I don’t go to many sub shops outside of the chains, but I’ve finally found an independent gem, and it’s in my neighborhood. Vinnie’s Subs, at 1206 W. Grand in West Town, makes a great cold meat sandwich at a good price, ’nuff said. This is the 9″ prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato sandwich with giardinaire. It was $5.50. This may appear expensive, but it’s not. I think the price is comparable on an inch-for-inch basis with the chains. And when you lay it down side by side with Subway or Jimmy John’s, Vinnie’s clearly separates themselves as the more quality sub provider.
First, prosciutto or fresh mozzarella are rarely seen within blocks of a Jimmy John’s or Subway. I assume that it’s just too expensive. In my view, prosciutto is tastier than ham and fresh mozzarella is tastier than provolone. Vinnie’s is a better value than anything from the chain’s because of the higher quality ingredients alone.
But they also just put together a better sandwich from a construction point of view. There is a perfect amount of meat on the Vinnie’s sandwich. Not too much, but plenty to boost the flavor. Keep in mind, the prosciutto mozzarella sandwich is not designed to be a “meaty” sandwich. You definitely don’t want the fresh mozzarella to be overpowered and they have a good combination here. Contrast this to the Subway ham sandwich. Subway puts basically six razor thin slices of ham on a 12″. You can’t even detect the flavor or texture of the meat on the Subway sandwich, and the meat is supposed to be the highlight. With the Vinnie’s sandwich, the prosciutto provides a flavor explosion and your mouth definitely knows it’s there. It reflects a very savvy and caring sandwich maker.
Vinnie’s, however, has no seats. So if you want to sit and you like the atmosphere in JJ or Subway…just go there…I guess…ya’ loser. I said that with a smile, because I know you’re not a loser. And as you’ve seen, I’m no stranger to patronizing chains, so I can’t really call you out for being a chain-monger. I’m just saying; the Subway is across the street from my home and Vinnie’s is 2 blocks; I will always go to Vinnie’s for subs unless there are some seriously extenuating circumstances, like, say…a direct order from my wife.
I will be back and plan to have everything on the Vinnie’s menu in 2007!
The guys at 37 Signals have a nice little observation about Vinnie’s here. Check out the 37 Signals weblog while you’re at it because it has a lot of interesting stuff.