In my opinion, at least 50% of the determining factor for the success or failure of a sub sandwich is the bread. Some, like my wife, prefer hard, crunchy, chewy breads. I’m more of a fan of soft and flaky. The same ingredients, prepared the same way, on two different breads, can mean a world of difference to the consumer.
With that in mind, what puts my favorite sub chain at the top is the bread. The first sub chain I ever experienced was Subway. It’s good in a pinch, with my favorite bread being the Italian Herb and Cheese. Later, I discovered Quizno’s. Toasting is great, but doesn’t always mean a better sandwich. I almost never toast at Subway, because it doesn’t seem to work with their bread for me. Potbelly’s and Jimmy John’s were pretty great, too, but still not quite what I was looking for. I almost found it when I had my first Jersey Mike’s Chipotle Philly. The bread is so close to my favorite, and topped so well with this sandwich, but there’s still one chain that currently trumps them all.
My favorite chain at the moment is Firehouse Subs. The bread is amazing! Light, flaky, with a soft inside, and great chew, this bread make the best foundation for a great sandwich, and do they have great sandwiches. With such a great foundation, they lay down steamed meats and quality cheeses, to create a crave-worthy experience with every bite. My personal favorite is the Smokehouse Beef Brisket and Cheddar. The meat is so tender and flavorful. So many of the other sandwiches taste great, too, and I give most of the credit to the bread.
Which reminds me of another observation I’ve made about sandwiches. I’ve been to a great many places that can make some great sandwiches. Yet, sometimes they have a standard that they don’t do very well, but include it because they seem to think they need to offer that standard to cover their bases. I say, if you can’t make a good tuna sandwich, don’t make a tuna sandwich.
Lastly, an honorable mention goes out to Jason’s Deli. Although I’m not that impressed with their regular bread selection, they do use Udi’s for their gluten free bread, which has meant being able to share picnics with Cathy. Honestly, most of their sandwiches just taste better on the Udi’s than on the originally intended bread.
So no matter how quality the toppings, or how tasty the sauces, I say the right bread foundation can make or break a sandwich, sub or otherwise. Enjoy!