If you love mom n’ pop dives, and you like sub sandwiches, you’ll definitely enjoy the Super Submarine Sandwich Shop. The Super Submarine Sandwich Shop is very close to the University of Memphis and thus popular with the college crowd. The interior is dimly lit and appears to have last been renovated in the late 60s or early 70s. Despite the dim lighting and dated interior, the place is very clean and I don’t ever recall seeing a health department score below the high 80s. There’s usually a TV in the back part of the dining area, which makes for entertainment while you’re waiting for your meal to be prepared. The place is PACKED for lunch, often with a line that starts at the door, dinner service is nowhere near as bad, and off-hours leave the place nearly deserted.
Despite the name, they sell both subs and Chinese food. The Chinese food is a little peculiar in that there seems to be a “southern” accent to the sauces—almost as if some items (general tzo’s chicken for instance) had a ketchup or BBQ sauce component in them. I don’t particularly recommend the Chinese food.
Moving on to the subs, you’ll be asked what you want (by someone who may not speak much English).
You’re being asked what kind of “meat” you want.
“8 inch or 12 inch?”
Do you want the 8" sub or the 12" sub? There’s no 6".
“Har’ bun sof’ bun?”
Do you want a hard or soft bun? (I prefer the hard bun for its structural integrity.)
You have to specify what you DO NOT want on your sub. Subs all come standard with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mustard, mayo, oil/vinegar dressing, and (Lawry’s?) seasoning salt.
Do you want it to go or to eat there.
“Bag of chips.”
You get a free bag of chips with each sandwich and “bag of chips” is the counter worker’s usual way of reminding you of this, not asking if you’d like to add on a bag of chips for an additional charge. I call it the “all that and a bag of chips special.” :)
After paying, you’ll be given a ticket stub with a number on it. If you opted “to go,” listen for your number to be called so you can go pick up your sandwich as the sandwich maker places it up on the top of the counter near him/her. If you’re eating there, listen for an employee to call your number—they’ll just wander around the dining area calling the number out and guessing who gets what.
Back to the sub sandwich. The bun is lightly toasted prior to being dressed and the 8" is cut in half, the 12" cut into thirds, so as to make the sub more manageable. The lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are a little on the skimpy side and nothing to write home about. If you go with the chicken breast sub (which I highly recommend), your sandwich will have 2 (for the 8") or 3 (for the 12") deep fried, breaded chicken breasts on it: it is an artery-clogging slice of heaven. If you opted for the tuna (another one of my favorites), it will be sweet, salty and have pickles in it: it is a diabetes-inducing slice of heaven.
There is almost zero employee turnover (at least that I’ve noticed in the past 10 years), which indicates that this is either a family business or staffed by people who enjoy working there. As a result, the food is always consistent and quickly prepared.
Yes, it is all extremely bad for you and it all has a “southern” influence/character that distinguishes it from Subway, Lenny’s Sub Shop, Quiznos, and the various other chains. The Super Submarine Sandwich Shop is also competitively priced and generally cheaper than the corporate sub chains, and thus it is quite popular with the local starving college students (and faculty). (Being located next to the local “head shop” probably doesn’t hurt business, either.)