New sub shop proves success

Subs and Stuff

Photo by Rick Nichols
Brittni Pryor, right, puts a few pickles on a 12-inch submarine sandwich as Shelby Wright gets ready to hand her a double portion of onion slices. Meanwhile, shop manager Larry Fowler looks on with approval.


by Rick Nichols
In the highly-competitive restaurant business, where there’s little margin for error, good help and a tasty product people are willing to pay for will always be key ingredients in the recipe for success.
At Oskaloosa’s Subs & Stuff, co-owner Jeannine Davidson is firmly convinced both are in place and serving her well as she and her husband, Jeff, strive to make their five-week-old business as successful as possible. And if the community’s initial response to their efforts is any indication at all, she’s right.
Mrs. Davidson told the paper last week that the business had done “really well” up to then and went on to report that she and her predominantly female staff had been hearing favorable comments from customers. “We’ve had good feedback,” she said.
The Davidsons opened the submarine sandwich shop located at 409 Jefferson Street on June 10, using the space previously occupied by the couple’s Route 92 Cafe. Mrs. Davidson related that when the crew that had been running the cafe decided to move on, that prompted her and her husband to begin exploring other possibilities, one of which was starting a restaurant where the menu would feature subs, salads, soups and the like. She also revealed that her thinking was influenced at least in part by her fond memories of the sandwich shop area Mennonites once operated in the building that now houses The Fork & Cork.
According to Mrs. Davidson, she and the man who is managing Subs & Stuff for her, Larry Fowler, experimented with various combinations of sandwich ingredients the weekend before the shop was scheduled to open and did a fair amount of business those two days. The test behind them, they were good to go!
“For the most part, I couldn’t be happier with the change,” Mrs. Davidson told Tom Ryan when he asked her how the shop was doing while waiting for two of her employees to assemble the nutritious sub he had ordered. Ryan is employed by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which, according to Mrs. Davidson, has had the shop deliver meals to the law enforcement center so officers and other staff could remain at their workstations and still get a bite to eat. The Ambulance Department and the 911 Dispatch Center also have taken advantage of this opportunity, she reported.
Mrs. Davidson pointed out to the paper that by making the transition from a full-scale cafe that relied heavily on the use of a grill to the sub shop, she greatly simplified the meal preparation process for her employees. Equally important, she went on to observe, less food is being wasted because subs and such are produced only on demand for the most part. Before, if her customers generally passed on the special for the day and ordered something else, the food that didn’t get eaten had to be tossed out at some point.
“I’m really pleased with this (the new arrangement), how it turned out,” she remarked.
Mrs. Davidson gave much of the credit to the success she and her husband have enjoyed so far to their employees. Led by Fowler, the group also includes Oskaloosa High School students Brittni Pryor, Shelby Wright and Mattie Molder.
Mrs. Davidson called the girls “hard-working young ladies” and said they do “a great job” for her.
Brittni, Shelby and Mattie are responsible for baking cinnamon rolls, brownies and cookies every morning, most of which remain at the shop to tempt customers with a sweet tooth. The girls make three kinds of cookies, chocolate chip, strawberry shortcake and white chocolate with  macadamia nuts.
The rest of the goodies are carried over to Route 92 Quick Shop & Bait, the Davidsons’ convenience store at the other end of the building, and prominently displayed there in the hope the rack will be empty by the end of the day.
Ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads, likewise put together in the morning, also can be found at the convenience store.
Another option available to customers is the brown bag lunch. Mrs. Davidson said anyone can call the shop before it’s time for lunch to place an order, then drop by a little later to get their lunch, which will be waiting for them in a brown paper sack. The meal could conceivably include a bag of chips since the shop handles a variety of chips, and there’s always the possibility of adding a yummy cookie to the mix.
Mrs. Davidson said Subs & Stuff also is able to turn out platters for parties and other special events where many people will be present and can deliver the food in town at no additional charge. Or a customer can just pick up their platters at the shop if they prefer, she said.
Mrs. Davidson reported that pasta bowls have been a big seller in the early going. The menu lists three choices for this particular item, Chicken Alfredo, spaghetti and spaghetti with marinara sauce.
Wraps are another possibility.
The three kinds of salad listed on the menu are chef, Greek and Chicken Caesar.
Sub options include the ham and cheese, the turkey and cheese, the roast beef and cheese, the classic club, the veggie and the B.L.T.
Subs range in price from $4.99 (the least expensive six-inch sandwich) to $9.99 (the most expensive 12-inch sandwich).
Subs & Stuff is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. The telephone number there is 785-863-6462.

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Posted by on Jul 29 2015. Filed under Featured, The Independent. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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