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|Out to Lunch
by Brian J. Lowney
Put on your thinking cap, take a deep breath and get ready – you’re going to have a quiz!
Where can you get a great hot sandwich – filled with an unusual combination of the freshest ingredients – without having to turn your piggy bank into a piñata?
If you guessed "Quizno’s Subs," go to the head of the class. While chain eateries are rarely reviewed in this space, the Providence franchise of this 3,000 store Denver-based restaurant group is one secret quietly kept by downtown office workers and college students that needs to be let out of the bag.
I discovered this delightful, affordable sandwich shop by accident. Driving down Dorrance Street one afternoon, my San Diego-based brother shouted "Quizno’s! When did they open?" I must admit my naiveté: I didn’t know what he was talking about and just thought to myself – "It must be some West Coast thing!"
After telling me that he’d lived on Quizno’s hot sandwiches for years while in grad school, he made me realize that I was indeed missing a very good thing. One trip to this trendy little downtown eatery made me a "believer" and I can’t wait to return to sample other offerings available on the restaurant’s expansive menu. Whether you choose to "eat in" or "take out" – remember that spring is just a few weeks away and Waterplace Park, a wonderful place for an outdoor lunch, is just a few steps away – you simply cannot go wrong with a lunch at Quizno’s.
After studying the menu for several minutes, I settled upon one of Quizno’s wonderful signature subs – the honey mustard chicken with bacon ($5.49, medium size) – an appetizing combination of sliced white chicken breast, crumbled bacon, mild Swiss cheese, garden-fresh lettuce, tomato and sliced red onion, all nicely dressed with a refreshing honey mustard dressing and served on delicious Italian ciabatta bread. What a novel sandwich – a wonderful combination of textures and flavors – neatly tucked between two of the most delicious slices of bread that I’ve ever eaten. (All sandwiches can be ordered in small, medium and large sizes. My medium sandwich was so generous that I enjoyed the second half at work the next day!)
My brother – who arrived with a Quizno’s’ "Q" frequent customer card in hand, chose one of the sandwich board’s deli favorites – the Italian meatball ($4.99, medium size). Served on a white seeded baguette, this hearty and satisfying sandwich will filled with five large meatballs cooked in a piquant marinara sauce, and topped with melted mozzarella and a pleasant combination of sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions.
Let’s face it – Italian meatball sandwiches are a local staple – an important part of Rhode Island’s culture and a favorite of folks of all ages. While my brother has eaten hundreds of these wonderful sandwiches in venues ranging from church bazaars to mom and pop corner lunch counters – he observed that the Quizno’s offering was among the best he’d ever eaten.
On my next trip to Quizno’s, I want to try the beef and cheddar deli sub ($4.99, medium), a hearty taste sensation that combines sliced roast beef, tangy cheddar, lettuce and tomato, lavished with mayonnaise and mustard. Another "fresh and toasty" combo that appeals to my well-trained taste buds is the Sierra smoked turkey ($5.19), featuring fresh hickory smoked turkey, lettuce, tomato, red onion, all dressed with a zesty raspberry chipotle sauce. Note that all sandwiches can be served on a seeded white, wheat or rosemary baguette, Italian ciabatta bread or herb foccacia bread.
For those individuals looking for lighter fare, there are several interesting salads, such as the turkey ranch and Swiss ($4.49), which combines turkey, Swiss cheese, fresh mixed greens, bacon chips, garlic cheese croutons and ranch dressing. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
While most Rhode Islanders would probably like to believe that "Old Man Winter" has finally gone away, "Punxsutawney Phil" did see his shadow and the future is bound to host a few cold days. To quell the chill, Quizno’s offers three hearty soups - broccoli cheese; chicken noodle; and clam chowder ($1.99, cup; $2.69, bowl). Recreate one of those comforting lunches that mom used to make on snowy days with a steaming cup of soup and a nourishing sandwich for an absolutely wonderful and satisfying lunch!
Quizno’s offers iced tea and an array of Coca Cola products – fountain and bottled drinks, including lemonade and apple juice. Sweet endings include carrot and chocolate cakes, a tantalizing chocolate chunk brownie and an array of delicious cookies. Java lovers are forewarned: Coffee cannot be found on the menu, but the friendly folks at this great downtown eatery don’t mind if you arrive with a cup of Java in hand. Quizno’s Subs menu describes the restaurant’s delicious fare as "mmm …Toasty!" I couldn’t agree more!
Quizno’s Subs is located at 63 Dorrance Street in Providence. Visit the Quizno’swebsite or call them at 401-331-SUBS. Open Mon.-Fri.: 10:30am-8pm
Sat.: 10:30am-5pm Sun.: Noon-5pm.
Brian J. Lowney is a reporter for the Providence Visitor and the pet columnist for the Herald News (Fall River). He enjoys the wonderful Rhode Island restaurant scene and writing about the cornucopia of outstanding dining and retail food establishments we have been blessed with throughout the region.