quickly. My local franchise often has just two people. If I'm the only one there, it's fine, but if the line gets long, it can take a while to get through.

The other problem is the cost. They are slightly more expensive then the average sandwich shop. For the sandwiches I get, the prices in Southern California are $4.99 for a small (about 6 inches) $5.99 for a regular (about 9 inches), and $7.49 for a large (about 12 inches). The simpler sandwiches are cheaper and their premium steak subs are more expensive.

Quizno's does offer things other then sandwiches. They've got broccoli cheese soup and chili. You can either get these in a small bowl or a larger bread bowl. They've also introduced some chicken salads. I haven't tried any of them, so I can't comment.

In an effort to win over the calorie conscience crowd, they have introduced the Sammies. These mini sandwiches are served on flat bread. They include meat, vegetables, and sauce of some kind. Again, I haven't tried them, although they sound good.

Finally, they offer several sides. They have chips (standard kinds you can get elsewhere) and cookies. Frankly, I've had the cookies a time or two and found them disappointing.

As a combo meal, you can add a side (chips, cookie, side salad, or bowl of soup) and a fountain drink to your sandwich for just a bit more. They have the standard assortment of soft drinks, but also offer bottle water and juice drinks.

And yes, they have a kid's meal. The price includes a cookie, drink, and either cheese, ham and cheese, or turkey and cheese sandwiches.

For me, the sauces and the toasting win the day every time. I will be a loyal Quizno's fan for many years to come.

Sadly, since I first wrote this review in early 2008, Quizno's seems to be on the decline, at least in Southern California.  There are plenty in Northern California, but all the ones in my home town have closed and I need to travel to find one to eat at.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to wipe the drool off my keyboard.

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