Legend has it that the first submarine sandwich was the creation of Dominic Conti, an Italian immigrant to the US, who brought his favourite sandwich recipe with him all the way to New York. The traditional sub is created from a 12-inch loaf of bread split lengthwise and stuffed with ham, other meats, cheese, vegetables, and herbs. Old Dominic ensured permanent fame for his creation when he came up with its name, bestowed in honour of a salvaged submarine hull he once saw on display, which looked suspiciously like the new sandwich. During the Second World War, subs were served by the thousands to soldiers from a submarine base in Groton, Connecticut. A star was born.
Fast forward to Iceland, where the sub is one of the nation’s most popular fast food items.
Quiznos, a strong number two in the submarine stakes in the US, is the latest arrival to our shores in the North Atlantic. Its main difference from the competition is in the preparation. The process centres around a toaster conveyor belt which transforms boring bread and dull fillings into a culinary masterpiece. That’s perhaps a slight exaggeration, but it is a pretty nifty machine.
Highlights of Quiznos include the dried oregano sprinkled on the pre-toasted sub, the variety of spicy peppers available at a self-service bar, hearty looking soups, and a wide selection of herbal teas. The sub sandwich options are fairly creative: choices include the Black Angus (635 ISK small / 949 ISK large), chicken carbonara (635/949) and honey bourbon chicken (599/925). Landlocked folk must have created the menu; there is only one fish option – plain old tuna.
My 11-year-old companion on the visit approved of the toasted version of her favourite sub, the variety of sauces, and even the comfortable seating, although for kids the name Quiznos still doesn’t seem to have quite the same draw as a certain other sub chain in the region. Nevertheless, I’m sure Dominic would have approved of how his creation has been adapted for the 21st century. As for you, dear reader, don’t say you never learn anything useful from restaurant reviews.