The sub war, part 1: Mr Submarine

I’m a pretty old guy, so old that A&W still brought the food out to your car on a window tray. So old that the McDonald’s menu fit on one panel. So old that Mr.Submarine was the only sub shop in Canada.

 In those ancient times the submarine sandwich manufacturing monopoly was controlled by the red and white bannered sign of only a few shops around London. One downtown, another on the west side of downtown. There may have been a few more here and there, but those were the only two I ever saw in the 70s and 80s. You had a choice of a bun..that’s it, a bun. various cold cuts or hash made of eggs,tuna or chicken. Toppings were limited to tomato lettuce pickles and cheese. One cheese! And mayo mustard and sub sauce.

It was a simpler time with simple choices back then.

Until Subway arrived.

With its bounty of toppings and cool new way of cutting buns, and whole wheat buns. Subway Swept up the market and almost drove our beloved Canadian sub shop into obscurity.

As a result, Mr Submarine, maned up and rebuilt their subs from the ground up. Toppings? We got toppings, every topping you could want as long as you don’t want avocado,spinach or other un-sub like items.

Buns? We got buns, whole wheat, seeded, cheese (actually just the same old bun with cheese spilled on top).

Yes! Mr Submarine, wiped down the tables, scraped the years of accumulated grime out of the corners and became a whole new restaurant, fiercely fighting to win back its customer base from the foreign upstart.

As time went on, subway began to accumulate the grime, and was less enthusiastic with its bun carving, but still kept adding to the menu. And Mr.Submarine struggled to stay competitive.

Today like many days I have a taste for nostalgia and have strolled back into the eatery of youth.

I order a cold cut combo and dress it in the vegetable products of my choice and for $8 sit and enjoy my fare at a clean table in an empty eatery. The bun, a cheese encrusted white bun seems fresher then from other sub shops, the meat of higher grade with no sign of baloney in the stack. With only 30 minutes for dinner, I wolf down the meal, hesitating only slightly at the odd hot sauce like tang I did not request that seems to be hidden about halfway through. A toxic banana pepper spill that may not have been cleaned up after invading a less piquant bin.

An enjoyable if standard fare, but one I shall use as a base line as I grade the other sub chains in our community.


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