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No fair! - Mark's Journal
No fair!
My vague plan to eat just half of my sub for lunch today failed, predictably. It was an Italian sub, kindly and thoughtfully imported for me by my brother from Oswego Subs, a happy side effect of his trip up with a friend who's an Oswego alum for Saturday night's hockey game against Plattsburgh.

Oswego Subs Italian SubI've been a big fan of Oswego Subs since they briefly had a branch opened in Ithaca about ten years ago. In fact, it was right where the new Taste of Thai Express has just opened. In between, there was a CTB Express there, I guess the sole example of a failure in Brous & Mehaffey's imperialist efforts.

How unfair that Oswego Subs didn't manage to survive in Ithaca! I think it may have been partly their attempted willingness to deliver just a single sandwich, even a half-size one, for free. That's no way to make a living. It's tough to identify what made their sandwiches so awesome, but even a two-day-old sandwich that's sat wrapped in my refrigerator since Saturday night was a hugely better Italian sub than anything I've managed to get in Ithaca since they closed up shop here.

Of course, their signature cheeseburger subs are also a big deal, and I had fun trying to replicate those a couple of months ago. Somewhat successfully, I thought.
12 comments or Leave a comment
aregulardyke From: aregulardyke Date: February 1st, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I dont' remember there being a sub shop at that location ... all I remember is there was the KFC that went out ... and a Dunkin Donuts next door that also went away ... then Express opening in the original Dunkin ... then Dunkin re-opening in the old KFC building, and being next door to Express, kicked Express's ASS !

I still miss the KFC, though.

mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: February 1st, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

The space at 209 South Meadow Street was the Dunkin Donuts for the longest time, then was briefly a Vermont Mountain Coffee Roasters, when the local franchise owner thought he could get away with not paying Dunkin their $10,000 a year franchise fee for each of his three shops and still survive. He was mistaken.

It was Oswego Subs in 2001, and they pulled out owing WVBR a fair amount of money for radio advertising! Not much to do about it; the debt was vacated by a bankruptcy court. Since then it had only been CTB Express before the Taste of Thai Express folks started their renovation.

I still miss the KFC, too, but it was crazily unprofitable. They might do OK in a different spot. You and I aren't the only ones who miss it! But I'd also gladly take a Popeyes instead.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: February 1st, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

I forgot to mention the interesting tidbit that that building was the only business location in town that had its own police radio call-sign. As you can imagine, the Dunkin Donuts was a popular hangout for cops on a coffee break, so when they were going on break they'd call the dispatcher to say, "Show me at 209 South."
aregulardyke From: aregulardyke Date: February 1st, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha ! When I drove cab back in the day ( for Blue Light, the 2nd year they were open, I think ? ) us drivers from the overnight shift would hang in the Dunkin. Gawd, that place was just a filthy pit - especially the bathrooms ... anyway, the cab dispatcher often also drove cab on the night shift, and so he'd have the portable repeater with him ... answering the dispatch phone live from Dunkin. We seldom saw police there, though, which always struck me as odd ... maybe it was the time of night, or something.

mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: February 1st, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

I wonder if your time driving for them overlaps my brother's stretch. Chris is actually an old friend who grew up in my town.
aregulardyke From: aregulardyke Date: February 1st, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think so - there was a guy named Hugh, a guy named Andy, and Louis ( called " Looey " ) ... maybe it was third or 4th year I worked there ? Chris wasn't driving much anymore - he was mostly in the office, and the other original Ithaca cab company went out of business the year I worked. Not a great job - hours and money stank.

mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: February 1st, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jeff says he was driving for them 1992-93.
aregulardyke From: aregulardyke Date: February 1st, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL ... I drove for them so long ago, I can't even remember the year ...
(Deleted comment)
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: February 1st, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

I have friends whose crazy moms still live in Oswego! Bet they know each other.
fabunobo From: fabunobo Date: February 1st, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing compares to Oswego Sub. I used to live in the apartment above the original joint in Oswego and have had everything on their menu 101 times. Did you know they are expanding into the building next door? I’m so glad for their success. Note they also own the pub across the street. It’s the classic “Get people drunk and then waive something tasty around nearby!” technique.

I personally believe that Oswego Sub’s quality is due to 3 factors: 1) A+ quality bread, 2) actually putting the mayo ON THE BREAD versus squirting it on top of everything (why?), and 3) thick-sliced meat. Most other sub places falter in one or more of these areas.

I will say that I LOVE Wegmans subs, but they are not as good as Oswego Subs. The bread is not as good. But the other qualities are tasty.

And 2001? Wow! I did not realize it was so close to my appearance in Ithaca in 2002! Perhaps they would have survived longer had their and my existence coincided. I surely would have been there a lot!
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: February 1st, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Are you kidding? You would've been one of the people saying "Deliver my $2.50 half sub to my house across town right now!"
fabunobo From: fabunobo Date: February 1st, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha ha ha! YES! They deliver everywhere in Oswego too which is approximately the same size as Ithaca. Getting french fries with your sub is actually #4 above!
12 comments or Leave a comment