What is it about the meatball marinara sub from Subway that coerces me into betraying my morals, principles and ancestors time and time again? There’s absolutely no reason why this sorry excuse for a sandwich should be one of my go-to dinnertime staples. Yet, more often than I care to admit, I find myself walking back to my house with a steaming hot log of sodium-saturated grade D meatballs, sub-par marinara sauce, and rubbery cheese on bread that has been manhandled by someone who couldn’t quite muster up the motivation to get their GED.

Some background information:

I’m 100% Italian (well, 50% Sicilian, which is typically considered Italian). Growing up, my mother and grandmother were constantly preparing delicious, home-cooked meals from recipes that were passed down over generations. I was also raised in an area with tons of authentic, old-world Italian delis that cured their own meats, and made sandwiches that could literally bring a tear to your eye.

Because of this, I rarely eat out at Italian restaurants, as my standards are so ridiculously high. To me, nothing I could possibly be served will ever come close to tasting as good as the cultural cuisine I had the privilege of stuffing my face with as a youth.

With that said, I (inexplicably) find the meatball sub from Subway irresistible. I can’t explain it. I’ve tried offerings from nearly every other national sandwich chain (Jersey Mike’s, Which Wich, Jimmy John’s, Firehouse, Penn Station, Togo’s, Potbelly), as well as numerous local favorites (Bay Cities,  Dave’s Cosmic Subs) – but none have been worthy of a re-order.

“Yet, more often than I care to admit, I find myself walking back to my house with a steaming hot log of sodium-saturated grade D meatballs, sub-par marinara sauce, and rubbery cheese on bread that has been manhandled by someone who couldn’t quite muster up the motivation to get their GED.”

The only time I’ve ever ordered anything other than a meatball sub from Subway is back about ten years ago, when they briefly had a chicken parm sub on the menu. When it rains here in LA, Subway has this rainy day promotion where foot long subs are buy one get one. There was literally nothing better than getting super lit, going to Subway, and getting a meatball sub AND a chicken parm sandwich for $5. My only regret is that I never went balls out and combined the two. Can you imagine?

Unlike Subway Jay in the video above, I like to keep my meatball sub pretty simple. I usually do with the regular Italian bread, but will sometimes do the Italian herb & cheese bread if I had an especially rough day at the office. Other than the obvious meatballs, I get provolone cheese (being the good little Italian boy that I am), as well as Parmesan. That’s it. No olives, lettuce or onions (although every now and then I do add peppercinis for a little extra spice and crunch). I did add bacon one time, but I found that it didn’t really add that much in the flavor department, and just makes the sub more expensive.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to pass up an invite to a really nice Italian restaurant. However, in my opinion, the meatball marinara sub is way cheaper than a meal at place like Scopa, and leaves me feeling just as satisfied. Again, I’m not necessarily proud of my thought process on this one, but it’s the truth. Does this make me a bad Italian? Or just a basic bitch?

Whatever the case may be, I won’t deny my true feelings any longer. I would literally eat one every day if that wouldn’t result my heart turning into a ticking time bomb (1200 calories, 40g of fat and 2000mg sodium is nothing to scoff at). Maybe some day I’ll find its equal, but until then, I’ll be eating fresh.

mmm