Sunday, February 19, 2006

And finally...
Most likely full of typos, frags, misspeak, misspellings, mishaps...

Gary Sleppy is passionate about food. The evidence is clear upon meeting the hospitable owner of the The Sub Shack. Every Thursday evening at 7pm, he hosts a dinner and wine tasting, in addition to the daily lunches and weekend breakfasts for which the Shack is more well known. Every Thursday's dinner is a different cuisine or theme, and when I visited the restaurant last week, it was Greek night.

The Meditteranean dishes were served buffet-style and included: Spanokopita, Dolmas, Eggplant Moussaka, Couscous, Greek Salad, Pita Bread and Baba Ghannouj, and even Baklava for dessert. The weekly dinners are affordably priced at $15 per person. Many times a buffet-style dinner implies cut-rate ingredients that equate quantity and not quality, but this was not the case at The Sub Shack. The "shack" ironically serves as an alternative to the newer and trendy downtown/midtown culinary destinations. There's no dress code at The Sub Shack, and dining there feels much like a get-together at an old friend's house. There are booths that line each side of the restaurant, and two big tables in the center, to accomodate parties of two, or parties of ten. There is also a big stove by the food table (which houses a cozy fire during the winter months). Although the wine tasting and dinner is what first attracted me to The Sub Shack, that is not what it was founded on.

The Sub Shack's four walls began as a Chinese laundromat, and was owned by Mr. Sleppy's next door neighbor. Soon thereafter, it became a restaurant called "Doc's Place". Doc's Place served up root beer and hot dogs for a nickel. The rounded section of the building was later added as a beer garden in 1932. It is legend that the Governor of California at the time had his first post-prohibition drink in the beer garden! Doc's Place changed owners in 1973, (became The Sub Shack) and has been serving up subs to hungry customers ever since.

The Sub Shack is mainly known for its lunches, which are served from 11am-3pm, Monday-Saturday. Lunch is served from 11am-2pm on Sundays. The menu is comprised of submarine sandwiches, natch, but hamburgers, a chili burger and veggie burger, and hot dogs are also listed. The sandwiches are made-to-order, with sides available such as french fries and onion rings. The most popular sub served is a take on a Philadelphia Cheese Steak. It is prepared with Angus beef, grilled with onions and topped with cheese. The hamburgers are made in the old "Doc's" fashion with pure ground beef. The root beer served at Sub Shack is a drafted micro-brew and hails from Wisconsin.

In addition to lunch customers, the Sub Shack draws quite a breakfast crowd on Saturdays and Sundays (served from 8am-12pm. I stopped back in on a Sunday morning to see several diners with their coffee and newspaper, enjoying a range of items such as the Guinness-Braised Corned Beef Hash, "Choose-Your-Own-Ingredients" Omelets, Amaretto French Toast, and Pancakes. One customer happily sipped on a Bellini (a champagne drink with white peach nectar). The portions are sizable and value-priced, just as they are during lunch.

Over its 33 years, the Sub Shack has definitely found its niche. Three of them! It serves as a gourmet dinner destination on Thursday evenings, a daily lunchtime favorite, and a weekend breakfast hangout. It is the type of establishment that prides itself on repeat, long-time customers, and a friendly, neighborhood-type atmosphere.

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